The foRMAtion project has reached a new milestone last week. The project team was finally able to organize the Seasonal School, an international short-term mobility programme for university students. The host, ISINNOVA, an independent research institute based in Rome and foRMAtion partner, opened its doors to 12 university students coming from Portugal, Hungary and Romania for an intensive 5-day learning event.
The main goal of this short-term mobility experience was to test the online learning materials with students and teachers from NOVA University Lisbon, Corvinus University Budapest and Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania. Besides the testing, the students were introduced to the RMA profession, learning about some of the main tasks of an RMA and developing skills in putting together a project proposal.
The Seasonal School lasted for five full days – from 1 to 5 April – of intense learning experiences, challenges, teamwork, with the eternal city as a backdrop.
As the partner responsible for hosting the event, the ISINNOVA team did a wonderful job in making the mobility programme a success.
In the classroom…
Before leaving for Rome, the students involved had interviewed research managers about their jobs, daily routine, important skills and competences, and reasons why they like their work. They created 1-page posters based on the interviews and shared them with each other at the opening session. Since the students came into the mobility program without preliminary knowledge about the RMA profession, this was an important step to prepare them for the actual Seasonal School.
5 days on the field in the eternal city…
The first day started with ice-breaking exercises; the foRMAtion project was presented and Cristina Oliveira (NOVA University – Portugal) talked about the different aspects of the RMA profession throughout the research life-cycle.
The following day students tested the gamification exercises from the online modules with Tiago Marques from SPI – Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação. They also learned about funding opportunities from Cristina Oliveira (NOVA University) and about the fundamentals of a project proposal from Éva Kőváriné Ignáth (Corvinus University Budapest).
On Day 3, Primoz Petek, from the Research Support Office of the Slovenian Forestry Institute, explained the basics of budgeting and, in the afternoon, Éva from Corvinus University briefed the students about science communication and dissemination. Four international student groups were formed and worked on their project proposal which they presented in a pitch competition.
The next morning ,two keynote speeches were delivered from Italian RMA experts: Danilo Aceto Zumbo (Tor Vergata University of Rome) talked about his journey to become a research manager and Francesca Mura (International Research Office of the University of Padova) described the workings of an international research office within a university setting.
The most exciting and challenging part of the Seasonal School was the pitch competition on Day 4. The four teams prepared presentations about a project proposal and attempted to convince the audience to “fund” their proposal. The students made excellent pitches and it was really difficult to establish a winner but, in the end, first place went to Team 4 (Mariana Nicolau – NOVA University of Lisbon, Fanni Dominika Török – Corvinus University of Budapest and Ibolya Vizeli – Sapientia University Transylvania).
On the last day, students summarized their experiences and gave their feedback on the Seasonal School and on the online learning materials. They also started to prepare their final assignment, which they will present at the end of April to the foRMAtion project team.
All in all, this was a very intense, innovative and challenging programme. Both the students and the foRMAtion team witnessed a steep learning curve during these five days and the whole team left Rome with new ideas, friendships and plans for the future.
As the foRMAtion team, we sure hope to meet these students later on as young RMA professionals and welcome them as our future colleagues. Good luck!
Our special thanks goes out to all foRMAtion teachers & experts involved and to the host (ISINNOVA) for their valuable contribution to the success of the event!