Personal reflections from the ICYMARE Travel Grant recipients

This second year of travel grants was only possible due to the generosity of the Company of Biologists, our sponsors and partners – whom we once again acknowledge for their support.  Six early career researchers from European and Non-European countries were financially assisted with their expenses for traveling and accommodations, to participate in the ICYMARE Oldenburg 2023 conference. We asked them to share their experiences with us and with you. Check out their testimonials here:


Marissa Levinson (France):
“I am immensely grateful for the travel grant that enabled me to experience an amazing week of networking and learning at ICYMARE. This week was full of invaluable experiences, such as presenting for the first time, meeting future colleagues, and discussing pertinent topics such as mental health, mentorship, and reflecting on our research journeys. As a young researcher, venturing into a larger arena can be daunting, yet ICYMARE offers a safe space with a supportive audience who shared valuable knowledge and feedback. I had such an incredible time and whale definitely be back for years to come! Thank you ICYMARE!”


Mariana Arguero Tejeda (Mexico):
“Participating in the International Conference for Young Marine Researchers (ICYMARE) has been a very valuable experience for my personal and professional life. I had the opportunity to meet many amazing people, both from my own research area and others with whom I could collaborate in this and future projects. On the other hand, I learned about several lines of research where I would like to get involved. It also allowed me to present my project on the effects of tourism on whale sharks, both to publicize this type of research, as well as to raise awareness about good practices.”


Ramesh Wilson (UK):
“ICYMARE was hands-down the best conference I’ve ever attended. The diversity of research across marine themes- from molecular to management – was absolutely incredible, and the workshops, keynote presentations, and discussions were all extremely enriching. Furthermore, the conference provided such a great opportunity to network with other young researchers. Having the opportunity to present my poster was invaluable; the feedback and idea exchanges were eye-opening and inspiring. The overall atmosphere was so welcoming and friendly that I cannot wait to go back. A huge thank you for the travel grant that made this experience possible!”


João N. Monteiro (Portugal):
“This was the second time I’ve attended ICYMARE, my first participation unfortunately had taken place in 2021 with a virtual format. However, this year, with the support of a travel grant, I had the opportunity to attend this fantastic conference in person. Since it was organized by Early Career Researchers (ECRs) for ECRs, it addressed all the issues and opportunities relevant to us. I had the pleasure to make new friends and establish a network that will certainly help me in my scientific career. I really enjoyed the ICYMARE conference because the atmosphere was very informal and welcoming, without pressure, unlike other conferences. In addition, the icebreakers, quick meetings and round tables allowed sharing ideas and personal experiences. This conference was really enjoyable and I will, for sure, recommend it to all my ECS contacts.”


Marco Simões (Portugal):
“Earning ICYMARE scholarship was very important to deal with expenses related with the congress, because I haven’t had any financial support from a project. Therefore, as a PhD student receiving extra financial support was extremely positive and encouraging to do what I like to do and to communicate science! Participating in the ICYMARE conference was a very interesting experience, because it allowed me to listen and talk about new subjects that can be related with my research. Consequently, ICYMARE was also important to establish new contacts for future research collaborations, in order to make progresses for the community and ecosystems!”


Hui-Yu Kuo (Taiwan):
“Praise to ICYMARE organizing team! Being my first international conference, it proved invaluable. The abstract process featured insightful reviews and detailed writing recommendations. Throughout, the organization’s support and warmth made me feel welcome. Besides the presentations and following discussions, the round table discussions and workshops also notably highlights. Post pandemic, travel costs soared. Discovering ICYMARE and generous donors offered support for both international and domestic students was pleasantly surprising. Becoming a travel grant recipient filled me with gratitude for those who made it possible. ICYMARE 2023 Oldenburg’s undeniable success makes it a must for aspiring marine researchers early in their careers.”