On 4 and 5 February 2020, 18 doctoral students of the NCCR LIVES presented their research at the NCCR LIVES Doctoriales. This annual workshop enables the NCCR LIVES to train the next generation of researchers in the field of life course and vulnerability. After presenting their projects, the doctoral students in turn benefit from the interdisciplinary viewpoint of experts on their work, thus promoting quality research. The research covers many fields, such as health, aging, career trajectories and network analysis, cumulative disadvantages/disadvantages or methodological advances.
In addition to the primary research objective, the Doctoriales is also a social event, where doctoral students can share methods and experiences, create a network and thus foster future collaborations. "It provides a friendly environment to exchange scientific information and to bond socially with colleagues and senior researchers," says one of the PhD students.
This event allows young researchers to take a step back from their project, as Dr. Emilie Joly-Burra, an expert at the Doctoriales, points out. Above all, it is also an opportunity to offer doctoral students the opportunity to discuss their research with people other than their thesis directors. Dr. Mattia Vacchiano underlines the advantages of this type of event also for senior researchers intervening as experts. "Reflecting on a text, evaluating the quality of its foundations and of the theoretical and empirical elements that make it up is always a beneficial exercise for intellectual activity, and therefore for our work as researchers".
Strengthen presentation skills
This type of workshop is also an opportunity to improve other professional skills that are essential in the academic world: "The Doctoriales help improve presentation skills. I think it is beneficial to have the possibility to make these oral presentations in a supportive context, where most of the audience are known.", says one of the PhD candidates.
Dr. Sabine Kradolfer, event organizer and ad interim Doctoral Programme Officer, is very satisfied with the quality of the work presented. "We have a lot of PhD students in this new cohort and they have already done a lot of thinking about their projects. We have seen good quality interventions even for those who are just starting out." The Doctoriales have been a tradition since the first year of the NCCR LIVES in 2011 and, considering the success of the event, the willingness to continue this concept in the framework of the future LIVES Centre is very strong."
An international expert to stay at the cutting edge
Methodological advances were also in the spotlight at the 2020 edition, with the plenary lecture given by Prof. Marc Scott of New York University on the subject of sequence analysis. The complexity of life courses, and consequently of the data collected in longitudinal research, does indeed set methodology at the heart of the discussions.