SSP Virtual Fall 2020 – Envisioning the future of Sensory Science

Our team took on the 2020 Society of Sensory Professionals virtual conference October 28-November 5, to both learn more and speak about the future of the sensory field. The show kicked off with an opening keynote by Sam Latif, Procter & Gamble’s Company Accessibility Leader, and Dr. Alexa Williams, Sensory Scientist with PepsiCo, where they spoke about inclusivity regarding disabilities and how including those with varying disabilities in studies is a challenge, but  how we all have a role in making inclusivity happen in research.

Later that same opening day, we caught the Professional Development Keynote with Gail Vance Civille, President of Sensory Spectrum, where she spoke on “Owning Competence, Growing Confidence.” Her themes were that if you take confidence and humility together, one can achieve high-level goals. In addition, she touched on navigating unconscious bias in today’s world and ways to do that both systemically and personally.

One of our favorite parts of SSP are the Speed Posters. This is when selected poster presenters present their research in three slides and no more than 5 minutes. Many diverse topics and points of view were presented at this year’s conference, including posters from Katie Marston, Pepsico, on “Effect of priming and context setting in consumer product research”; an interesting one from EyeQuestion Software on “Exploring seasonal context using immersive technology”; and from IPSOS on “Biometric Measurement of Sensory Affective Response for Product Optimization”; among others.

And we had great fun doing our workshop at SSP 2020: Tracking COVID-19: How Sensory Scientists are Adjusting Research to Align with Changing Consumer Behaviors. Our very own Dr. Sarah Kirkmeyer and Greg Stucky, along with Caryn Crawford, CCR Sensory Insights; Karen Graves, Sensory Director, Bell Flavors & Fragrances; and Chelsey Keeler, General Mills, presented.

And congratulations to Oregon State University PhD student Brittany Miles, who won the Jean F. Caul Award for Outstanding presentation on the Use of Scientific Principles at the conference.

Even with a completely virtual event for the 2020 Society of Sensory Professionals conference was abuzz with what attendees think the future hold in the sensory field. We can’t wait until next time!