On Wednesday 7th December, we held a virtual meeting to share the academic and personal experiences of our scholarship recipients and postgraduate students in 2022. More than 50 people participated in this enriching dialogue, including early stage researchers, their thesis supervisors and other CEMarin researchers, and a large part of the CEMarin team.
First on the agenda were the scientific topics: the early stage researchers who are currently undertaking doctorates at our member universities, presented the advances in their research projects and received questions. Secondly, the early stage researchers talked about the challenges they have faced in carrying out their projects. Of course, the dynamics of the Covid-19 pandemic were a common theme for everyone, with implications such as changes in the focus of some projects, difficulties in doing field and/or laboratory work, and delays in being able to publish the articles with their results.
But the challenges associated with the pandemic were not the only ones, as became clear, pursuing a PhD is always a great challenge in itself. Other topics mentioned were changes in the research topic due to environmental or economic factors, and the reality that three years to fulfill all the requirements of a doctorate is a short time, meaning excellent time management is a must. In one particular case, a student recounted her experience of being pregnant while working on her research and how difficult it was to maintain her level of productivity, both before her daughter’s arrival and after!
There was then time for questions from the early stage researchers to the other participants, who shared their professional and personal experience, for example, about job prospects after completing a doctorate. In this case, some CEMarin researchers highlighted issues such as the importance of focusing on a specific area and taking advantage of the skills acquired during doctoral studies beyond purely technical-scientific knowledge, skills that can be applied in many professional fields and not only in academia. Others emphasized the need to be aware of the importance of connecting academia and research with the needs of contemporary society.
Finally, our Executive Director, Dr Andrés Osorio, spoke about how CEMarin can support early stage researchers, beyond the scholarships and financial support we offer. In this sense, he highlighted the possibility of support in the drafting of project proposals that can be endorsed by CEMarin, the work of CEMarin in promoting research networks that include researchers at all stages of their careers and from different universities and research centers, both nationally and internationally.
All the participants expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to share with colleagues, who had often only corresponded with members of the CEMarin team by email, and that the meeting was a highly valuable space, both professionally and personally. From CEMarin, we thank all the participants for their time and contributions.
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