At ECSS Amsterdam 2014 the ESSA - ECSS exchange program delegate was Rachel Climie from the University of Tasmania, Australia. She was awarded with Aspire Academy Young Investigator for Exercise and Health. As part of the award ESSA send her to ECSS Amsterdam 2014 to present her research in the context of ‘ESSA – ECSS research exchange’.

Rachel presented a study which is part of her PhD ‘Does Abdominal Obesity Mediate the Association between Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Brain Atrophy?’ at the Room G103 on Friday 4th July. Please, read more about her experiences in Amsterdam below.

ESSA-ECSS best research exchange report

At the 6th Biennial Exercise and Sports Science Australia (ESSA) Conference earlier this year, I presented a study that I had been working on as part of the PhD that I am currently doing in Tasmania, Australia. The study was investigating whether abdominal obesity and/or physical activity had an affect on the association between Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and brain atrophy and I was selected as a finalist to present my work as part of the Aspire Academy Young Investigator for Exercise and Health session. To my absolute delight, I was awarded the Aspire Academy Young Investigator for Exercise and Health (I never win anything!!).  As part of this award, I was required to present my work for a second time, alongside the winners of the other three award sessions. The overall winner was to be selected to represent ESSA and to travel to Amsterdam to attend the European College of Sport Science (ECSS) meeting, as part of the ESSA-ECSS Research Exchange Programme. I was thrilled when I found out that I had been selected as the lucky one to attend ECSS – I rang all of my supervisors, my whole family, to tell them the news!  

So in the midst of the cold and dark winter in Hobart, I packed my summer clothes into a bag and headed for Europe. Once I arrived in Amsterdam, I spent the day seeking out the congress venue, Amsterdam RAI Exhibition and Convention Centre, and wandered along the beautiful canals under the warmth of the lasting sun. The congress was very well organised, the opening ceremony was an absolute spectacle and the programme was full of a wide variety of fascinating topics, I had difficulty deciding what I was going to attend each day! I enjoyed the plenary sessions and attended sessions not only in my own area of expertise, but also in areas I didn’t know much about such as Endurance Exercise and Exercise Metabolism. On the third day, I gave my presentation. I was very excited to present my findings to my European colleagues and I received great interest and feedback on my work. I was also introduced to some people working in a similar area to myself and made some contacts for potential collaboration in the future.

Rachel Climie at ECSS Amsterdam 2014

While I wasn’t attending the various sessions at ECSS, I spent some time site seeing.  Amsterdam in the summer is truly beautiful, with its empty blue sky, large green trees and of course the multitude of picturesque canals! I spent the evenings wandering around the city and also visited the Amsterdam Museum and the House of Anne Frank. I had been reading the Diary of Anne Frank in preparation but visiting the home of the young girl was a very emotional experience. Oh and of course I had my photo taken next to the I am Amsterdam letters and experienced the Dutch passion for football!

I can’t thank ESSA or ECSS enough for giving me the opportunity to present my work on the global stage. I felt very honoured to be selected as the ESSA-ECSS Research Exchange Programme recipient and to represent ESSA and the University of Tasmania at such a prestigious event. It has been a daunting and often scary time coming to the end of PhD, however, the ESSA-ECSS exchange provided me with the stepping-stones I required to move in the right direction with my future research and career. I congratulate ECSS on running such a large scale, inspiring and thought provoking congress so flawlessly! I can’t wait until I can attend my next ECSS! Thank you. Rachel Climie


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