At ECSS Vienna 2016 the ESSA - ECSS exchange delegate was Lauren McKeown from the University of Western Australia, Australia. She won the ESSA Young Investigators Award at the ESSA congress in 2016. As part of the award ESSA send her to ECSS Vienna 2016 to present her research in the context of ‘ESSA – ECSS research exchange’.

Lauren presented a study ‘Eccentric Exercise in Patients with Chronic Heart Failure’. Please, read more about her experiences in Vienna below.

ESSA - ECSS Exchange Report

I’ve recently returned from the 21st annual ECSS congress that was held in Vienna, Austria. What an amazing trip! Firstly I’d like to sincerely thank the ESSA and ECSS boards and committees for offering such an incredible prize for the ESSA Young Investigator Award winner. A huge thank you and congratulations must also go to Prof. Arnold Baca and his team from the University of Vienna for hosting such a brilliant conference.

As many had previously told me that Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, we arrived a few days before the conference to have a look around. We were staying at the NH Danube, which was very handy to the Austria Center where the conference was to be held. On our first full day in Vienna we bought tickets for a hop-on hop-off bus tour. This was a great move as we were able to see so much in one day! We were amazed by the architecture of the Parliament buildings, St Stephan’s Cathedral and the National Theatre to name just a few! We also took a trip out to the wine region of Grinzing before climbing Kahlenberg Hill to take advantage of the panoramic view of Vienna.

The breathtaking Schönbrunn Palace was where we chose to spend our last afternoon before the start of the conference. We took a guided tour through 40 out of the 1441(!) rooms before enjoying the magnificent gardens! With warm summer evenings we also took great pleasure in reliving our childhood at Prater. Log rides, rollercoasters and dodgem cars were a great way to enjoy the warm summer evenings. Here we also enjoyed sampling the Viennese cuisine – who could turn down a weiner schnitzel accompanied by a traditional potato salad?!

On the first day of the congress I presented my research comparing eccentric and concentric cycling in patients with chronic heart failure. It was a wonderful feeling being able to share our results with like-minded people from all around the world. That same afternoon we went to the opening ceremony, which was entertaining! There were dancers, a string quartet and even a cheerleading team who all warmly welcomed us to Vienna! The high quality scientific programme made choosing sessions quite difficult with the wide range of topics presented holding true to the conference theme “crossing borders through sport science.” This allowed me to attend sessions both related and unrelated to my current research field.

Bringing together experts in various fields also allowed me the opportunity to put faces to names of those whose work I had previously read. Additionally, I was able to network with many people from around the globe from researchers to company representatives showcasing their latest equipment. Needless to say, I was very excited to trial a new eccentric bike! The 2nd Bengt Saltin fun run was another highlight that we completed early on a crisp Friday morning.

On my return to Australia, many have asked what my favourite part of the trip was, which is a very hard question to answer! I feel so privileged to have been invited to present my research on an international stage (and in such a beautiful city!). The ESSA-ECSS research exchange initiative has been a challenging, exciting and very inspiring experience for me and I hope that future delegates find it as rewarding as I have!

- Lauren McKeown


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