2023 MotherNet Early Stage Researchers Forum Review

During 2023, Jenny Björklund arranged four more workshops for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) within the MotherNet project. With a point of departure in proposals and suggestions from the seven ESR participants, the content of the workshops was oriented towards broader issues such as the research field Motherhood studies, and more specific questions that concern the professional life of the PhD student. The workshops were held at Zoom.

9 workshop. Postgraduate symposium (January 30)

The postgraduate symposium will be organized as part of the MotherNet Final Conference which will take place in January 23-25 2024 at Vilnius university. During this meeting, the content, the format and the timing of the Postgraduate symposium were discussed. Additionally, it was decided that it would be useful to have one or two ESRs on the final conference organization committee.

10 workshop. Research applications (April 17)

Eric Trovalla from the Uppsala University Research Office was invited to give some hands-on advice on how to write research applications in general and how to come up with a really good research question as this a basis for a successful research proposal. The ESRs found this meeting particularly useful as they did not have many opportunities to work on the research proposals and to focus on separate parts of the proposals. They agreed that it is important and quite difficult to write a great research question that would both reveal the problem that is about to be studied, the impact and the relevance of this problem.

11 workshop. Read’em with Kindness: Best Practices for Peer-Reviewing Academic Work (September 22)

Dr. Loïc Bourdeau from the Maynooth University School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures was invited to introduce ESR Forum participants to the process of academic peer-review, while providing them with effective tools to serve as reliable, generous, and professional reviewers. The goal of the workshop was not only to champion kindness as a mode of reviewing, but also to allow participants to become stronger academic writers. For most of the participants, the workshop was their first encounter with how to do peer-reviews, which made it very useful. They benefited from the general overview that Dr. Loïc Bourdeau gave in his lecture and appreciated the opportunity to work with concrete real-life examples and to be able to ask many questions. The workshop also deepened their understanding of how to write articles for peer-reviewed journals through the exercise that focused on analyzing the structure of an article that had been submitted to a journal.

12 workshop. Collaborating with External Partners in Research (November 20)

Ciara Bradley and Anne O’Brien from Maynooth University were invited to talk about funded research and partnered / engaged research. The presenters drew from lessons as reviewers for grant applications, lessons from successful and not successful applications (European and national level) and their experiences in various collaborations in research.

Additionally, this year we have two ESR Forum members who have successfully defended their PhD theses – Orlagh Woods (Maynooth University) and Jules Kielmann (Uppsala University) – and two new members – Roisin Freeney (Maynooth University) and Jolanta Malažinskienė (Vilnius University)!