Two weeks ago, we organised the networking session for early career researchers (ECRs) at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Congress 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. The broad aim of the session was to get ECRs together to discuss research collaboration, providing opportunities for networking and starting new collaborations.
We had 62 attendees (a full room!) from 22 different countries (see figure below). Participants were from different areas and levels of expertise (e.g., PhD students, postdocs, clinicians).
In this networking session, participants worked in groups to answer two main questions:
What are you looking to achieve with a collaboration?
What type of projects are possible/feasible for ECRs to collaborate?
The bar chart below shows the results from question 1. We found that ECRs are looking to add different skillsets and new perspectives into their team. They also believe that collaboration can help in future grant applications, getting more publications and generally improve the quality of the work. For question 2, we discussed the potential projects ECRs may be able to feasibly collaborate on. Participants often quoted surveys, systematic reviews, replication of studies in different cultures and datasets, and multicentre studies. We also discussed the potential of clinimetric studies to ECRs to start leading and collaborate with others. We also had great insights into international data sharing and translation of research findings.
We had an additional question on our Twitter account (@theICECReamblog): what makes a good or bad collaborator? Main themes that emerged from this question are summarised in the table below.
The second part of the session aimed to foster collaboration among participants. This part of the session brought more discussion and potential ideas on how we could start a collaboration. The attendees were interested and very enthusiastic about sharing ideas, which made the session very enjoyable and easy to facilitate. We also had two great ECRs who kindly helped us overcome language barriers. Thank you so much Nai-Jia and Matthieu! It was a great morning with amazing people! We shared experiences and strengthened our collaborations!