Do you think, you have nothing to add to a statistical conference? Are you afraid of sharing your achievements? Do you wonder, why you should put in the effort on top of your day-to-day job?

All these thoughts and questions will be addressed in this episode with Paul Terrill, the chair of the scientific committee of PSI. 

Beyond the questions above, we will also talk about the logistics and practical tips on how to submit your abstract and to become a speaker at next years conference.

Paul Terrill

Paul Terrill is a Director in Strategic Consulting at Cytel, an international Contract Research Organization. Paul started his career working as a statistician in the agrochemical industry at Jealott’s Hill, Berkshire before becoming a statistical trainer for SAS.

He moved into the pharmaceutical industry in 2005 and primarily provides support to biotech and small pharmaceutical companies who lack in-house statistical expertise.

Paul worries about multiplicity, missing values, adaptive designs, Bayesian methods, CDISC and, in fact, pretty much everything! Paul has been on the PSI scientific committee since 2014 and became the committee chair in 2017.

He holds a BSc in Applied Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and a PhD in Statistics from the University of Kent, Canterbury


Why and how to present at the next PSI conference – Interview with Paul Terrill

You are listening to the updated episode number 27 of the Effective Status Solution Podcast. It’s updated because there was a problem with the first upload of this episode. Sorry for that.

Welcome to the Effective Statistician with Alexander Schacht and Benjamin Piske, the weekly podcast for statisticians in the health sector, designed to improve your leadership skills, widen your business acumen and enhance your efficiency.

We have a newsletter and would be really great if you could subscribe to it as we would like to survey our listeners to provide better value in the future. We are also planning to give you weekly short and actionable advice in the future through this email distribution list. Another reason to subscribe to the newsletter.

Short announcement, the deadline for the submissions for the oral presentations at the PSI conference in 2019 in London are now open and you can submit your abstract up to the 23rd of November. There is another deadline for the poster presentations.

This deadline is 28th of February next year. And this episode is really all about these abstracts. Why, how, and what to submit to the PSI conference, and what your benefits are for that. We chat with Paul Terrell, who’s the chair of the scientific committee. And together with Kate Taylor, who is the chair of the conference, is responsible from a content perspective

So stay tuned!

This podcast is created in association with PSI, a global member organization dedicated to leading and promoting best practice and industry initiatives. Join PSI today to further develop your statistical capabilities with access to the really good special interest groups, the amazing video on demand content library, which we talk about

much, much more. Just visit the PSI website at to learn more about all the different PSI activities and become a PSI member today.

Hello, welcome to another episode of the Effective Statistician in association with PSI. And today I have a very prominent PSI person here on the call, Paul Terrell, who is the director for the scientific committee of PSI. So, hi Paul, how are you doing? Hi Alexander, very well thank you and thank you for inviting me.

So maybe you can give start a little bit with an introduction of what you’re doing kind of outside of PSI and what your job is at PSI. Sure. Okay. So I now work for Psytel, a CRO, and I work within our strategic consulting team. I started off actually, my career started off in

design analysis of formulations. Then I moved to SAS as a trainer for a number of years. Very enjoyable job, involved a lot of travel, giving training courses to companies. So I joined the pharmaceutical industry back in 2007 and have been there ever since. Okay, all the time in CROs? All the time in CROs. I’m on to my third CRO.

If you don’t count a merger, fourth CRO if you count a merger, third if you don’t. But yes, always CROs. Yeah, I know a couple of people that kind of worked on the same desk for quite a time, changing companies by not changing the desk. Exactly, and often not even changing the job at all. It’s just the logo and the name at the top. Yep, yep, yep. Okay, and at PSI, what do you do there? So, I’m now, as you say, I’m now…

Chair of the Scientific Committee. I actually started my first proper helping at PSI. I joined the External Affairs Committee back in 2012, whilst helping with what was called the Small Companies Initiative, where we are promoting good statistical use and practice within the smaller pharma companies, which is something I’m still very keen on. And then in 2014,

I left the External Affairs Committee and joined the Scientific Committee instead at the request of Lucy, Lucy Rao. And then I’ve been to the committee ever since, and very recently took over as chair and became PSI board member. Okay. And in terms of the Scientific Committee, what is the role of the Scientific Committee to all those that are not so kind of accustomed to the different parts of PSI?

