10 ingredients for a successful supervisor/PhD student relationship – A thoughtful commentary from Elsevier Connect

The PhD candidate-Supervisor Relationship is probably the cornerstone of academic research, at least in Western Europe. The relationship, which can last anything from 3 to 5 or more years depending on the type and location of the PhD degree, provides a key transition for the student from being a learned individual to one who enhances these attributes and becomes more or less independent in their pursuit of excellence.

Some of the more successful relationships last a lifetime particularly for those candidates that continue a career in academia or a similar domain. Prof Torralba declares 10 key constituents for developing this relationship successfully. How do these attributes/features resonate with your experiences as a supervisor or student?


Data in the EU – Interesting information on demographics and Migration within the World’s Largest Trading Bloc

We are often told that data and the knowledge derived from it drives our economy and our is important for social justice – an evidence based approach but so often we are not provided with the data we need let alone the tools for the average person to access it. A step in the right direction is the data service of the EU – interesting reading was the demography and migration bit of the service… have a read! But not sure if you can get hold of the source data.

EU offers Global opportunities to Postdoctoral researchers

The EU’s Horizon Europe has begun and Sweden, Switzerland and UK, as an associate partner that has the same rights as full partners, will be actively engaged in research. As such we will be submitting grants in areas of medical engineering and biomechanics using both bottom-up instruments and top-down specified calls.

One of these instruments that allows collaboration development are through the Postdoctoral fellowships – which allow an overseas post PhD researcher to undertake research and research training in Europe (max 8 years research experience since their PhD).  The proposed call opens on 18 May 2021 with a proposed call deadline 15 September 2021 (tbc). These fellowships provide a substantial salary as well as a research support allocation managed by the host institution.

The consortium members, University of Leeds, Uppsala University, Lulea Technical University, ETH Zurich and Imperial College London,  have considerable experience of hosting and developing the types of fellowships providing an open and innovative environment for the Fellows to develop. The consortium have considerable EU experience through both large scale programmes (lifeLongJoints.eu), mentoring EU fellows and a number of MSCA ITNs (now called doctoral networks) and would welcome discussions developing EU postdoctoral fellowship proposals. If you have any students who may be considering a postdoctoral research position and might be interested in med-tech/biomechanics then perhaps we can chat about this.  These fellowships are useful for answering research questions that both the beneficiary and the researcher are interested in.

When will the infringements of people’s rights to dignity end?

Prof Chloe Orkin key UK HIV researcher, activist and consultant says on her twitter feed ‘How totally SHAMEFUL and hideous that this government chose to hold a public consultation before legislating to ban the INDEFENSIBLE practice of conversion therapy’.

Following the Queens Speech laying out the year ahead, many groups are elated and relieved to hear an end to conversion therapy attempts to change someones sexual orientation or gender identity in England and Wales. However many campaigners are frustrated that this is not an immediate blanket interdiction on this abusive and damaging practice, instead the ban on conversion therapy will be preceded by a public consultation.

10,000 and counting – Congratulations to the ERC for reaching this impressive milestone!

The European Research Council has just awarded its 10,000th grant!  The award was an Consolidator Grant provided to Professor Inga Berre of the University of Bergen – congratulations! Not sure it is a milestone under the definition provided by the online manual for Horizon Europe, but BioTrib is not going to allow this to stop celebrating another EU Horizon success – champers out folks! To celebrate this fantastic achievement the ERC had a celebration attended by Senior EU dignitaries as well previous award winners outlining the support and subsequent impact such an award had on their careers and the wider community.

 

 

European Diversity Month

May is the month to be in within Europe, as it celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of diversity and inclusion in our workplaces and in the society throughout the whole European Union through European Diversity Month

Let’s all take a bolder stand for diversity and act about it. Let’s show our commitment to equality and this May 2021 celebrate the European Diversity Month together. With more diverse workplaces, we will create a fairer and more equal Europe for all.

Helena Dalli, EU Commissioner for Equality

There is a launch event on Tuesday, 4 May 10:00-12:00 CEST, which can be accessed following registration on the above website. You will be able to view a recording of the high-level launch here.

BioTrib/University of Leeds MSCA ESR/IF careers meeting – 26th April 2021.

BioTrib and the RIS EU office joined forces at the University of Leeds to deliver a careers orientated event for all MSCA Early Stage Researchers and Individual Fellows who are employed at the University.

The event comprised a panel session where 4 ESR and IF alumni provided an overview of their careers and provided advice to current MSCA sponsored researchers at the University of Leeds. The panel comprised:

  • Jayakrishnan Chandrappan, Head of Packaging, CSA Catapult, UK (MSCA IF Alumni),
  • Brandon Charleston, Head of Volunteering, Raleigh International (Leeds PhD Alumni),
  • Cecilia Persson, Professor at Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Applied Materials Science, Uppsala University, Sweden (MSCA ITN Alumni),
  • Anna Plotnikova, Assistant Professor of Strategic Change at VU University Amsterdam, School of Business and Economics, The Netherlands (MSCA ITN Alumni).

The panellists discussed the role of internationalisation in their career progression and the importance that provides through the demonstration of the attributes of an independent researcher, networking across national boundaries and being exposed to different cultures and research ideas.

The meeting also comprised speakers from the University involved in delivering opportunities for ESRs and IFs.  This included the RIS EU Office, The International Office, the Careers Service and the Organisational and Personal Development Unit.

These video clips can be now seen at the BioTrib careers event.

Is it a bird? Yes it is a peregrine!

Leeds doesn’t have a cathedral but nearby Wakefield Cathedral has a funky visitor, which gets attention from over 100,000 fans in 57 countries! A pair of peregrine falcons are currently nesting on top of the cathedral tower and they have their own personal webcam. Therapeutic viewing after a long day contemplating life, the Universe and BioTrib.

Stop Press – 24 hours later:  Judith tells me there are also Peregrines located on the Parkinson Tower at the University of Leeds.

Research – Inspiring paper from the Leeds-Imperial Group on the Fabrication of Cartilage-Inspired Hydrogel Entangled Polymer–Elastomer Structures.

Significant paper developing and modelling hydrogels with a goal of more closely representing those of cartilage. The material shows a similar equilibrium compressive modulus to that observed in cartilage and allows for both rehydration and poroelastic lubrication mechanisms. BioTrib looks forward to seeing further work from this partnership of leading tribological and modelling groups.

Abstract Image

Figure – Reprinted with permission from: Fabrication of Cartilage-Inspired Hydrogel/Entangled Polymer–Elastomer Structures Possessing Poro-Elastic Properties, Siavash Soltanahmadi, Nicholas Raske, Gregory N. de Boer, et al.  ACS Applied Polymer Materials, Copyright 2021 American Chemical Society