On my way to studying collaboration in PhD training networks "ColLABoration" by edlabdesigner is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

On my way to studying collaboration in PhD training networks

Scientific collaboration is an important part of conducting research. In this blog post, I would like to introduce my PhD topic as part of the Train2Wind ITN (Innovative Training Network) at the University of Copenhagen.

Personal motivation and information on Train2Wind

Completing a PhD as member of the Train2Wind ITN (Innovative Training Network) combines several of my interests, as it allows me to study scientific collaboration in an applied research setting as part of an international research consortium that trains PhD graduates funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action. I graduated with an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree from the Master in Research and Innovation in Higher Education (MARIHE), which is coordinated by an international consortium. Although the focus is more on research, I believe that there are some similarities between ITNs and Erasmus Mundus; for example, there is mobility within various organisations in several countries, with various researchers and lecturers serving as part of one student cohort. An overview of Train2Wind is available on this conference poster by the consortium members.

Train2Wind includes six higher education institutions and four industry partners in Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the US. The consortium is coordinated by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and includes the University of Bergen, University of Copenhagen (UCPH), the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, and the University of Tübingen. The partner organisations are Johns Hopkins University and wind industry partners Equinor, Innogy, SeaTwirl AB, and Vattenfall AB. The work packages at UCPH’s Department of Communication are coordinated by the IBID research group (Information Behavior and Interaction Design) by Morten Hertzum and Haakon Lund. My supervisors are Haakon Lund and Frans van der Sluis.

Context and purpose of my PhD

Scientific collaboration is an important part of conducting research, especially for research consortia, because the consortium members depend on each other to achieve the project’s goals. My PhD work centers on expectations and experiences regarding scientific collaboration in PhD training networks in the research area of wind energy. I will study the collaboration readiness of these members — that is, what experiences and expectations they have when collaborating.

"Puzzle of complexity" by PictureWendy is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

The study sample is made up of these network members, namely early-stage researchers, senior researchers, and business representatives. By being a member of one of these networks, Train2Wind, I have the advantage of data access, but this also provides some challenges. My goal is to find out how the network members value scientific collaboration, which is based on their experiences prior to joining the network and their expectations towards the network’s activities.

Current status and outlook

Currently, I am preparing for data collection, which has luckily not yet been affected by the pandemic. I aim to collect data through qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys, participatory observations, usability tests of a collaboration website, bibliometric databases, and online social networks. The first step will be to carry out qualitative interviews with ITN project members. This will be followed by the launch of an online survey in the coming months, which will have separate questionnaires taking into account different levels of experience by the survey respondents.

I will present an overview of my PhD project at the Wind Energy Science Conference (WES) 2021, organized virtually at Leibniz University Hannover between 25–28 May 2021. I am looking forward to this PhD research journey and to being part of an international consortium.

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