Yeah, so that’s a good question because sometimes it gets confused as well and people talk about a conference committee and we are one and the same thing. The scientific committee has two main roles. One is the organisation of the PSI conference every year, which is a large job and takes up a lot of hours. And then on top of that, sort of, if you like, mini conferences. We organise one day meetings on scientific topics and we also organise webinars on scientific topics.

And you can actually find all these on the PSI homepage. So just check out And under the Events button, you will find all upcoming events, like these one-day events, or webinars, or things like that. And usually for the conference, there’s a bigger button, so to say. Correct. And you can also find all the past events. There’s a tab. There’s a button for past events as well, where you can see material that we’ve

produced in the past? Yeah, and actually, as you listen to it now, you can also, if you’re a PSI member, you can go to the video on demand section and look at past events, not just from an outline, but actually look at the recordings of it, or actually quite a lot of them.

Yeah, this is an excellent new resource and it’s not just the scientific committee that’s contributing to it. Certainly, we’ve put a lot of material there, but the training committee have put some material up, various special interest groups, the SIGs have put material up. It’s turning into an amazing resource. Yeah, yeah. It’s a great kind of resource and it’s for free to all PSI members. And PSI membership is actually quite cheap. So if you are not yet a PSI member,

checks that out and I’m pretty sure you get it approved by your supervisor quite easily. Okay, let’s go to the PSI conference now. As we are recording this, the PSI conference for 2018 has just passed and

If you check out one of the earlier episodes that was published on the 24th of July, you’ll find the summary, which was my personal look into the 2018 conference and what my experience from the conference are. A really, really nice conference in Amsterdam. Today we want to talk a little bit about…

next year’s conference, actually. And I think the first thing I would like to ask you, Paul, is about where do you see most of the benefits of presenting at a PSI conference? What are the benefits for the speakers? So there’s actually quite a long list and it’s difficult to highlight

point about exposure. So exposing yourself to the larger community and exposing your work to the larger community. And even that has multiple benefits. So personally, it’s it’s good for your career, in terms of promotion within your company, or maybe you shouldn’t advertise it. But if you’re looking elsewhere, and you want people to know who you are. But it’s also good for exposure on what you’re working on.

the topics you’re working on, the things you find of interest, so that you can share that with other people and get feedback. A presentation is not a one-way thing at the PSI conference. As much as you’re telling people about what you’ve done, you’re going to get feedback in a very friendly way. This is an incredibly friendly conference, but either questions during the session, but more usefully at the tea and coffee and lunch breaks afterwards.

That is actually one of the really nice things about the conference. There’s lots of networking things. It’s also the gala dinners and then the evening events are very, very nice to speak about all kind of work related topics, but also, of course, non-work related topics. In terms of the…

In terms of the exposure and how that helps with promotion, have you personally seen something for you personally when you presented at PSI? How has that helped you with getting promoted or changing your job?

I’ve, yeah, so most of us go through annual appraisals and goal settings. I’m not a particular fan of this process, although I do see the importance. And a very good goal to put on that is something like giving an external presentation or presenting your work, being involved in an external organization. And

When you set goals and objectives and then you meet your goals and objectives, it just shows that you’re growing within your role and within the company. So that for me personally, that’s one area where it did help because we put it in as a goal and then I made sure I met that goal. Outside of that, you just find the more well known you become in the industry, the more valuable you become to the company you work for.

They like to have people who are known and who are out there in their community providing input. Yeah, yeah. I think that gives you much more of a status as an expert. And experts carry more credibility. They have more kind of… If you work as a CRO, you can share that with your customers.

and they probably are then willing to pay a higher rate for that because they know, okay, this person has presented about this topic. And that usually implies that he knows very much about it because he put himself out there or herself outside to be challenged on it. And that kind of is, yeah, some kind of, yeah, fire test for a role.

from that perspective. So I think that’s a big, big benefit. Another thing I think that you mentioned is sharing your results. And I think for that, it speaks to the point that you also give back to the scientific committee. And I think that is…

maybe a little bit of very intrinsic motivation, but I think that is also a very, very good feeling to give back to the scientific community that we have learned so much from. So I think that’s also a very, very nice thing. We always have to remember, and it can be, it’s easy to forget this, but it’s not just money driven. You know, we’re in this industry to help patients. Yep. It might be

