This weekend is Biocamp, an informal community participatory unconference addressing biotechnology in Houston. Leading up to Biocamp over the course of the week several events bring together the members of the biotechnology, medical device, and chemical therapeutic communities. Warm up over the week by meeting some of these people in a relaxing atmosphere and end your week with the main event.

Biocamp is focused on Houston’s biotech sphere and all the shapes and sizes that make up that community. This is a monumental event for Houston to be holding one of the first Biocamps in the nation and we are looking forward to such a transformative event. Biocamp is a different conference than any other science conference because the primary goals are transparency, communication, openness and sharing between the community. Instead of being focused on delivering the current research progress in a specfic thrust, this conference is a state of the union sort, being a better forum for a review presentation on the state of research in a particular vein or an overview of the climate of biotechnology in light of the recent economic situation. To help maximize your Biocamp experience, here are some tips for attending the conference.

How to speak at Biocamp

This is the easiest part. no abstract submissions, no review panel. Simply arrive at the conference in the morning. Check out the presentation board which will have a grid with rooms and times. Put your name and presentation title into any open slot. Note, if you do not arrive early you may not have the opportunity to speak on a given topic. Remember that your topic should be accessible to the general public which in itself should exercise your communication skills.

What to expect at Biocamp

The attendees of the conference should be people in the biotech industry, academics, students, venture capitalists, angel investors, and science enthusiasts. While the talks at regular science conferences are usually hyper-specific, these talks will probably be bigger picture and survey the state of a field rather than dissect a current study. Expect the equivalent of a review paper in presentation form for the conference. Look for investors to give talks about what they’re promoting right now and what they’re looking for in the future.

What this conference could do for your career

If a standard career parth is starting to make you nervous, this conference is a good step towards an alternate path. Community members who usually attend unconferences of this sort are usually more open to change, welcome especially in a firm discipline such as science. Meeting people in your community who think alike could be the first step to launch a company, start a science non-profit, explore your educator interests, or meet people who are doing things that you might think are cool and innovative.

The Goals of Biocamp

Unconferences of this sort are a great way to discuss the arc or direction that a particular community is moving towards. With respect to the Houston biotech community, a meeting of the minds and sharing session will help everyone to discover the state of the community and unique challenges that we face in Houston and elsewhere.

Meetings of this sort can share knowledge that would otherwise be locked up in specific institutions, laboratories or with individuals. Those with a trend of openness and sharing will come away with great returns and those with an open mind will come away with a great deal learned about the community in general and the people who make up the community itself.

The full list of Bioweekend activities:

  • Houston Startup Happy Hour and BioWeekend Kick-off Party the BioWeekend festivities kickoff at Saute Bistro with the help of Startup Houston and the Houston Technology Center. April 2, 2009 from 6pm to 9pm at Saute Bistro, 2303 Richmond Ave.
  • 6th Annual BioHouston Chili Cook-Off The BioHouston Chili Cook-Off is more than just chili – it brings the life science community together. BioHouston invites you to join us on April 3rd for the 6th annual day of fun in the sun, full of prizes and everyone’s favorite–CHILI! April 3, 2009 from 12pm to 5pmat BioHouston, 2555 Holly Hall St., Ste. 100
  • BioCamp The main event. BioCamp Houston ’09 is an informal, participatory, unconference BarCamp event to bring college/graduate students, postgraduate trainees, junior academic faculty, entrepreneurs, would be entrepreneurs and inventors as well as, technology champions from the Greater Houston area together to learn and network. April 4, 2009 from 9am to 4pm at Keck Hall on Rice Campus, 6100 Main Street
  • BioWeekend Closing Reception Immediately following BioCamp Houston ’09, the after party is at Vallhala right next door to the conference. Join us for a few drinks and a final adieu. April 4, 2009 from 4pm til 9pm at Vahalla in Keck Hall on Rice Campus

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