I was very fortunate to obtain a grant from the BSSS which enabled me to attend the 20th World Congress of Soil Science at Jeju in June 2014. There was an extensive range of soil science topics presented at the conference. I enjoyed taking the opportunity to learn more about the research on greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural soils and the use of biochar as a soil amendment, which is being conducted throughout the world, as this is my area of PhD research. I feel that the knowledge I gained from these presentations was certainly helpful in writing my thesis which I submitted a month after returning from the conference, and will definitely be useful during my viva. I also enjoyed attending presentations on soil science topics which I was previously unfamiliar with, as I was keen to widen my interest in, and knowledge of soil science. I particularly enjoyed the session on soils and human health and was fascinated to learn of the vast number of connections between these two areas of research.
Whilst at the conference I presented two posters which described some of the work carried out during my PhD. My poster describing my research into the potential for biochar to decrease greenhouse emissions from stored cattle slurry attracted considerable interest and I was pleased to be able to explain this work in further detail to conference delegates from different countries, some of whom were also conducting similar work.
I found that the conference provided many networking opportunities which are particularly useful at this early stage of my career. I enjoyed helping on the BSSS stand, not only as this enabled me to help with the bid for the Glasgow World Congress of Soil Science, but also as it provided a chance to meet other members of the BSSS and to talk to conference delegates who were interested in the material at the stand. The evening reception hosted by the BSSS again allowed for networking with BSSS members and other attendees from throughout the world. I was delighted when the UK was successful in winning the bid for the 2022 World Soil Congress and was pleased to have been able to play a small role in their success.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed attending the World Congress of Soil Science, 2014 and I found it inspiring to see the range of soil research which is taking place. I am very grateful to the BSSS for their grant and I look forward to hopefully attending future World Congresses of Soil Science.