Speed dating that would not end. Visit to a Visualization Center with experiences for all senses. Travel grant receivers who told about foreign customs and research environments. SWEAH's PhD student day in Norrköping, on April 5, offered a full-featured program.
Professor Andreas Motel-Klingebiel, from Division Ageing and Social Change (ASC) at Linköping University, opened the PhD student day in Norrköping. His presentation described the research at ASC, which has a strong focus on social inequality.
- For example, if we study information and communication technology, it's not to find useful tools and solutions. But to see who are included or excluded, who gains or loses depending on the development of society from a life perspective, Andreas Motel-Klingebiel said.
Research visits abroad
In 2016, SWEAH approved four travel grants for research visits abroad. Within Europe, the maximum estimate is SEK 30 000. For visits outside Europe, up to SEK 50 000 can be granted. The next application period expires on 30 September, 2016: For more information and application form
As part of the morning program, the four travel grant receivers were given the opportunity to account for their foreign stays.
First out was Maya Kylén who went to Auckland in New Zealand. To gain perspective and feedback on her thesis work, in particular different research methods. As well as establishing contacts for a future post doc or other possible research collaborations.
The first stop was Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Maya Kylén had been invited to present her PhD project but had no idea about what audience to expect.
- It turned out to be one PhD student and twenty-five senior researchers - so you can imagine how many questions I received. We talked mostly about housing for the elderly and they were also very interested in the financing of CASE, our research network at Lund University, Maya Kylén told.
The influence of Maori culture
However, the conversation almost lost track when the influence of Maori culture in New Zealand became apparent.
- During my presentation I leaned towards a table and it went quiet in the room. After a while someone said: Do you want a chair? Afterwards I was told that you can not lean against any kind of table - it is considered offensive, Maya Kylén explained.
The next stop was Auckland University, where Maya Kylén was given the opportunity to participate in a two-day research campaign on the theme Accessibility and Public Transport. Researchers, students, elderly citizens and representatives from industry, the municipality and the road administration joined hands to raise awareness about the accessibility in the city.
Field trip and documentation
- The first day we went out in the field with the task to walk around in smaller groups and to photograph and document what we saw. For example, the handicap toilet at the train station did not have an automatic door opener, Maya Kylén said.
Next in turn was Christina Bökberg. She had visited Tsukaba University to, among other things, get an insight into how the Japanese care system works. Read the article about her stay: I Japan med robotar och traditionell berättarkonst (Only in Swedish)
Christina Bökberg is SWEAH's first PhD, and after lunch she held a lecture on her thesis: Care and Services at Home for persons with Dementia.
Read an article about the dissertation: Fruitful talks about the future of dementia care at home
Christina Bökberg was followed by Charlotta Nilsen. She had visited both University at Albany and the University of South Florida, US.
- In particular, I wanted to present and discuss my research results and get feedback, Charlotta Nilsen explained.
She also saw the visit as an opportunity to increase her network. Partly through collaboration with Professor Benjamin Shaw at University at Albany, partly through doctoral seminars and more informal meetings.
- For me, the timing was perfect – in between my half-time and the dissertation. Not so far away from the dissertation that I would risk to be forgotten, nor so close that it would be stressful, Charlotta Nilsen said.
Finally, Giana Carli Lorenzini told about her stay at Michigan State University, US.
- I was very well received, I even got my own room, Giana Carli Lorenzini began.
The visit was characterized by good networking with many informal meetings.
- An important insight for me was to hear that even senior researchers with an interdisciplinary approach struggle to get their articles published, Giana Carli Lorenzini said.
She also got more tangible insights. Among other things, Giana Carli Lorenzini participated in a group exercise involving geriatric simulation. Participants had the possibility to try out paper goggles obscuring their sight, clumsy clothes to limit mobility, gloves that lowered the tactile function and so on.
- The exercise took place during lunch, so we could get an idea of how it was to get food and move around the tables. There were surely people in the restaurant who wondered who we were but it was interesting to try the situation, Giana Carli Lorenzini recalled.
The afternoon was devoted to practical information and space for discussions and suggestions.
- I invite you to give me your views so that we can develop SWEAH and our specific curriculum, Associate professor Maria Haak, SWEAH's Coordinator, said.
And there were no lack of commitment or opinions. Some suggestions on interesting areas to develop were:
- Practice and create several so-called elevator pitches that can be used in different contexts. For example, at the poster presentation, at dinner or when meeting with financiers.
- More regular feedback on how the thesis work within SWEAH is progressing.
- Career planning seminars. How to proceed practically after dissertation with or without a post doc. Which options exist outside the academy? Invite people who work today to hear how they got use of their doctorate professionally.
- More discussions about scientific concepts to gain perspective on how they are used in different disciplines.
Intensive speed dating
The afternoon program ended with a speed dating in order for the PhD students to get to know each other. When everyone had found their place and got a grip on how to rotate in the room, discussions began instantly. No start-up-time needed, with other words, it was more difficult to end the lively conversations.
The day ended with dinner and social activities. Among other things, a visit was made to Visualization Center in Norrköping which offered experiences for all the senses.
See more pictures from Visualization Center and the PhD student day in Norrköping
Text and photo: Erik Skogh