Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Network: creating opportunities for career progression 

Connecting researchers across the region

Professional development and progression present a challenge for many PhD students and early career researchers (ECRs).  The Midlands Innovation Flow Cytometry Network (MI Flow) is helping to combat this challenge. 

Flow cytometry is a rapidly evolving technique used across a wide range of disciplines, from immunology to plant sciences. Founded in 2014, MI Flow helps to connect users of flow cytometry across the Midlands.  

Approach of the network

MI Flow collaborates to organise an Annual Flow Cytometry Conference. The conference brings together users of flow cytometry from across the Midlands, allowing them to present their research and share best practices. Attendees include students, academics, technicians, scientists from the commercial sector, and industry sponsors. Thanks to sponsorship, attendance is free for network members.

Alongside creating great opportunities to network with fellow scientists and industry representatives, the Conference also helps to create opportunities for career progression by spotlighting the work of PhD students and Early Career Researchers (ERC’s).  

Impact for PhD students

MI Flow attendee Laura Bartlett emphasises the importance of both the Network and the Conference for PhD students. As a PhD student, Dr Bartlett presented her research at two conferences and was awarded Best Speaker at the 2023 Conference. Dr Bartlett notes the benefits of the Conference include:  

  • The opportunity to present your research and develop your confidence 
  • Networking in an accessible and inclusive environment  
  • A supportive, community atmosphere 
  • The chance to make contacts in your local area and grow your professional network 
  • Collaboration across disciplines, offering a new perspective on your research 

Moreover, Dr. Bartlett’s experience with MI Flow and presenting at the Conferences has been instrumental in securing her next role and advancing her career. In an era of job uncertainty, MI Flow provides invaluable opportunities for PhD students and early-career researchers to develop their professional skills. 

“The MI Flow Cytometry Group Meetings have given me the opportunity to present and share my research with a wider audience, which has not only enabled me to make long standing connections with other flow cytometry users across the Midlands, but also helped me gain confidence in my research and presenting abilities which has been pivotal in kickstarting my career beyond my PhD.”

Dr Laura Bartlett 

I am delighted that our conference offers ECRs the opportunity to present their research in a local, supportive environment to build confidence and gain new experiences”

Professor Lucy Fairclough, MI Flow Cytometry Group Chair 

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