Instituto Superior Técnico

Observatório de Boas Práticas do IST

Safely CERIS Day Out 2020 during COVID19

12 de outubro, 2021

Investigação, Desenvolvimento e Inovação● 2021

Ceris  Day Out Organizing Committee

Implementação da Prática

CERIS Day Out, has been a recurring event that brings together PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and professors of CERIS (Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability). Due to the current pandemic situation, the program of the event has been very different from previous editions, nevertheless the core activities have remained the same: (i) team building activities; (ii) oral presentations of on-going research; (iii) other activities that provide helpful information’s and tools to the execution of on going research by the students.

For the new members of CERIS this event is usually their first contact with different researchers from the six research groups at CERIS, related with different fields in Civil Engineering.

The first edition of this event took place in October 2017, and as been occurring ever since. The fourth and latest edition of this event took place on October 7th, 2020, in Cascais. The event program, during pandemic COVID19, had to be rethought and very different form previous versions, and comprised several leisure activities, as well as work focused activities to promote and share the knowledge of the participants, which balance was considered very healthy (see activities in the result section).

From the members of CERIS, a total of 8 elements were selected to form the organizing committee. These members were from different investigation areas and at different research stages (PhD students, post doctoral investigators and a CERIS board member).

For the latest edition approximately 3.509,28€   were allocated (financed by FCT and included in the CERIS 2020 budget), which included transportation, meals and all the outdoors activities during one day.

For the organizing committee, this event was a complex exercise in logistics, given the pandemic situation and the type of activities (new ideas, handling of resources for all participants, time management, health measures, among others).

Resultados Alcançados

The objective of this event is to promote the interaction and diminish the isolation between the center’s young researchers, by enhancing the team spirit, promote activities between the members, transfer knowledge between different areas of research, promote co-operation, and build the CERIS identity in the IST community. See the short film (

In the latest edition, all of our usual schedule had to be reconsidered, and a decision was made to ensure that all the activities were taken outdoors, and without contact between the participants. To each of the participants a personal “health kit” was offered, that included a face mask and an gel-alcoholic solution. The event occurred only one day instead two days to avoid accommodation.

There were two types of activities to consider. The leisure activities included tree climbing and target shooting. The work focused activities included some PhD students and post doctoral investigators, presented their research in a short and informative “5 minute pitch”.

Due to the current situation, and in order to maintain the social distancing, we were forced to restrict the number of participants, in total 40 participants and 8 professors attended this years event, representing 7 nationalities, which allowed for participants of various nationalities and research topics to take part in the promotion of a positive work environment. Overall, PhD students and postdoctoral researchers were very satisfied with the event, as shown by the results of the feedback survey delivered(

Even though it was a very positive event, the level of satisfaction in comparison to previous editions, remained the same, which reflected the effort that was made to adapt our event to the current situation.

For the Organizing Committee and several other attendees, the best outcome was the noticeable increase in interaction between the young research community of CERIS, which is a key-factor in the development of a strong scientific community at IST.

Avaliação e Monitorização

The evaluation of the event quality has been carried out through a feedback survey, after the occurrence of each of the four editions, and assessed the participants opinion on several aspects, such as: (i) relevance on the promotion of such events; (ii) overall assessment of the event; (iii) relevance of the event for current work; (iv) relevance for meeting colleagues; (v) event structure; (vi) event duration (vii) work-leisure balance (vii) event organization (viii) favorite/least favorite moment; (ix) relevance of the students and expert talks; (x) adequacy of the venue and (xi) willingness to attend next editions of the event.

The evaluation questionnaire has been a crucial indicator of every edition of the event and has been done ever since the first edition. This questionnaire allows for each organizing committee, to assess what were the positive and negative feedback of each of the activities.

In this edition, with respect to the previous edition, the answers were overall even more positive, and the survey was answered by 40% of all participants.

The favorite moments were the Tree Climbing (56.3%) and Target Shooting (37.5%). The least favorite moment was the Horseback Ridding (25.0%). The majority of the participants considered excellent the event structure and very high relevance for meeting colleagues. Everyone said they would not miss the next event in 2021.

Carácter Inovador e Transferibilidade

The event was created in order to promote interaction between the very numerous young researchers at CERIS. In its core, the event is based on a set of activities focused on team building and knowledge transfer, which can undoubtedly be replicated by CERIS and also by the several other IST-based research centers.

Its innovative character stems from the fact that the nature of the event allows for a simultaneous investment in several aspects which add value to both CERIS and IST, namely communication, personal interaction, development of social skills, spreading of ideas and knowledge and strengthening of a common identity within research community.

In the 2020 edition the organizing committee got acquired some sponsors, enriching the team-building activities, with reusable bags and tshirts (Rothoblaas), pencils and notebooks (Centro de Informação Geoespacial do Exército), water bottles (Luso), cereal bars (Nestlé – Fitness), and coffee (Delta).

This event has been disseminated in CERIS Newsletter, and on CERIS Web page ( for the IST community and to the public in general. CERIS Day Out/CERIS Open Day can have a strong link with the IST Open Day and with other initiative from other IST research units.

A benchmark can be done to discuss the activities that lead to a better results and  some synergies can be made between IST research centers.

It is intention this year to improve the communication of CERIS through the social media, with strong link with IST communication group. Therefore the this annual event can contribute to improve and enrich the communication at IST community and to other higher education entities.


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