And the best way of helping patients is working together and sharing ideas. So by being part of community and giving as well as taking is hugely beneficial. Yeah, completely agree. I think actually that is a reoccurring theme here at the podcast. If you, for example, go back to the episode with Shafi Shaudhuri about how he built his company, we also talked about

external presentation and said he is encouraging his teams to present what they do externally to give back. And I think that just helps overall the industry to get better. And it’s also for me, kind of, if you have presented something externally, that is much more easier to get them by and internally on these things. Because then it has…

has much more credibility and just gets picked up by other companies. And that helps you actually to sell your ideas presents a company even better. Yeah, because it’s all very well having an idea on your desk or in your notepad and you try and sell it. But if you can actually say we now I’ve presented this it’s been discussed, it got this great feedback. It just looks so much stronger. Yeah, yeah, an email. Yeah. So in

Beyond that, what do you think are further benefits for the speaker? Well, it can be difficult to get to a conference. There’s a lot of demand, a lot of people want to go. There is a cost associated with it, the cost itself in financial terms, but also two or three days out of the office. Giving a presentation is a huge way of opening the door to actually getting to the conference in the first place. Yeah, yeah.

As a supervisor, I know that whenever we have discussions on travel, if people cannot come up with, well, I’m presenting, then that’s pretty much a low-brainer that person goes. It’s much more kind of a discussion, oh, I just want to learn something. Well, we all want to go to these nice conferences. I think, yeah, completely agree.

So, yeah, go ahead. I mean, there’s a very small discount as well, just to say if you’re presenting, we give a small discount on the conference price, which is meaningful to some people, maybe not everybody, but certainly to some people. Yeah, yeah, which is very, very nice. In terms of the conference, so actually, it’s really nice because then you actually get to the conference.

and can attend all the other kind of nice things around the conference as well. So I think that in itself is also quite a benefit of presenting there. And you get much easier into connections with other people because you have exposed yourself on stage and presented something or you have presented maybe even just a poster there.

Well, by the way, you’re on stage as well for that. Yeah, we can come back to that. Maybe just as we talk about this. Can you speak a little bit to the post-op presentations?

So you have two options when you contribute to the conference, just for those who might be completely new to this. One is to actually get up and give a talk, a presentation. 30 minutes, 40 minutes depends on the session. But we also have what are called posters, where you produce a large, I forget the size, A0 maybe, but you produce a large poster which has to detail your work.

And then that goes in, we have about 50 this year, they go up on the wall and then everyone comes along and they can look at your work throughout the conference and they can come and find you and talk to you. But we changed it slightly a couple of years ago. We borrowed an idea from another organization, I can’t remember who it was, where it’s felt we should give poster presenters actually the chance to talk about their work as well as stand by their poster and present it.

So we introduced this one minute poster preview session. Very lighthearted, nothing particularly formal, but every poster presenter in order gets up and they have 60 seconds to talk about and sell and describe what it is their post is all about. And then if they take too long, we ring a bell and the next person comes along. But it works absolutely brilliantly. It gives the poster presenter a chance to present.

It gives everyone a chance to see what they look like. It gives the audience a chance to identify which posters are of most interest to them. And then they go and find that particular poster afterwards. It’s a bit more challenging for the poster because now not only do they have to stand and talk about it face to face with people, they’ve also got to present in front of the whole audience. But it’s gone down so well.

both from the poster presenter side and from the organiser side as well. It’s actually one of my favourite sessions at the conference because it’s, you know, these 60 seconds presentations. It’s always to the point you have frequent changes of presenters, so it surely doesn’t get boring. And I need to say some of the presenters had quite unique ideas to stand out.

They did indeed and not looking at you, Alexander, for one of them, of course. Well, I was just an assistant there. I know, you’re a very good assistant for those who are at the conference, Alexander and someone else put on a bit of a show. In fact, it was almost distracting. We were watching you parade around the stage, but it was very good. Yes, it was a lot of fun. And it’s amazing, actually, when you go to these poster sessions, the variety of topics that people are working on and

Most of these are actually really well done and presented and very interesting. It’s a huge opener. You can only have so many talks within a conference, but when we can put on 50 or 60 posters as well, it just shows how much is going on out there. Yeah. Actually, that’s a very, very nice setting the stage for my next question. Now, if you want to submit an abstract,

for the PSI conference. First thing you need to do is you need to choose a good topic. From your end, Paul, what’s a good topic to choose for an abstract?

So just a little bit about how it works as well. We create a form for submissions, and we do have some pre-suggested topics. So the scientific committee come up with a list of topics that we think will be of interest. So one option is to look through that list and choose something out of that, because that’s been identified either from previous conference feedback or other discussions, the sort of thing people want to talk about.

