COST AMiCI – Expert work and student cooperation within antimicrobial innovations

The COST AMiCI action is one of the projects led by SAMK’s Smart Urban Business research team, research manager Minna Keinänen-Toivola as the chair of the action. AMiCI, standing for “Anti-Microbial Coating Innovations to prevent infectious diseases”, is funded by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology, the COST Association.                    

In infection control, the key is as simple as good hand hygiene. However, other measures and new innovations are needed to strengthen the battle. Certain touch surfaces can prevent the spread of microbes and thus the central focus of the COST AMiCI action is to evaluate the use of antimicrobial (microbe growth reducing) coatings in healthcare. The aim is to prevent the spreading of microbial infections and to reinforce the combat against antibiotic-resistant microbes in an innovative way. In AMiCI, researchers, company representatives and other experts from 33 European COST countries, reinforced with USA and Belarus, work together for solutions for microbiologically safe healthcare environments. 

Martijn Riool and Minna Keinänen-Toivola
Vice-chair of the action Martijn Riool and Chair of the action Minna Keinänen-Toivola.

Students as part of the conference team

SAMK invited a group of tourism students to join the practical organization of the final conference. Tiia Korhonen, Eveliina Elkevaara and Meri Cevik had the possibility to see ongoing project work within their own study institution and to experience the various aspects of handling an international conference. They describe their experience as follows:

As a student, attending the organization of the AMiCI conference was a great opportunity to learn about the entire circle of coordinating a conference from being part of the planning, to working in the actual conference and attending the follow-up after it. Before the conference, we had preparatory meetings with SAMK staff monthly. Our first assignment was to prepare an info sheet about Krakow for the participants of the conference. Because we had never planned an info sheet before, it was surprising how much information we needed to find out about Krakow, and how to write all the information about public transportation, accommodation, sights etc. briefly. 

This was the first time any of us had a business trip, so we had no expectations about what was going to be like when we arrived to Krakow. During the event at the Jagiellonian University, our work mainly included coordination of the conference info desk. Our tasks consisted of collecting signatures of the participants every morning, handing out lunch tickets and answering questions that the participants possibly had about the conference program, the premises, or the city itself. We had a couple local students working with us, which was helpful, because as locals they knew all about the city. The days at the conference were fairly long, but interesting and educational. We were surprised about how schedules can change, and how much details we had to take into consideration when working with the coordination of a big event. 

The AMiCI conference, SAMK students
SAMK students Eveliina Elkevaara, Meri Cevik and Tiia Korhonen at the AMiCI final conference registration desk.

After the conference, our task was to plan a feedback survey for the participants. The survey collected the participants’ experiences about e.g. the information given before the event, the practical arrangements during the event and the program of the conference. It was nice to get authentic feedback for our work – most importantly, to find out where we succeeded and where there is room for improvement in the future.

Being a part of the AMiCI final conference was one of the best experiences we have had during our studies and it was interesting to attend an international conference and to meet new people from all around the world. This got us thinking about our future careers – working in the field of event organization could be something we would like to do after graduation.

Text: Hanna Rissanen, Minna Keinänen-Toivola, Tiia Korhonen, Eveliina Elkevaara, Meri Cevik

Photos: Hanna Rissanen

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