Thursday, 18 April 2013

A second slice of the cake

Posted by Annette Payne and Emma Giles

As Emma mentioned in her blog post last week, we have endeavoured to write two joint posts and I guess that these are in fact testament of the Fuse Sandpit event for early career researchers that we both were lucky enough to attend in February 2013 at Linden Hall.

Previous to this sandpit, Emma and I did not know each other and the fact we got along, had a lot of research interests in common and the same pragmatic perspective led us to keep in touch, have coffee (no cake though….oh has Emma already mentioned that??!!) and to write these posts.

It's all about the cake
So was this part of the Sandpit process? Well Emma and I were not members of the winning team but maybe there was more than one prize and we did win in our own way?

We might have received some strong criticism about our bid of blood, sweat and almost tears (I know there were loud whispers that the feedback was disproportionate to the task in hand and in reality all the teams would have spent more than a few hours writing a bid for submission), we still may not have seen what a successful bid does actually look like and what it would have taken for our bids to make it through to successful funding. Yet both Emma and I fully acknowledge that it was still worth attending and that this was the first event of this type, and that lessons will be learnt, and processes improved upon, but we are both very proud to have been selected to attend and to just have been a part of the sandpit process!

Over our coffee (and NO cake) we discussed the sandpit as a whole process and although we came away without the financial prize we did come away with little personal prizes of our own. We both realised that we were able to work with a research team where there were at times challenging dynamics but that both Emma and myself possessed a degree of self-awareness to manage and blend where required into that team dynamic, enough to allow the process to move forward. I personally came away reassured that I do have academic, research and clinical knowledge that I often don’t give myself enough credit for. I know Emma surprised herself at times how she stepped up and took the lead and was able to get her point across despite a couple of resistant audience members. We both witnessed how the different philosophies of universities both old and new don’t have to clash and compete, but can complement and enhance outcomes.

I think the best prize however is that we have made contact with someone who we would work with, have coffee (and cake??) with to discuss work and any professional issues, and perhaps a fledgling friendship within the research world.

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