But we do of course leave it open as well. So if a pre-suggested list of topics isn’t appropriate, you can submit anything else. Number one, I think some of this may be obvious. It has to be a topic that’s of interest to you and or your company. There’s no point in talking about something you’re not very excited about because that will show in the presentation itself.

So you need to talk about something you’re working on, something you’re interested in. That’s almost more important than anything else. It’s got to be of interest. Ideally, it’s something that’s of current interest or it doesn’t have to be. So for example, lots of talks on estimates and causal inference recently because of the E9 addendum. More and more talks on HTAs because that’s becoming more and more prominent.

Bayesian is always of interest and number of Bayesian topics is increasing. So choosing something that’s of current interest to a large group can help, but isn’t necessarily be all and end all. Okay. So and these topics that are given by the scientific community, but these are kind of umbrella topics, aren’t they? Oh, indeed. They’re not specific. Correct. You know, a couple of key words. It also helps.

organize the sessions because we have to, the contributed sessions will have generally three speakers, that’s not always the case, but we want them to be in the same sort of ballpark area. So if we get some headline ideas, then it helps us then make sure that a particular session covers that idea. I mean, it could be as big as Bayesian methods or machine learning or safety data. You know, these are big topics, but it’s just to help people identify what area they want to talk in.

Yeah. In terms of that, you just mentioned contributed sessions. They are contributed and invited sessions. Can you speak a little bit about what the difference is?

Yes, sure. So we have, we actually have three types of session when we’re talking about speakers. One is a plenary where you have one individual who we invite, generally a well-known person, either within pharma or outside of pharma, and they’ll give a plenary talk about a particular topic and they’ll have quite a big length of time to do that. The scientific committee then organise what we call invited speakers where again we identify a particular topic.

But we go and look out, we ourselves look and try and identify some speakers out there in the industry who we feel would contribute really well to that particular topic. So effectively, it’s called invited because we invite them to speak. We actually say, I want you to come along. I know you’re an expert in this area or you’re working in this area. Please, can you come along and tell us about what you’re doing? And then on top of that, it’s a conference for everybody. We have contributed work.

who, and these could also be experts and we’ve missed them of course, but people actually contribute, this is what I would like to come and talk to you about and I’m giving you a proposal to the conference committee, the scientific committee, and I want to contribute this particular aspect to your conference. The difference with a contributor, it is competitive, of course. Okay, yeah, yeah. So as an invited speaker, you have the guarantees that you’re talking and as

Contributed speaker, you need to actually get accepted. So just talking about that, what was the exception rate for 2018?

Well, we had a huge number of contributions. It was absolutely brilliant. I mean, this conference is growing and growing. About these are rough numbers. I think we had about 80 contributed and we accepted about 40. So it’s a 50% acceptance rate for talks. This is for presentations. For posters.

Okay, so for posters, we had a big room and this year we actually managed to accept every single poster that was contributed. That’s not always the case, sometimes we do have to turn them down, but we’re very pleased that everybody who did want to contribute a poster was accepted this year.

What makes you think of an abstract as being especially compelling that you want to get it as an oral presentation?

The title is a big driver. I mean, the first thing you do when you see something is you read the title. So spend time trying to come up with something catchy, but also tells you what’s in the content. So get the title right. And then it’s got to sell the talk. It’s got to talk about, you know, it’s got to cover what’s gonna be in the presentation, but it’s also got to cover what the attendee is gonna gain.

from going to that presentation. So it’s very important. It is a sales thing. You’ve got to sell what it is that you want to present. And then I learned a skill many years ago now. I think it was in my first job. Someone taught me how to write. And what I mean by that is how to structure what you write. And I always share this now because it’s quite an interesting thing. Whenever you write, you have to be aware that people skim read. So when you write a paragraph, you

the first sentence of your paragraph should summarize the whole of that paragraph. So, someone only reads one sentence, they know what’s in the paragraph. And similarly, in a section or an abstract, if you’ve got multiple paragraphs, your first sentence should summarize the content of what’s coming next. Because people aren’t going to read everything necessarily. So, by writing in that way, even someone who’s skimming it can see what it is this talks about.

penny drops and I realize what the topic is. Yeah. I think the other point is, um, see persons that read the abstract might not be necessarily a complete kind of expert in specifically set area. So being able to write in a, in a way that every statistician can understand it helps also quite a lot.

