On arrival we were split in to small groups made up of both Imperial and MIT students, from a range of research backgrounds. Within my team there were people working on how cancer spreads, how to improve the efficiency of electrodes recording brain activity and fluid imaging techniques (to name just a few). We began by explaining to each other what our own research was about, through creating a poster (in an hour!) and presenting it to the rest of the group. We also took part in other team building activities and skills workshops which focussed on networking and presenting our own research.
The activities then moved away from what we could do individually and began to focus on what skills we could bring together in a potential collaboration. One activity we were given a box of unrelated items (some tooth paste, bandages, marbles and pens and paper) and asked to create a product that we felt the world needed, but was not currently technically feasible. My created a bandage that could sense infection and release the necessary medication, as well as texting alerts to the wearer. The poster itself looked disgusting (the diagram of the cut looked really realistic) and was a really interesting activity to complete.
Overall the week was highly enjoyable and challenging, and helped me build on skills that will be vital in a career in research. It also made me reflect on how important collaboration in research is not only with researchers from other institutions, but also interdisciplinary collaborations, and the range of skills we each have that highly transferrable. It was also great to meet and get to know so many lovely people from both Imperial and MIT, and do something a little different from my usual everyday PhD work.
Author: Ellen Grimås