The “Doctoriales” 2012 of the NCCR hosted by the Universities of Lausanne and Geneva enabled 56 graduate students to present the status of their work to eminent representatives of the social sciences. Two days of stress, but also of fun.
Knotted stomachs, rashes and palpitations were the order of the first “Doctoriales” of NCCR LIVES on 13 and 14 February, 2012 in Lausanne. Interviewed by two experts per session, 56 doctoral students had 20 minutes to explain their research - its methodological framework, its methodology, its first results. Most presentations were held in English, the language of much of the expert - LIVES project managers or Advisory Board members from European and American universities.
"It was a good exercise in scale," says a French student, "but also an additional source of stress," adds a fellow Hispanic. Both note that the level of debate may have suffered from low oral expression and comprehension by the students. "I did not catch all the comments that were made about my work, one must admit, but I learned a lot after the session by talking face to face with an expert, who gave me excellent bibliographic advices and indicated a database that I did not know."
The presentations covered a wide range of issues addressed by the National Center of Competence in Research: family, work, health, migration, ages and methodology, almost always with the issue of vulnerability in the background. For PhD students, it was interesting to get feedback from other disciplines than their own: sociologists were interviewed by epidemiologists, demographers by economists, etc.
"A LIVES spirit"
In addition to promoting exchanges with renowned professors from several branches of the humanities, the “Doctoriales” were appreciated by the young researchers for the sheer pleasure of being among peers - usually in multiple locations -, to share their difficulties and learn from the others’ research during the sessions and outside, in the hallways or during meals. "It's good to compare themselves to others," said a fourth year doctoral student, "and it was simply cool to be all together. "
"We think that these Doctoriales helped to develop a LIVES spirit ", said after at the end of the two days Prof. Michel Oris, co-director of the center, and Delphine Fagot, head of the doctoral program, concluding: "What struck me is the playful side these days, despite the general stress... "