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Academic Socialite: Internship, travel and FameLab experiences of a PhD student

By April 28, 2018 No Comments

By Anisa Rowhani-Farid

The last few months of my PhD have been filled with much travel, collaboration, networking, science communication, and, above all, wrapping up my thesis for external examination!  Early February 2018 I had my final PhD seminar and a few weeks later, I was off to London for an internship at British Medical Journal (BMJOpen.  The title of my thesis is:  Towards a culture of open science and data sharing in health and medical research, so I am looking at ways to increase data sharing rates in the research community.  My research looked at the effectiveness of data sharing policies and incentives for sharing.

The internship at BMJ Open was to progress the data collection phase of my fourth study, which is a randomised control trial that I am leading at BMJ Open.  The trial is testing an incentive for researchers to share their raw data.

In between my internship, I wandered around London networking with global funding bodies, universities and other journals.  I had the opportunity to collaborate with researchers and strategic staff of Wellcome Trust, 360Giving, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, F1000Research, and Springer Nature.

My evenings and weekends were spent eating great food, hanging out with new friends, roaming around through galleries and museums, and of course, a trip to Paris using the Eurostar.  I ended my academic holiday with a short trip to Haifa, Israel to visit the Baha’i World Centre, which was my home for three years from 2008 to 2011.  Springtime in Israel was a pleasant change after experiencing the Siberian snow in London!  I think the BMJ staff were concerned about my well-being during the unexpected snow, after I told them that I grew up in a tropical island (Vanuatu) and that I live in Brisbane, Queensland, the Australian “Sunshine State”.

Upon arrival in Brisbane, I was greeted with the sun and of course, great Australian coffee.  I unpacked my bags just to re-pack them for my trip to Melbourne to participate in the semi-finals of FameLab, the world’s biggest science communication competition.  Jet-lagged and exhausted after the long journey home made me a confused and sleepy participant during the all-day training seminar before the competition that evening at the Melbourne Museum.  I turned to Aussie coffee and adrenaline to keep me going the whole day.  Apparently jet-lag is my friend as I was surprised to have won the runner-up prize out of 12 semi-finalists and I’m off to the national finals in Perth in May 2018!

All in all, I had a great trip, and I got to meet some incredible people and have some meaningful conversations about science and societal change.  While I prepare to submit my PhD for examination next week, I can’t help but feel sentimental that my PhD journey is slowly coming to a close.