Reclaim the Magnetic Resonance GRC
Reinstating a Magnetic Resonance Gordon Research Conference – Generation II By signing, I commit to showing my support of the Magnetic Resonance GRC by (to the extent possible): --attending at least 2 of the next 5 meetings, --bringing a student or team member with me, or --encouraging a colleague to attend. The GRC on Magnetic Resonance has held its last meeting in 2011. We have learned from the Gordon Research Conference office that the meeting will be cancelled due to a perceived lack of sufficient interest from the NMR, EPR, and MRI communities. This didn’t occur suddenly; as many of us knew attendance has been “low” based on GRC’s metrics on and off again for a long period of time, encompassing multiple meetings. (It may be helpful to know that GRC hopes to have a minimum of 110 attendees, and they believe that a good sign of the conference’s importance is to have more applications than open slots, meaning something in the range of 150 applications.) We have approached the GRC and learned from them that there is no chance for the Magnetic Resonance meeting to be reinstated. GRC on Magnetic Resonance: Why do we believe that this is important? Many of us have opportunities to attend a number of important, relevant conferences—both in magnetic resonance and in the areas of study where magnetic resonance studies are applied. Nevertheless, we the undersigning strongly believe that the GRC on MR still has a vital role to fulfill. First, the GRC name carries high-profile acclaim within the intellectual community of academic, national lab, and industrial research scientists. A GRC talk is instantly recognized for its importance in the field, while even an “ENC” talk is barely recognized outside of NMR specialists and experts. The format and philosophy of the GRC is also significant. A 2-to-1 ratio is required for time spent on talks and question/answer sessions. So a 30 min. talk requires a 15 minute discussion period. The GRC pledge requiring presenters to reveal emerging details of research and attendees to keep these newly-disclosed details private, is also an important aspect. Both the extensive question/answer periods and the disclosure of new research gives a tenor to the GRC meetings which is not matched in any other conference. Last but not least, for many of us attending the Gordon Conference in Magnetic Resonance was a unique experience. At the early stages of our careers, having a first-row seat to witness the vitality, the controversies, and at the same time the comradeship of our Spin-physics/NMR/EPR/MRI communities, was simply unforgettable. In view of all this, an effort is now being launched to revise the vision and governance of the GRC meeting. We must reapply to GRC with the intent to create a new version of this important meeting for our community of scientists and engineers. Vision: We wish to make our meeting as inclusive as possible. The sole requirement being that we focus on emerging physical, conceptual and experimental research in all areas of magnetic resonance, including: • New pulse sequences • New hardware • New methods (i.e., DNP, MR microscopy, biomolecules, DEER) • New and unforeseen applications of very novel methods to emerging fields (spintronics, metabolomics) • New investigators (i.e., faculty, national lab, and industrial researchers) • New studies at the interface between our spectroscopies (MRI, EPR, NMR, NQR) The aim is to make our meeting the source for information about people who wish to explore new magnetic resonance areas, in terms of learning from other communities (just think of the influence of EPR on the development, and now commercialization, of medical DNP). Given the diverse and wide-ranging nature of the meeting, speakers will be selected to offer several tutorials on basic aspects and methods for aspects of magnetic resonance. Such tutorials have been very popular at other meetings such as the ENC. Through such tutorials, cross-disciplinary work (i.e., between EPR and NMR) can be enabled; it is our aim to make these integral parts of the “learning experience” and perceived “usefulness” of the GRC. We intend to make this meeting highly relevant for students and postdocs. We will continue the practice of the 2-min “talks” publicizing posters. This was an excellent feature that let nearly everyone at the meeting speak in front of the GRC audience. We also found that it led to better attendance at posters on unfamiliar and newly-emerging work. Best of all, it connected each attendee to a particular line of research and truly facilitated discussions and interactions. We will also continue to offer a pre-GRC, Gordon Research Seminar, open to graduate students and In the past, the bulk of our fund-raising money has quietly been given to students attending the meeting. Better publicity of this practice will certainly enhance our attendance, since in many cases, PI’s (and students) weren’t aware of this offset to the costs of attendance until arriving at the meeting. Tutorials will also be melded with these very successful grad-student-oriented GRS seminar program. We believe the GRS served to prepare students and postdocs for the GRC experience. The GRS will have content on an intellectual theme being explored at the meeting. We also will have “career bootcamp” types of seminars, envisioned as a panel of recently-hired magnetic resonance practitioners, to help student, postdocs, and other in the midst of a job search to identify strategies for academic, industrial, and national lab interviews. Governance: We will adopt a new governance model. An Executive Council of approximately a dozen researchers will henceforth lead the new GRC, serving for a period of 6 years (3 conferences). These individuals will work collectively to identify emerging research and select speakers, while serving as session chairs. They will also play a key role in the “community life” of the meeting. These individual will all have to agree to attend 3 of the next 5 GRC meetings, as well as to bring at least one student. In order to welcome new attendees to the meeting and to help integrate people at the conference, the Council will make a concerted effort to meet and interact with newcomers at meals and during social events.