Yes, you’re right. Don’t assume too much because you may be an expert in an area and you know all the keywords and the acronyms and what’s going on. But this conference is open to everybody and there will be people who aren’t experts in that area who want to hear about it. But if you’re not careful, you’ll lose them even before they walk through the door. Yeah, yeah, completely agree. And so that is also what makes the conference so attractive. It’s really applicable to your day to day work.

By the way in terms of set so in terms of

What do you see from a kind of cutting edge scientific part of the abstract to kind of more case series or kind of a case study of where you applied something? What do you think is especially attractive? You see, this one’s difficult because we want both.

We’re trying to cater. If we go too much scientific, then we can get criticized. It’s not applied enough. And if we go too many case studies, we get criticized as not enough meat, as not enough really technical stuff. So actually, we have to do both. And we’re interested in both. And there’s some luck when you submit an abstract, because you don’t know what else is coming in.

unfortunately. So you don’t know how many case studies or examples are coming in, you don’t know how much technical works coming in, but both are of interest and we do try to have a variety. Okay, okay. But of course you could combine both with each other within your same abstract, have a little bit of technical thing as well as a case application. Yes, of course. You’re always restricted on time, but talks that work like that can work incredibly well. Yeah.

No one just wants formulas and integrals. They want to see an application as well. Yeah. Yeah, I think that is especially good. And if you come up with a very good, catchy title, that also speaks to the point that you can actually present very well, likely, because you can know how to kind of phrase things. So that helps a lot. By the way, actually, do you have some kind of?

tips on how to best come up with a title? I would say don’t talk to me, it’s one of my weaknesses. So in fact there’s the tip, talk to other people within your organization or your colleagues, try things out or if you really don’t have that good imagination ask people to come up with suggestions for you. We have a couple of people in the scientific committee who are absolutely brilliant at coming up with catchy titles, I’m not one of them.

But there you go, you go to someone else for help. Yeah. I think what is especially important is that the title helps to convey the benefit of the listener or the reader. So that it speaks to the pain point, that it shows kind of how it solves the pain point and that it also shows a little bit kind of the impact where it’s applied.

If you can talk to the pain, see how it helps and the impact, that is usually quite important. Anyway, I think talking about the overall impact helps to get an understanding how important and how relevant this is. Is it something kind of an ivory tower topic that you have marginally improved some kind of abstract?

let’s say some abstract thing, methods, terminology, and a little bit better convergence or whatsoever is maybe not as important as something where you really can show clearly and benefit to a phase three development and HTA submission, selection of a candidate or something like this. So I think.

Yeah, often step changes are more of interest in the conference than a little step. But it does depend in the area. Yeah, it does. I mean, in rare diseases, sometimes any improvement is an improvement worth making. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Very good.

I recently had a question in terms of, you can submit both for oral and poster. Is there any kind of benefit to submit just for one or just for the other? What’s your kind of guidance on that?

I, if you don’t want to give a long presentation, then by all means, just submit for a poster. You know, they’re different experiences and maybe not everybody wants to go, particularly younger statisticians don’t necessarily want to give them presentations straight away. So I can see why someone might just want to give a poster. But on the other hand, if you’re submitting for presentation, generally, I don’t see any

submitting it as a poster as well. We don’t reject presentations because they’ve said, I’m also, I’d consider a poster. You know, we don’t down weight them because we know well they’ll come as a poster anyway. And in fact, even presentations we turned down, which didn’t say there’d be a poster, we do tend to follow up and say, you know, I’m really sorry we’re oversubscribed. Even though you didn’t tick the box, do you still want to consider submitting as a poster?

So I would say there’s no real drawbacks, unless you’re giving a presentation which does not suit a poster. Some of the interactive things we saw this year were absolutely brilliant. I’m not sure they would have worked in poster form. Well, actually, Claire’s poster was, she had also some iPads available at her poster. So at least when you were there at the poster session, she showed how that works actually interactively.

