IEE Newsletter


Simon Rahn reports on ADAPTED's first year

Now in its official second year, the ADAPTED programme is taking shape. The Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) have all successfully settled into their host universities and are working intensively on their research designs. Thereby, they do not only receive close supervision by their research directors but also peer support in the form of monthly working package (WP) meetings. These meeting groups have formed themselves along the three thematic focal points of the ADAPTED research agenda, namely “validating pathways towards poverty eradication” (WP 1), “analysing interactions between poverty reduction and other policy areas” (WP 2) and “optimising the impact of poverty reduction polices” (WP 3).

Since all ESRs have successfully enrolled at their host universities, most of them are currently busy with coursework, they have to complete as part of the structured PhD programmes at all ADAPTED partner universities. ESRs linked to the PhD in International Development Studies at IEE as partner program for their joint PhD degree also participated in courses offered at Bochum such as the “Growth and Development” course taught by Professor Löwenstein as well as in cluster meetings with other IEE researchers.

For the coming winter term these four ESRs with their home base at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands and Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in partnership with Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, France are planning to spend a so called secondment period ot the IEE.

Successful and highly insightful first Annual Meeting in Bochum in February this year

"Land of the braves – having an in-person meeting" was the comment of one of the ADAPTED advisory board members ahead of the meeting. Although the decision for an in-person meeting was not easy to take in light of the unclear COVID 19 developments, all IEE members involved in the preparation of the event received extensive positive feedback on bringing the ADAPTED consortium together for the first time. For the vast majority of participants, this was the first in-person conference after a very long time. Yet, the difficult circumstances demanded a carefully planned hygiene concept involving 2G rules for meeting participation and 2G+ for participation in social events, mandatory daily rapid antigen tests for all participants and seating arrangements allowing for social distancing.

Participants travelled to the annual meeting from Amsterdam, The Hague, Paris, Istanbul, Cologne, Bonn and New York City. Advisory Board members and the supervisory team members from the African universities joined the meeting via Zoom. With this hybrid format, the first annual meeting facilitated a productive exchange on the individual research designs of the ESRs, knowledge exchange and networking opportunities and, not least, social interaction alongside the meeting.

Bochum ESRs have written a more detailed report on the ADAPTED meeting in the next article of this newsletter edition.

Mid-term Meeting with EU Project Officer Filippo Gagliardi

Not only from the coordinator’s perspective of the IEE, an important part of the annual meeting was the mid-term meeting with EU Project Officer Filippo Gagliardi, which took place in a hybrid format since Mr. Gagliardi was not able to travel to Bochum. From the project proposal, Mr. Gagliardi already knew the roles of the different consortium members. Yet, the mid-term meeting offered the first opportunity to introduce the people behind these roles. In the form of a “tour de table”, all members, also those joining from remote, were introduced. Adding to this, a report on the progress of implementation was given by the coordinator and Mr. Gagliardi held separate sessions with the ESRs and the coordination team from the IEE. All ADAPTED members were extremely happy with the positive evaluation of the implementation status by the EU.

Network-wide training elements offered in cooperation with RUB Research School

Before and after the annual meeting, network-wide training elements were offered for ESRs and associated young researchers in cooperation with the RUB Research School. In a three-day workshop and in preparation for the upcoming presentations of the individual ADAPTED research projects at the SDG Forum, ESRs received some input on how to bring a presentation to perfection in terms of designing the presentation slides as well as using body language and the own voice professionally in both in-person and virtual formats.

During the last day of the annual meeting and in two subsequent virtual sessions, ESRs and associated young researchers reflected on their own personality and career goals in a career orientation workshop, where participants also had the opportunity to do a comprehensive personality test individually evaluated by the workshop trainer.

Programme implementation

While the ADAPTED annual meeting was certainly a milestone for all consortium members, lots of activities took part since the start of the project. ESRs intensively worked on further planning of their individual research projects including related academic secondments at the partner university for the joint PhD degree, non-academic secondments with ADAPTED practice partners, field research linked to African partner universities of ADAPTED and so forth.

All these plans had to be agreed upon with the supervisors of the ADAPTED research projects and fixed in so called career development plans which also lay down required coursework and planned conference participation. Adding to this, agreements for the award of joint PhD degrees are negotiated and to be signed by the respective researcher and the two degree awarding universities. This is a major characteristic of a European Joint Doctorate as one of the aims of the European Union funding is the advancement of sustainable cooperation structures for PhD training within Europe.

For the following weeks and months, the coordination team in Bochum together with the hosting ADAPTED partner will plan for the second annual meeting which is planned to take place in the Netherlands. Further network-wide training activities, guidelines on data management and research ethics are also on their way.

Additionally, the ADAPTED website is thriving now featuring a regularly updated news section and publication list. The news section reports on activities of ESRs, ADAPTED events and network-wide trainings or external events of interest for everyone working on poverty reduction and social protection. Furthermore, relevant new publications of ADAPTED consortium members are listed in the section "Publications and Conferences."

During the last months, the “People” section was continuously taking shape now featuring personal profile pages for almost the entire consortium. All profile pages feature a short bio introducing the professional backgrounds, links to the host institution as well as an up-to-date photo.

europa flagThis project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 956909.

RahnSimon Rahn
ADAPTED Coordinator

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