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SLAS CONNECTED: A Tool for Year-Round Networking

By Alan E. Fletcher, Ph.D.

Imagine it is a couple months after attending the SLAS International Conference and Exhibition. You’ve remembered a particularly impactful podium presentation you attended there, and you listen to it once again on APPLIED, the SLAS Online Learning Center. The ideas brought forward continue to intrigue you. You wish you were back at the conference so you could discuss these ideas with fellow participants.

What do you do?

Instead of waiting until the next conference to reinitiate conversation on the topic, take advantage of CONNECTED, the SLAS Online Networking Center. Post a message on this new, unique SLAS platform to invite conference-like discussion that helps both you and the overall community. An SLAS member survey in late 2017 surfaced a common request across our diverse community: the need for year-round networking capabilities. Now, it’s here.

A Few Basics to Get Started

  • Navigate to CONNECTED from the toolbar at slas.org
  • Sign into CONNECTED from the orange box at the top right of the CONNECTED homepage.
  • Set up your profile, again from the top right of the CONNECTED page.
  • Join communities of interest.
  • Explore the possibilities.

As I did this and moved around the site, I realized how effective a tool this will be once the SLAS community engages and begins to use it for collaboration, networking and problem solving. CONNECTED is organized by communities, which are event or topic related. For example, at this early stage of CONNECTED, there are pre-populated general communities for SLAS Premier Members and SLAS Europe 2019 Attendees, as well as communities for SLAS’s most popular Special Interest Groups. You must join these SIG communities to see their respective posts.

I joined many of the SIG communities. Then I decided to post the article, “Automating Automation: How Close are We to Artificial Intelligence Impact?” that I co-authored with Yohann Potier, Ph.D., and Michael A. Tarselli, Ph.D. for Drug Discovery World, Summer 2019. I targeted it for the HCS/HCA Data and Informatics SIG community and requested feedback.

This is one example of how CONNECTED can help us all. This perspective piece offers the opportunity to understand how recent revolutions in chemical and biological automation produce enough data and learning to build a deep learning model pipeline, making science faster, more efficient and more accurate. I truly want feedback from the CONNECTED audience. Please tell me what you are seeing in your companies, what stumbling blocks you have encountered, what solutions you have tried and what you believe is needed to make the next big advancement. Collaboration like this helps move us forward.

Does this sound like many of the conversations you have had at SLAS events? You bet. Now, through SLAS CONNECTED, we can share ideas year-round.

Help CONNECTED Become Successful

As of this writing, CONNECTED is waiting for us. We need to get online, join communities, pose questions, post responses to community questions and share meaningful resources. Then this tool will be all it can be. Start today by offering feedback on the DDW article I shared!

Throw out your questions and your thoughts for input from the best minds in our field. When participation takes hold, it will begin to feel like those powerful moments with colleagues that you’ve experienced at SLAS events.

Your access level for some communities is based on your membership or event participation status, but anyone can participate in the SIG communities right away. There also are secure communities for SLAS volunteers who participate on judging panels, task forces or committees. And, open to all, are Career Connections posts and reminders about Upcoming SLAS Events.

Give it a try – you might just find that missing piece of information for which you’ve been searching or connect with someone who has that particular skill set or expertise you have been seeking.

Let me know how it goes...through CONNECTED, of course.

September 30, 2019