You can make… That’s really clever thinking, isn’t it? That’s people thinking a bit beyond what’s there. So that’s very clever. Yeah, so I really liked that. So there’s possibilities to kind of make things more attractive. So that’s very, very nice. In terms of presentation, I think it’s… I really like the presentations. Well…

I really like to present that maybe a little bit. I’m biased there, but I think it trains so much to deliver a good presentation. Being a presenter is really important to be an effective statistician. Being a good presenter is really important because we present all the time.

big auditorium with 300 or 400 people in it, then that takes a lot of fear out when you next time present in a much smaller auditorium because you can tell yourself, well, I presented in an auditorium that was 10X that size. And how often do you at your company, do you have the possibilities or the opportunities to present in such a large auditorium? So

I really would recommend to do this. But of course, not all settings are that big. I completely agree. To be effective statisticians, we have to be able to present. We can’t be in the backroom. We’ve got to present internally, we’ve got to present to authorities. And giving a talk at a conference, or giving many talks if you keep doing it,

is that learning experience. You learn what goes well, you learn what didn’t go so well. I’ve given some very bad presentations in my time and I learn from them and I improve. And then the other thing I did mention, you know, if you’re a newer statistician, you might just want to do a poster. It’s worth being aware we actually run sessions designed specifically for newer statisticians. So they’re a lot less scary, if you like. You’re only going to be talking to peers.

rather than people who have been around in industry for 20 years or so. And some young statins do prefer that. Let’s try something. The very first time I do it, I do it in a slightly more open environment, colleagues, people my age group, people years in industry. How does that young statin session work actually? So on the contributed form we create, we actually ask, I think

Currently we’ve defined it as five years in the industry. So it’s not your age as such, how long you’ve been working in industry. We actually tick a box, are you a new to industry statistician? And then we can work with that to decide how to link talks geared towards those people. Doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be in the young statistician section. I mean, we have some excellent presentations from new starters.

which go into general sessions. And maybe if you have big concerns, just let us know you’d rather go into the younger stats section. But it is very much about telling us partly what you want to do, what the presenter wants to do. Yeah. Yeah, and I’ve seen very, very good presentations from young statisticians in the overall sessions. But just to repeat again, from my experience, this is such a friendly.

It’s not people trying to get one over each other and trying to say, look how good I am. You know, I’m going to show off and my knowledge. I haven’t experienced that at the PSI conference. No, no, completely agree. See the usual kind of tone is very helpful, friendly suggestions for other things to look into. It’s very, very nice. And yeah, also from kind of talking to this fear perspective.

If you’re presenting about something, you’re probably the most knowledgeable person in the room about this topic, even with really big names and very, very senior people in there. For this specific example, you’re probably the most experienced and knowledgeable person. So having that mindset usually helps also to overcome some fear. Yes, that’s right. You’ve been working on this area.

idea and people will be interested. They’re going to want to hear. Yeah. That is, I think, another kind of mindset thing. Going to this more from a, I want to help people, I want to share my thoughts. That helps a lot with overcoming fear as well. It’s not that others want to, as you said, shoot you down. It’s really others want to learn from that.

Yeah, it’s not one of these kind of nasty TV shows that you sometimes see. No, it’s not for sure. Okay, let’s talk a little bit about the logistics of how you actually submit an abstract. So, we are, as we are recording this now in the middle of summer and when it’s usually kind of…

When this episode actually goes out, it will be around the time of the call for abstracts. So you can just go to the PSI homepage at and check out there the conference tab and submit something. So what are usually kind of the timelines and how does it work from a kind of submission perspective? Sure.

Submissions generally open in October, towards the end of October. It’s a sort of watch this space on the website, but we do advertise in our various places when the submission is open. That doesn’t mean wait till October before you think about what you might wanna talk about. There’s nothing to stop you at any time starting to draft a title in an abstract. But we start taking the actual applications end of October.

And we have about a month. So as a month to send them all in towards the end of November, this is for the presentations. At the end of November, we put the deadline and we close the submissions. Posters we give a lot longer. It gets submissions open in October, but actually we wait until February, usually, to close the poster deadline. And that’s because it’s easier to organize the poster sessions because there’ll be a big room. It doesn’t matter so much how many we accept, where they go.

For the speakers, we have to start assigning rooms and sessions, and it does take longer. So once you have submitted your abstract, and then you now see kind of submission time is over, what happens thereafter?

In terms of when you hear back, it takes one to two weeks to find out whether you’ve been successful or not. Behind the scenes, the scientific committee, we split up into little groups of two or three people and each group takes a number of different umbrella topics as you described from earlier and work through to try and identify which ones they think will make the conference work and which are good.

