Behind the Scenes of the Irish Computational Biology and Genomics Symposium

Written by: Zain Arifin and Narod Kebabci
Written on: Tuesday, 25 October, 2022

About Us

The Irish Computational Biology and Genomics Symposium, or ICBG for short, is an annual computational biology symposium organised by the SFI Center for Research Training in Genomics Data Science PhD students. The 2022 edition is planned by 9 PhD students from various Irish universities.

The ICBG Symposium committee (photo credit: ICBG Symposium)

The themes of this year's symposium are genomics of disease and precision medicine, microbial genomics for health and industry, reproducibility in bioinformatics, modelling biological systems, agriculture and population genomics, and seisiún Gaeilge (Irish session). We have seven keynote speakers who are experts and leading researchers in the field. The event will be held at the Aula Maxima, a beautiful and historic place located at the heart of the University of Galway. The ICBG Symposium will run for two days on 1-2 December 2022.

Organizing ICBG Symposium

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the previous two editions of this symposium were forced to be held online. So this will be the first large-scale in-person event ever since the symposium moved from the Conway Institute at UCD to the University of Galway. Luckily, past committees have shared many invaluable insights with us. We also have an abundance of support coming from our host institutions, sponsors, and collaborators. With this, we hope that our participants will have a pleasant experience.

Planning a symposium has proven challenging at times. We have had to consider every detail no matter how small including venue, sponsors, speakers, social media, website, catering, and much more. Learning from past committees' experience, we have created smaller teams within the committees where each of us has responsibilities. By dividing the workload among ourselves, we managed to progress quickly and stay on track.

Keynote Speakers of ICBG Symposium (picture credit: ICBG Symposium)

The biggest hurdles for the symposium have been finding venues, sponsors, and speakers. We managed to find the venue for our event relatively quickly. However, just two months before the symposium, we were notified that the Bailey Allen Hall in the Human Biology Building at the University of Galway, which we had booked, was suddenly unavailable. This was quite a big hit as many of our ideas were developed with this venue in mind. Luckily, the committees moved swiftly, and with the help of the University, we managed to secure Aula Maxima where we hope to welcome you in December.

We were able to confirm seven keynote speakers and they are all leading experts that fit our theme. Our speakers come from Ireland, the UK, and the US. Almost all of our speakers will come to Galway and present their talks in person. The ICBG Symposium is not just an academic conference. We also want to maximize social interactions and networking opportunities for all participants.

Finding sponsors is not as easy as we want it to be. Thankfully, due to the success of the previous editions, we managed to establish a partnership with several past sponsors. At the end of the day, we managed to secure sponsorships from several companies and institutions, one of which is Systems Biology Ireland. The generous monetary support from the sponsors will help us to provide more for our participants and reduce the administration fees for the symposium.

Find out more

To find out more about the ICBG Symposium, you can follow our Twitter ( and LinkedIn ( We also have a website that you can find at For further enquiry, you can reach us through email at


About the authors

Zain Arifin is a PhD student in the Zhernovkov Group at SBI. He is originally from Indonesia. This will be his first year organising the ICBG Symposium.

Narod Kebabci is a PhD student in the Ryan Group in the Conway Institute at UCD. She is originally from Turkey. This will be her first year organising the ICBG Symposium