Building Research Capacity and a Collaborative Global Community
The topic of the LERU Doctoral Summer School 2019 was "Building Research Capacity and a Collaborative Global Community". The school was organized by the University of Edinburgh, England, from 15 - 19 July 2019. This year, three PhD candidates at UZH successfully applied via Graduate Campus to participate - here are their enthusiastic reports!
Anna Luisa Grimm, Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Prevention Institute:
In July, I had the pleasure to represent the University of Zurich at the LERU Doctoral Summer School 2019, hosted by the University of Edinburgh. The topic was “Building Research Capacity and a Collaborative Global Community”.
We were 52 PhD students from 23 leading research-intensive universities across Europe, representing a wide variety of disciplines and backgrounds. LERU asked us to work together and produce a collaboration guide for early career researchers. Not only did we create this guide within a week, but also went through a truly collaborative process and established long-term connections.
The preparation for the summer school included a short introduction of ourselves and our research, as well as an interview each participant conducted with an expert from their home university that served as an information source for the guide, while the organizers had worked out the layout. The sessions during the summer school consisted of lectures held by academic researchers from the University of Edinburgh and workshops.
Besides the intensive and interesting work sessions, we also had various fun and well-organized social events during the week that allowed us to experience Edinburgh and get to know Scottish Culture. We learned about the production and different tastes of Whisky, we were guided through Edinburgh’s Old Town, we had lunch with University Edinburgh members, and on our final event we learned how to dance Ceilidth.
The summer school closed with presenting our work to Professor Kurt Deketelaere (Secretary-General of LERU). After his concluding remarks highlighting the need of collaboration in modern-day research, the program formally came to an end by cutting the cake to celebrate the collaboration guide.
Thank you to the University of Zurich Graduate Campus for the amazing opportunity and to LERU and the University of Edinburgh organizing team for such a brilliant event!
Kiran Zahra, Department of Geography:
I am doing my PhD research in collaboration with disaster management practitioners, computer scientists, and linguists. During my collaboration projects, there were many questions unanswered. The LERU Summer School 2019 provided me a chance to discuss those questions with a wide research community and come up with some advice for early career researchers.
The diversity of participants was amazing; from surgeons to social scientists; architects as well as lawyers. One of the challenging tasks at the school was to write a research collaborations guide for early career researchers with such a big group of participants from different educational backgrounds in 4 days and wow…the guide was published on the 5th day!
The summer school activities were very well-planned and well-organized. The first day all the participants introduced themselves and their research to the audience. Work on the collaboration guide started in the afternoon. There were panel discussions with expert scientists and successful collaborators where they shared valuable experiences. We worked extensively throughout the week, however, we had enough time to socialize, to make new friends, to enjoy traditional Scottish cuisine, and to start new research collaborations (of course!). Keeping in mind the cultural diversity of participants, the organizers also run a session where participants were grouped geographically and they spoke about common misconceptions, dos and don’ts in their culture. It was a great chance to help understand cultural diversity during research collaborations. I made a lot of new contacts and friends during the school and still have those memories fresh in my mind.