Then the groups will get together and they’ll sort of compare notes. Partly, I mean there’s a number of things here. First of all is we’ve got to have a variety, but we also mustn’t be, we’ve got to give different companies the opportunity. I mean if everyone ended up being from Cytel, my company, it’s not going to be a very good conference. So we have to make sure we give you know variety on who’s contributing from pharma and CROs. And a variety of experiences and a variety of countries.

We’re very much a global organization now and we like to have representatives right around the world and it’s pretty amazing where these contributions are coming from. So it does take a couple of weeks before you find out. Okay, can you give some examples of where the contributions for 2018 came from? So we now have, as you know, the farm has just gone big, we have people from India.

coming along, traveling all the way from India and contributing. The US have sent people in for a number of years now. You’re going to have to remind me now, Alexander, you know this as well. We’ve had some of the more Eastern European countries, I think, that may have come along this year. We had someone from the Middle East as well. Yeah. So really all over the world. Yeah. Yeah. Very, very nice. I think we had…

Australia maybe wasn’t this year, but the year before I’m pretty sure we had someone from Australia come over. I’m not sure if the conference is their only reason for coming over, but they certainly attended. Yeah, that’s of course a very, very nice opportunity to kind of combine it with other things, especially if it’s in nice locations. And I think we tend to pick nice locations for the conference anyway. It’s a nice one. I mean, we had a great one in Amsterdam, but…

in London, we’re going to the QE2 Centre in London this year. And it’s a great location. It’s near the Houses of Parliament. You’ve got St Stephen’s Clock Tower, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace. It’s a great tourist place as well as a great place for a conference. So, and usually that kind of the conference starts on Sunday with some pre-conference courses and then goes from Monday to Wednesday with all the plenary and parallel sessions.

So it’s a really, really nice time if you have a pretty long distance travel. You can already arrive on Friday and spend time in London next year. So it should be a really, really nice, especially around the time of the year. It’s not in November or something like this. So

Also from that perspective, very, very nice time. And coming back to the abstracts, is there any kind of other limitations on the abstracts, word counts, things like this? Yeah, so we put a 250 word count. You’re supposed to stay within that. It’s always a fine balance between not being too long but being able to cover the detail that’s necessary as well. Yeah. I remember a quote.

I think from Einstein’s that said, if you can’t explain it short and sweet, then you probably haven’t understood it completely. But yeah, always a nice exercise to boil down things. And just going back to how to write an abstract, definitely take your time over it. Put something down.

leave it for a day or two and then come back and reread it because then you look at it with fresh eyes and you see well have I made my point have I used these words appropriately so just take a little bit of time in getting it right and sharing it can pay dividends rather than quick oh I’ve got to do it you know write it really quickly send it off oh thank goodness I’ve done that yeah I I always like to get you know some peers to review it that always helps

you always get a fresh eye and a good critique by someone that actually knows the topic as well. So I strongly recommend to share it. Of course, you do that anyway if you’re multiple authors on the abstract, but always do that also if you’re just the only author on it. Sure, yeah. Yeah. OK.

Any kind of final thoughts that you have on why to submit an abstract to next year’s conference? We talked a lot about the different benefits of it. I think what I’ve discovered since I’ve joined the PSI is the more you actively participate, the more you get out of it. Just being in the audience is great and you do learn a lot, but actually taking part…

brings it up to another level. So really, that’s my recommendation. Actively take part in conferences, actively give talks, actively give posters. And it’s just amazing how much more you get out of it. Yeah, I think what I experienced is much more kind of opportunities come up. So we talked a little bit about kind of the opportunities for promotion, the opportunities for job changes, but it’s also opportunities for collaboration.

opportunities to get feedback. There’s so much that you can get from it. And of course, all the opportunities from just attending the conference. So really think about some things that you’re proud about at work, that you’re working on, that you can share with a wider community, that you can give back to the scientific community.

and submit an abstract for the next year’s conference. Of course, there’s some kind of personal benefits with it as well, as we talked about, kind of helps you to get approval for the conference. By the way, I’ve wrote a LinkedIn article about this. I think it was called…

10 reasons why your supervisor should approve your travel to the next year’s PSI conference. I wrote for the one in Amsterdam, but actually I think most of these things are pretty generic for the conference in the UK as well. And in terms of one of the reasons was actually you’re presenting something there, which is a huge driver. So I hope these

about 45 minutes with Paul have inspired you to take action and submit something. Thanks so much, Paul. That’s always a pleasure. Thanks, Alexander.

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