Elena Gonzalez Interview

Inside the Conference Team: Interview with Dr Elena Gonzalez

Conferences and webinars can be complex and require a lot of organization and work behind the scenes to be successful. There are a lot of tasks to complete before, during, and after the conference to keep the event on track. This includes contacting the chair and speakers at multiple points of the process. To ensure that they have all the support they need to present their research effectively. Advertising the event, setting up websites, and collecting feedback and other data after the event are also crucial. Most importantly, the events need to be hosted and monitored in case of any technical issues that the speakers may have.

The Conference Team

A whole team is behind the scenes checking every detail of the conference. Helping the chairs and speakers give successful talks and presentations. This is the role of the webinar and conference team. Several dedicated members organize and run the event.

We are now starting to organize and run in-person conferences again. This is a very exciting development but requires a lot of work to succeed. For example, in-person conferences often require travel for speakers and participants. Because of this, the hospitality side of things needs to be organized, such as catering and hotels. In-person conferences have an extra layer of responsibility.

Last week, we wrote a summary of the 4th International Conference on Materials: Advanced and Emerging Materials. This week, we had the opportunity to sit down with a crucial member of the webinar team, Dr. Elena Gonzalez. She was responsible for the organization and running of the ICM conference.

Interview with Dr. Elena Gonzalez

Elena Gonzalez Conference

How long have you been with MDPI? And where did you start out with MDPI?

EG: I joined MDPI in June 2020. I started out on the Conference Team and the Institutional Open Access Program (IOAP).

What is your current role on the conference team?

EG: As a Conference Organizer, I organize different kinds of scientific events from start to finish. We organize webinars and virtual conferences; this year, we have gone back to organizing in-person conferences.

What is the most important aspect of a conference?

EG: It’s all about planning! During the event days, you should have everything in order and just have to deal with any last-minute surprises. In order to ensure that all aspects of the conference are covered, the planning starts 12-15 months in advance.

What are the most important tasks when organizing a conference?

EG: Searching for and selecting the venue, catering, sponsors, and other service providers. Inviting speakers and establishing the scientific program and schedule. Promoting the event through different channels. Providing assistance to participants before and during the event.

What would you say are the advantages of participating or attending a conference for academics and students?

EG: Conducting scientific research can be isolating – you work in a lab pretty much focused on a particular field. To advance, it is important to see the big picture and think outside the box. Conferences are a vital hub for information exchange and discussion between leading researchers worldwide. They provide a practical and tangible forum for such knowledge transfer and stimulate the creation of new ideas and fruitful international collaborations.

What would be your advice to chairs or speakers of conferences?

EG: For chairs, I would recommend getting help from colleagues or an event organizer if you intend to organize an event. It can be exhausting and time-consuming to organize an event while doing research. For speakers, have your presentation prepared and practiced, and ensure that you keep the time. Once at the event, just enjoy meeting new people, forming collaborations, and participating in discussions.


Webinars and conferences are important for promoting research and innovation. The work that the webinar and conference team do is crucial for sharing research and inviting new researchers to get involved. As a company, we are always looking for new and exciting ways to promote research. As we welcome back in-person conferences we look forward to giving more researchers a platform to talk about their impressive projects.

If you’re interested in seeing what conferences and webinars are coming up next year, visit sciforum.net to see the current schedule. If you see any conferences or webinars that you’re interested in participating in, please contact the specific journal or secretary for the event.

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