Tuesday, 30 November 2010

And breathe - it's over for another year

So the NGS Innovation Forum is over for another year and, although it seemed to consume most of my time over the last month, I’ll miss it!

This years event was well received by all those who attended according to the feedback I was given both at the event and afterwards by email. Always nice to know we’re doing the right thing!

The event kicked off on Tuesday with a day focused primarily on our users and I’m glad to say there were some present in the audience. Steven Young gave a brief summary of the Campus Champions who are our eyes and ears in institutions – ready to help users and to feedback comments and suggestions to us. We then moved onto a series of talks about user tools. The aim of this session was to talk through some of the tools that we offer in order that users could head home from the event and actually apply them in their research. The tools covered were –

The day also featured three presentations from users who make a great deal of use of the NGS resources. We had presentations from a variety of research areas to demonstrate just how widely used our resource are. Luke Rendell from St. Andrews University talked about simulating learning strategies, Zhongwei Guan talked about modelling composite structures and Narcis Fernandes-Fuentes talked about using the NGS for early stage drug discovery. A bit of a range of uses!

Day 1 was really good with lots of questions and discussion which continued right the way from the last session through the drinks reception and poster viewing until the end of the event dinner!

Wednesday was aimed primarily at IT staff, sys admins etc so there were a few new faces on this day. In order to bring everyone up to speed, David Wallom re-capped the discussion from findings the day before. We then kicked off with a presentation from the University of Westminster who have been a NGS member for some time before moving onto a discussion session about how the NGS can help to facilitate collaboration between researchers and institutions.

Presentations on two NGS projects followed – accessing the NGS with Shibboleth and updates to the NGS accounting provision. The last session was dedicated to the EU with an update from the EGI Director, Steven Newhouse followed by presentations from two ESFRI projects – CLARIN and ELIXIR.

An exhausting couple of days but well worth it!

From an outreach point of view I’m now busy organising a couple of new roadshow events that people requested during the IF, I’m gathering the presentations from the event to go on the NGS website (watch this space!) and announcing the winner of the best poster at the event.

Congratulations to Jarmila Husby from the School of Pharmacy, University of London whose poster “Molecular Modelling Studies of the STAT3β homodimer:DNA complex” was voted the winner by the delegates. Jarmila won an Amazon voucher which is very handy with Christmas coming up! All the posters from the event will also be on the website soon.

If you missed the event there are a number of ways to catch up – the Twitter posts are available, a blog post from Catherine Gater of EGI, an article on Cloud computing from Simon Hettrick at SSI and photos from the event are available on the NGS Flickr account.

Thank you once again to all those who attended and hopefully we’ll see you all next year!

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