International PhD seminar in Kalmar

For three days, June 10-12, the Linnaeus University in Kalmar is, for the first time, the host for an international PhD seminar. The interest from PhD students from all over the world was so great that they had to expand from two to three tracks. 

  The Kalmar Maritime Academy.

Cecilia Österman, senior researcher at the Linnaeus University is one of the initiators of the seminar.

How did you come up with the idea for the seminar?
We have a long tradition of maritime education here in Kalmar, but the research at our department has a much shorter history. The reason for the seminar is to give our PhD students a good start in their careers. Normally at conferences you get your fifteen minutes of fame. During that time you shall present your paper and answer a few questions and that’s it. In our seminar we wanted to create a good environment where the PhD students will get the time to discuss their research and get feedback more in-depth. We want to create a more intimate and safe learning environment.

How do you create this safe learning environment?
Every PhD student gets 45 minutes to present their research. It doesn’t have to be a completed publication, but rather a work in progress. We want the participants to help each other to write even better papers. Many of the PhD students have sent in questions that they want to discuss with the others and in every track there are seven PhD students and at least four senior researchers. All have read each other’s papers and every PhD student will have one senior researcher that will give advices for their paper and inspire. This seminar is like a researcher’s tool box.

What is your main focus of the seminar?
Maritime science is our overhead focus. In the beginning we had two tracks, maritime human factors and organisation and maritime environment. But we were overwhelmed by the great response from all over the world, so we created one more track. We could have created even more tracks, but we still wanted to keep the quality and we didn’t want to reduce the time for each PhD student. We call the third track marine and ship technology. The registration is now closed and the seminar is full. 20 PhD students and 14 senior researchers from all over the world will come and also a few keynote speakers that will coach the PhD students in the practical aspects of being a researcher like how to apply for funding and strategies for disseminating research findings etcetera.

Do you think this will become a tradition?
We hope so. If not every year maybe every other year. We have good relations to other shipping academies around the Baltic Sea so perhaps the seminar could be held somewhere else next time.  We are open for this, but if not, we will keep on doing it ourselves.

The Stena Lines president Carl-Johan Hagman will open the seminar and talk about the importance of maritime research and Åsa Burman, director at Lighthouse, will give the closing speech.

Text: Mats Tiborn