President’s Corner #31: All About the Annual

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All About the Annual

I can’t believe we are already again almost at abstract deadline! 10 November is just around the corner. I don’t know if it is just me, but time seems to have sped up 😊.

At least, these days (Oh my goodness, I am really starting to sound like a dinosaur!) one can work right till the deadline and press the “submit” button with seconds to spare. As you may remember from my last blog, my first Annual Meeting was Nice 1995. Things looked very different back then—says the “Fernandosaurus.” You had to print, or most often glue, the abstract to an official ISMRM form. Seasoned ISMRM members will surely remember the “blue forms”—see figure below. You had to make sure to stick within the blue lines! It also meant that the deadline was not actually the deadline but was really “deadline – 2 days,” to make sure you had sufficient time to mail via courier the form to California. I still remember everyone at the lab reminding each other, “Today at 12pm is when we hand the envelope to the courier company,” and you were often completing the left-side column of the abstract form while walking towards handing the envelope to be couriered. I’ve heard that there were some lucky ones who lived near the ISMRM Central Office and who could push things right to the actual deadline and hand the abstract form to the office personally (please add a comment below if you were one of these lucky ones to make sure these were not just rumours).

I’ve heard that there were some lucky ones who lived near the ISMRM Central Office and who could push things right to the actual deadline and hand the abstract form to the office personally (please add a comment below if you were one of these lucky ones to make sure these were not just rumours).

By the way, funnily enough, I am now on the exactly opposite side, and while time difference is usually a headache for my Australian side of the world (we always tend to be the ones that are in the middle of the night for international meetings, teleconferences, etc.), for the abstract deadline, it is great! Our deadline actually is at 14:59 on 11 November!! And I can tell you that those extra 15 hours have saved many of my trainees over the years 😊.

If I may digress for a moment here, another interesting aspect of online abstracts, and that it can be done even at present, is when researchers “compete” to get the smallest submission ID number possible. They get ready to register an abstract the moment the abstract submission site opens to secure one of those very low ID submission numbers. A colleague I used to have in Melbourne was very good at that—although I don’t think he ever made it to the single-digit ID submission number. (Please add a comment below if you ever managed to secure a single digit ID abstract submission number—you must have been ready with your finger on the “Register” button! And bonus kudos if you got the single-digit submission ID for London 2022!).

Please add a comment below if you ever managed to secure a single digit ID abstract submission number—you must have been ready with your finger on the “Register” button! And bonus kudos if you got the single-digit submission ID for London 2022!

With less than 4 weeks to go till the 10 November deadline, it is time to put your head down and run to the line. If you supervise trainees, this is the key time where your guidance, input, encouragement, and words of wisdom are most needed (including the occasional “Don’t worry, everything is going to be ok” during those panic and stressful times when students feel things are running away from them). If you are a trainee, go for it! There are countless of our members who could tell you that their abstracts during their trainee years changed their career. You never know where your next abstract will take you. Make sure to leave your mark in the London 2022 Annual Meeting Proceedings—you won’t regret it!

As a side note, you may have also noticed in the latest ISMRM newsletter from 14 October (and if not, please go and check the member announcement page) that we also have several calls open at present related to the Annual Meeting. Over the years, the opportunities to get involved with the ISMRM have steadily grown, and this is particularly the case for our large community of trainees/students. These include:

  • Member-Initiated Symposia (MIS) provide an excellent opportunity to design and chair a session at the Annual Meeting or propose topics you believe are not represented (or under-represented) in our meetings. It is your chance to shape part of the meeting and leave your “footprint” in the program.
  • Member-Initiated Tutorials (MIT) give you a great avenue to propose innovative educational formats and the chance to win an “Innovation in MRI Education” award.
  • Abstract Reviewers are needed to help decide what work will be highlighted in London 2022.
  • Stipend Opportunities – no comment necessary!
  • Educational Speakers who can volunteer to be Faculty on the Educational Program the Annual Meeting Program Committee put together for London 2022.
  • Moderators and MR Experts are needed to get involved with chairing a session and with the Newbie Reception for London 2022.

And if that were not enough options, the ISMRM has also lots of other opportunities for member trainees/students to get involved, such as:

  • Volunteer for a Committee: look out for the call later in the year—I can personally assure you that I read every one of the (many!) volunteer nominations submitted when I had to choose the new members for ISMRM committees.
  • Nominate someone to become a Junior Fellow: watch for the announcement; for the 2022 nominations, the rules have been slightly modified to help promote increased participation from clinicians to this program (“one community for clinicians and scientists,” we really mean it!). They are not only a great recognition to the excellent achievements of some our young and up-and-coming talents, but also Junior Fellows are a tremendous driving force for activity at the ISMRM.
  • Participate in activities such as Secret Sessions.
  • Get involved or organise an ISMRM Challenge.
  • Contribute to our large Virtual Meetings program (we are typically running 4-6 meetings a month!).
  • Get engaged with the Study Groups (including being nominated as Trainee Representative) and local Chapters.
  • Apply for a Young Investigator Award.
  • Apply to the Research Exchange Program.

All the above are great opportunities to gain leadership and organisational skills, network with colleagues, increase your profile in the field, increase your involvement with the Society’s activities, play your part in helping drive diversity, and … have fun in the process!

The ISMRM is very fortunate in having a large and highly engaged trainee/student community, which typically represents ~45% of our membership. They are not only the driving engine of our field, but also they will be the ones shaping its future. Our future is in great hands!

Don’t be a passive traveler in this journey; jump in the driving seat at whatever opportunity you find —and there are many, as you have read here!

Despite all the things COVID has thrown at us, and after 2 years of virtual Annual Meetings, things are looking great for a “reunion” at our very first hybrid meeting in London in May. I look forward to seeing you (in person or online) in London 2022!

Fernando Calamante
2021-2022 ISMRM President

Figure: ISMRM abstract form from the 1995 Annual Meeting (Nice, France).

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Scott Reeder
1 month ago

The blue forms!! Brings back fond memories and a little PTSD too.

Looking forward to seeing you all in London for some great science, education and best of all some long overdue camaraderie among friends and colleagues.