Today's blog is from Edel O'Hagan giving us an overview of the SPRING event and her thoughts on the importance of connecting with other researchers. Edel is a physiotherapist and PhD candidate at Neuroscience Research Australia, UNSW. Her PhD investigates using social media to encourage self-management in people with low back pain.
Friday 27th (July) saw the first SPRiNG social event in Sydney. UNSW, UTS and USyd were represented in what could be declared a successful first effort. The attendees represented a broad spectrum of research interests including qualitative researchers, clinical trialists, researchers interested in paediatrics, brain neurochemistry, language, and coaching to name a few.
The event highlighted some of the advantages of SPRiNG social, such as sharing challenges of the journey with our peers. We all know PhD’s are tough, we are reminded regularly about the poor/ lack of career prospects, yet we persist. Sharing the trials and tribulations of our experience with other like-minded colleagues reassuringly reminds us why we started on this path in the first place.
SPRiNG social also allowed us early career researchers (ECRs) to practice talking about our work in more relaxed environment. Communicating with friends and family or any lay audience about scientific subjects and making them understandable and attractive is difficult. The ability to explain our work to others in a concise and coherent way is an essential skill in science.
We most often only get the opportunity to test these communication skills at national and international conferences, which can be large and intimidating for ECRs. SPRiNG social allows ECR to share details of their current research, ideas, and techniques in a relaxed, informal environment.
As junior scientists we start with a limited network in our scientific field. Building a network, thriving in a social environment and connecting with others seem like crucial skills for a successful scientific (or any) career.
Take this opportunity to build your scientific network, by attending the next SPRiNG social event on 24th August, or just come along for a beer and a chat.