Where and when is the ‘real’ work done?

Coffee breaks are busy and important occasions at EDCTP Forums! The conversations I have been hearing over these last few days do involve some social ‘catching up’ and laughter often breaks through over the consumption of custard tarts and pastries. But there has been a lot of serious stuff going on!

I have heard a member of one research team telling someone from another group that they would be welcome to make use of the new app they have just developed, and whom they need to approach for advice on a particular problem. One delegate told me he had just met someone who had taken up the recommendation he gave her at the previous Forum (in Lusaka) and had been pleased to learn that she had successfully obtained a fellowship on the strength of it.

Rapporteurs like me try to give a faithful account of what takes place during the formal sessions, so what happens there goes into the record. In contrast, the connections made, notes exchanged and professional relationships created in the lunch and coffee breaks never appear in official proceedings. Nevertheless, they are undoubtedly one of the reasons for coming together at well organised and friendly conferences like this one.

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