OpenCon 2018 | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion


For the 5th consecutive year, IFMSA joined OpenCon 2018 between November 2nd to November 4th in Toronto, Canada.

This year’s theme of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion aligned perfectly with the conference’s mission to increase and encourage participation in science, and to advocate for greater representation. A perfect blend of early career scientists from all regions, both new and experienced in the world of Open Science came together to catalyze change in the culture of research.

Once more, OpenCon stayed true to its roots and gave the space to its community to shine and share experiences. The story of self, the unconference, the doathon were some of sessions that returned this year to foster innovation and allow for more voices to be heard. As part of our follow up, IFMSA will be looking more into these session formats and how we may apply them into our own context!

Moreover, this year and for the first time, IFMSA co-hosted a regional workshop on “How might we… open advocates congratulate our peers on non-open successes in keeping with our values?” where we explored the importance of kindness and empathy in advocacy, together with Naomi Penfold, PhD, Associate Director of ASAPbio.  



Among the many interesting panels, we heard stories from Yemen and how an Open Education program is aiming to spread knowledge among vulnerable children or how a project in Germany is evaluating universities on trans-inclusivity. We heard from African scientists coming together to raise awareness about Open and how OpenCon alumni used their conference participation to accelerate Open advocacy.

Just like every year, detailed notes and outcomes of each conference session will be going live on the website for anyone to access.

OpenCon 2018 touched on difficult topics, offering maximum food for thought, that is hopefully going to propel our own work in Open Science! We are already discussing our next steps forward and in particular how to bring OpenCon to IFMSA!

Stay tuned for more updates, and should you have any questions or comments make sure to send an email to Katerina Dima, [email protected]

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