I would love to visit China. I’d especially love to be invited to go there and have all my expenses covered. So when I got an official-looking invitation to a conference there a while back, I had a few milliseconds of enthusiasm, until I read a little deeper and my excitement got replaced with bafflement. I just turned away from it, but they keep begging me to attend. Here’s the latest letter from the China Medicinal Biotech Forum:
Dear Dr. Paul Myers,
This is redacted, the program coordinator ofthe 6th CMBF-2013. On behalf of the organizing committee of CMBF-2013, I sent you a formal Invitation Letter several weeks ago, which is regarding inviting you to participate in our forum as the Chair/Speaker of Session 7-2: Genetic and Cell Engineering Technologies for Biological Therapy. But we haven’t received any reply from you. In case of missing this grant event, I am writing again to extend to you our sincere invitation. Since we have learnt that you are making valuable contributions to Paul Myers…, your unique and inspirational message will definitely highlight the forum.
The 6th CMBF will be held on September 25-27, 2013 in Shenzhen, China. And it is hosted by CMBA, which was established in 1993 and consisted by 200 enterprise members and over 2000 professional individuals. It is on attachment to Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, which is an executive agency of the state that plays the role of providing information, raising health awareness and education, ensuring the accessibility of health services, and monitoring the quality of health services provided to citizens and visitors in the mainland of the People’s Republic of China. It also cooperates and keeps in touch with other health ministries and departments, including those of the special administrative regions and the World Health Organization (WHO).
We have hosted CMBF for five times in Beijing, Shanghai, Qingdao and Dalian respectively. Each time was in every way extremely successful in spite of the preceding worldwide political and health problems. The strong attendance was a testimony to fact that the CMBF conference is well recognized as the most important international convention on China Medical Biotechnology.
The primary goal of this event is to provide a forum for the exchange of current information about new and emerging scientific knowledge, to discuss implications for future research and the application of new medicinal biotechnology, and to create opportunities for the collaboration and matchmaking between academia and industry. CMBF-2013 will focus on the following topics: Basic Research of Medical Biotechnology, Monoclonal Antibody, Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell, Bone Tissue Bank, Nanomedicine, Biomaterials, Novel Technologies for Biotherapeutics, Clinical Application Medical Biotechnology (Part I)-Biological Diagnostics, Clinical Application Medical Biotechnology ( Part II)-Therapy, Dietary Fiber.
For more information regarding CMBF-2013, please visit our conference website at http://www.medbioforum.org/.
We look forward to your active support and participation.
Weird. I’m not a biotechnology or biomedicine researcher. I do not do “Genetic and Cell Engineering Technologies for Biological Therapy”, but they’re asking me to chair a session on the topic? I think it’s very nice that they’ve noticed I am “making valuable contributions to Paul Myers…”, which is true, but I think that only qualifies me to chair a session titled “Paul Myers”. Even if I were confident that this were a legitimate research conference, I’d turn them down.
But I did dig around trying to find out more about them. They’ve had quite a few meetings, and they’ve had some prestigious attendees, including Nobelists. Maybe somebody on their administrative team is a master of SEO, because all I could find with a casual search (sorry, I’m not going, so I wasn’t going to dig deeper) were links to the group itself and to Chinese sources. The topics sound reasonable and legit, but far more applied than anything that would interest me.
But now I’m curious. There are a couple of possibilities here.
One is that it’s a great big scam. I’d agree, and then find myself paying for travel expenses that would never be reimbursed. If that’s the case, we should spread the word.
Another is that it’s a real conference for an obscure organization that has a great deal of Chinese government money thrown at it. They’re honestly reaching out to make connections with US researchers, but they don’t really know who’s who.
Another very remote possibility is that somebody there knows who I am, actually thinks I have a “unique and inspirational message”, and is trying to shoehorn me into a session that is unfortunately a poor fit. I can do a general rah-rah biology talk, but I’m not at all qualified to go into the details of stem cell research and biotechnology.
Anyone have prior experience with this group? If nothing else, promoting a little more second-party information about them on the web would be helpful.