I'm not making this up! :)
An article in this week's Science Career section discussed something that is getting some "speed" in popularity - speed networking.
Our so-called Translational Research Bazaar, which took place in October, used a format popularized by speed dating: Two groups of people--in this case, basic scientists and clinical/translational researchers--sit on opposite sides of a table and chat for a few minutes until a bell rings, signaling that it's time to move on and strike up a new conversation. This process continues until everyone in one group has met everyone in the other group. The goal, for translational research as for dating, is to find a match.
More than 80 people registered for the event, and follow-ups with the attendees suggest it worked as planned: Eighty-five percent of participants said they met at least one potential collaborator, and seven pairs of researchers applied for internal pilot funding. Word has gotten out: Other institutions and organizations have contacted us hoping to learn how to run their own events.
I suppose whatever works in getting to meet others. Can't see any harm in that, other than a greater risk of exposure to the H1N1 virus! :)