My Participation at a Cozy Academic Event


Ph.D. Open Days 2020

Published on October 28, 2020 by

personal academic

3 min READ

Hello All 👋,

OK, so I participated at PhD Open Days, where the official description is “ major opportunity for more than one thousand Ph.D. students to socialize and share their research with the rest of the academic community, companies, and alumni.” True, it looks formal, but appearances can be deceptive - people were very friendly, providing good feedback, and open to bond.

Why attend such events?

One of the motivations for participating was to showcase my recent work to other Ph.D. students in a video-poster format. Strangely enough (or not), I still feel that almost nobody checked that work (not including you, Nélio, Francisco, and Elcelina 🙂). The simple, high-level 5-minute video poster took several hours to make and to record. Fortunately, it was done with the 80/20 rule - it is far from perfect, but it is decent considering the time invested.

In two sentences, my work is called Self-Sovereign Identity Access Control, and it aims to protect your privacy by allowing you to choose the information you disclose to companies. One is enough, after all 😀.

The talks were interesting and given by some really big names: I attended Nuno Malide’s talk about his work and Paulo Ferrão’s views on the alliance between science and environmentalism. There were workshops as well:

Workshop 1: Some reflections about the publication of papers in international journals

João Ramôa Correia and Jorge de Brito talked about how to publish papers effectively. Curiously, I attended a workshop from João Correia two years ago on how to write a master thesis. That turned out to be quite useful - and I remember that working on the thesis regularly and annotating papers were quite good advice. Thanks, João.

This workshop had tons of incredibly useful advice, but very general, so to speak. It is hard to advise on these topics when you are from different research areas and have nothing in concrete to work with. However, I took quality over quantity, which I am aiming at.

Fortunately, most advice I’ve heard from my advisors, André and Miguel, that take the burden of reading my drafts. 😁

Workshop 2: Science Communication for Researchers

Joana Antunes, who conducted the workshop, has a natural gift at communicating (fortunately, right?).

Main takeaways: if you communicate your research, people can relate to it, and you can have a quicker impact. This includes a few steps from you:

  1. Spend some time breaking your work into an understandable piece to a general audience. This is very important because obviously, people are not experts in your field. Just think a bit: if your university colleagues, Ph.D. friends, and even your professors sometimes have no idea what are you talking about, how should people who are not even into computer science understand?

  2. Take the effort to publicize your work. Reach out to the communication channels from your university or research unit if you are a Ph.D. student. You can also use social media, blogging, or even vlogging to achieve those purposes.

Key Takeaways

  1. If you don’t publicize your work, nobody is going to do it for you
  2. Adapt your speech to the people you are talking to

Cheers ✌️,

–rafael