After ECSS-ESSA exchange delegate Jelena Stosic has participated and presented her YIA winning poster at the 5th Exercise & Sport Science Australia (ESSA) conference this spring (see MR 08.05.2012), ESSA sent Jessica Danaher (Victoria University, AUS) to ECSS Bruges 2012 to present her scientific work in the context of ‘ESSA – ECSS best research poster exchange’.

As announced in the final programme Jessica presented her research poster 'The effects of β-alanine on buffering capacity and exercise performance during and following high-intensity exercise in healthy males' at the ECSS booth on Thursday. What she has experienced on her trip she shares in the following exchange report.

ESSA-ECSS exchange delegate, Jessica Danaher, at ECSS Bruges 2012

ESSA-ECSS best research exchange report

"The European College of Sports Science 2012 congress held in Bruges (Belgium), was true to its theme “Sports Science in the Heart of Europe”, offering a scientific program that emphasised contemporary knowledge in sports science.

Prior to embarking on my trip from Melbourne, Australia, I was told by friends and colleges that it was essential I watch the movie “In Bruges”. During the film Bruges is described as a “fairy-tale” city, and it was all that I had come to expect. The congress was held in a medieval Hospital, located between fascinating cobblestone streets that were filled with interesting architecture and criss-crossed by many canals. I arrived a day early to allow for time to explore the city by renting a bike and riding around the streets as the locals do. Chocolate, lace and crafts could be found everywhere, as well as many restaurants and traditional food stalls surrounding Market Square in the city centre.

The four-day ECSS congress provided a high-quality scientific programme and demonstrated exceptional professionalism. I found the delivery of plenary sessions by keynote speakers to be very effective and engaging. The topics were timely, and material on new innovations in sports science was presented in a way that everyone could understand. I particularly enjoyed presentations regarding the “Benefits of High Intermittent Training in Untrained and Diseased People” and found comments regarding future endeavours in this field especially intriguing. As well as invited talks there were also a number of short oral and poster presentations. Many of the presentations of these types interested me for both professional and personal reasons, including talks on ergogenic aid supplementation in high intensity exercise and the effects of exercise on chronic fatigue patients.

On the second day of the congress I was given the opportunity to present my poster at the ECSS booth located in the exhibition area. My poster titled “The effects of β-alanine on buffering capacity and exercise performance during and following high-intensity exercise in healthy males” represented work I had completed during my Honours degree in 2011. The poster presentation was accompanied by a 5-minute oral presentation and followed by a few minutes of question time. As the presentation was held over the lunch break I was able to present in front of decent sized gathering of academics and students who provided positive feedback and stimulating questions regarding my research project. Throughout the remainder of the conference my poster was kept up for display at the ECSS booth.

Jessica Danaher joined by ECSS and ESSA
left to right: Tim Cable, Hans Hoppeler, Chris Askew,
Jessica Danaher, Sigmund Loland, Gisela Sjøgaard, Maco Narici

Apart from being able to present my work internationally and hearing about the interesting research being produced from different laboratories around the globe, I also enjoyed being able to put faces to the names of many well-established researchers whose work I had previously read and taken great interest in, and to have the opportunity to liaise with individuals who I would consider as my academic idols. During the lunch breaks I had the chance to meet many researchers ranging from fellow PhD students to professors, and was able to discuss the research which was being presented at the congress.
The congress concluded with a closing banquet held at one of the city’s most prominent symbols, the Belfort, which is a medieval bell tower located in the historical centre of Bruges. This night allowed us all to dress up and mingle with new friends over Belgium beers, with a live jazz band for entertainment prior to the congresses after party disco commencing.

I would like to thank everyone involved in organising this event. The opportunity to present my research at an international forum, as well as the chance to start forming networks with other researchers has been such a privilege and valuable experience. I received helpful feedback regarding my methods and results, which will assist me in the near future when I will be publishing the project. I also enjoyed learning what other institutes are working on, and was very inspired by many of the presenters at the keynote and plenary sessions.

I hope that the research exchange initiative continues to assist in the development of young researchers, as it has for myself. I was very honoured to represent Victoria University as the ESSA-ECSS exchange delegate for 2012." Jessica Danaher


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