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18th International Congress on Plant-Microbe Interactions Travel Awards, Glasgow, Scotland, July 2019


The 18th International Congress on Plant-Microbe Interactions (IC-MPMI) will convene in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 14 through July 18, 2019. For the last 36 years, this meeting has been the premier forum for announcing and discussing the most innovative scientific discoveries elucidating the molecular events by which plants and microbes interact. The program will include a mix of established and young investigators working on pathogenic and symbiotic associations using diverse biological systems. The plenary and concurrent sessions will highlight the latest advances in fundamental research (e.g. plant immune system, pathogen virulence mechanisms, and the evolution/ecology/cell biology of plant microbiomes and symbioses) as well as translational studies (e.g. novel approaches for disease control, breakthrough technologies, and engineering staple food crops) critical for advancements in agricultural science. Funding from the National Science Foundation will be used to partially defray the travel costs of graduate students, post-doctoral researchers, and early career faculty so that they can afford to attend this conference. Special attention has been made to promote broader participation of minorities, women, first-generation students, and the disabled. Importantly, advances through research and education in plant-microbe interactions facilitated by this conference are fundamental to ensure sustained production of high-quality crops and to meet the increasing demands for food and energy worldwide in the 21st century.<br/><br/>An important and unique function of the IC-MPMI is to unite research specialists who otherwise would not cross paths (e.g. specialists studying and implementing new technologies, tools and approaches to solve diverse questions related to plant-microbe interactions). Past meetings have been successful at fostering the exchange of scientific information, critical discussion, and establishing strong collaborations across a broad range of research topics and geographic locations. The meeting has also provided significant training value for graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. Travel fellowship awardees will participate in a small meeting workshop designed to promote public outreach. As part of this workshop, awardees will prepare a short 'elevator talk' designed to explain the purpose and significance of their projects in simple terms. Talks will be recorded, presented during the conference, and posted on social media. These activities are expected to enhance student participation and learning, as well as inform others who are not able to attend this meeting. We anticipate that the new student workshop will foster new connections required for the success of our next generation of scientists. Several of the participating scientists have links to companies and institutes developing agricultural technology. Student exposure to these entities will be key for those interested in government and industry-related research.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

Innes, Roger
Indiana University - Bloomington
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