What was the buzz at ECCB 2016?

On 3-7 September 2016, about 1200 experts in bioinformatics, biology, computational biology, medicine, or systems biology met in The Hague for the 15th European Conference on Computational Biology (ECCB 2016). The conference was a great success. “ECCB 2016 has set a new standard,” says Torsten Schwede, Chair of the ECCB steering committee.

With about 1200 participants, ECCB 2016 was the main computational event in 2016. “During the first two days, the conference venue was already populated by over 300 participants who attended one of the workshops or tutorials. Several participants indicated that they enjoyed these pre-meetings very much,” says Celia van Gelder, one of the organisers of ECCB 2016.

Celia van Gelder manages training activities within the DTL and ELIXIR-NL network, so she was especially satisfied with the yield of the Training Poster Track: “Our dedicated Training Poster Track yielded 21 posters, with topics ranging from showcasing training approaches and activities on the country level to posters addressing surveying training needs and developing descriptors for training events and metrics to measure training success.”

There were ample opportunities for networking at ECCB 2016. Jeroen de Ridder, also a member of the organising committee, says: “During the coffee breaks, the conference centre buzzed with activity. Delegates eagerly used the small coffee corners to engage in in-depth scientific discussions, continue question sessions, or discuss job opportunities. The Student Council booth drew the traditional attention from young researchers in the process of kick-starting their career looking for job opportunities or ways to contribute to building the community.”

Jeroen de Ridder: “We received feedback from exhibitors that this was one of the most useful editions of ECCB. This was due in part to the strategic location of the booths and large number of delegates, but to a large extent also due to extra attention of ECCB 2016 to bridging the gap between academia, clinic and industry through the application track and ELIXIR track. As one exhibitor put it: ‘I was expecting to extend my network, instead, I did actual business on top of extending my network’.”

Jaap Heringa, chairman of the ECCB 2016 organising committee, caught the following rumours:

“We have had more people at our booth already now than at all earlier meetings! We are constantly busy, it’s great!” [CRC Press and Springer booths after the first conference day]

“Great reception with great live music, great food and in a fantastic museum!”

“The only disappointment for me was that people were talking through the great Jazz music during the welcome reception”

“This is a superbly organised meeting! I had left my tablet in a room I had forgotten, and when I told a volunteer, he used an app shared by all, and then I had my tablet delivered to me within two minutes.”

“Seven out of seven great keynotes!”.

“The ELIXIR meetings have been livelier and more interactive than ever!”

“I very much liked the talks in the Application Track  — Some were shared between people from industry and academia”

“I think that all the fun and the socials make the science better!”

ECCB 2016 was organised by DTL, the BioSB research school, and ELIXIR, in association with the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Delft University of Technology. All proceedings are available in the supplement of the Oxford Journal Bioinformatics (Volume 32, issue 17, September 1, 2016). In addition, posters and slides that were presented at ECCB 2016 are available on a dedicated ECCB 2016 channel on F1000Research.com.

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