In the latest FIELD blog social scientist Beth talks through the first of the meetings of the early career researchers and how important these are to the development of the team and the project.
A core part of the FIELD project, and one of the aims (fortunately for myself) is the success and career development of the team members at the earlier stages of their careers. This includes myself and the other research associates on the project (Ewan, James and Niamh), as well as the two PhD students, Maria and Nicole.
A key part in helping us to develop as independent researchers is having time as a group to discuss our research activities on the projects, our hopes for the next few years, and how we can best support each over the duration of FIELD. So thanks to some great planning by the rest of the project team by allocating time to meet up in the FIELD project proposal, and taking advantage of all being together for a project meeting we held our first meeting in January. Given we were in Newcastle, we also took advantage of their marine laboratory, and headed off to the coast for a change of scenery from the main campus.
The view from above the Dove Marine Laboratory in Cullercoats, Newcastle
We kicked off the mornings discussions by running through our research interests in more detail about what we hope to achieve working on the FIELD project (aside from competing out listed aims and achieving doctoral degrees!). The background information we shared highlighted how versatile a group we are both across and within our disciplinary clusters. It also highlighted a number of commonalities in out research related to the project and further afield. These included exploring and gaining a greater understanding of human-animal relations, trade-offs within decision making, and knowledge generation and transfer. This naturally led into discussions of how we can best fit our research together, both for exploring: opportunities for different approaches to exploring FIELDs research questions projects, and; how potential ideas for additional points of exploration.
Fueled by a hearty lunch of fish and chips (afterall, it would be rude not to at the coast!), the afternoons discussions focused on bovine viral diarrhea and the first public engagement event the team would be running, to be held at the Museum of English Rural Life in a few weeks time. Having a small but diverse team definitely helped move discussions along, and the combination of different backgrounds helped us to come up with the design er are using now.
Overall it was safe to say that the first meeting was a great success. It provided a great opportunity to be able to sit and discuss out shared research interests, what motivates peoples and their goals for the next 3 ½ years, as well as how we can help each other. Having time to sit down together face-to-face to talk was, and I'm sure will continue to be, invaluable, especially including social aspects in this as well.
Role of the next ECR day in the summer!