Ceris Open Day
27 of July, 2019
Research, Development and Innovation ● 2019
Ceris Open Day Organizing Committee
CERIS Open Day is an annual event that brings together PhD students and postdoctoral researchers of CERIS – Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability. The event programme is flexible, but can be thought of as a combination of team building activities, work presentations by the young researchers about ongoing research (oral and posters) , keynotes on a broad range of topics and other activities focused on providing helpful tools and information to the young research community.
The first edition of this activity took place on the 27th and 28th of October, 2017. The event started with several ice-breaker activities that promoted communication and interaction, followed by the several work presentations and keynotes, with with special focus on the lecture by Professor Filipe Duarte Santos regarding climate changes. There was also a presentation on scientific writing skills and publishing research work, followed by a round table discussion regarding the professional outlook for the postgraduate community. An after dinner informal activity was prepared, where participants were asked to present a 3 minute pitch on fictitious/unusual project proposals they had been working on during dinner, thus generating a relaxed and fun environment between co-workers.
The second edition of the CERIS Open Day was held at Vimeiro on October 23rd and 24th, 2018. The programme provided a healthy balance between work and leisure focused activities. There were some very interesting keynotes, namely “20 years of Science-Bases Entrepreneurship” by Nuno Arantes de Oliveira; “Society and Science: the challenges of a PhD”, by Ana Margarida Nunes de Almeida and “Is there fairy dust in research?”, by Cristina Gouveia. The team-building activities included a hike through Serra do Montejunto, followed by a community picnic lunch, an after-dinner quizz competition, disco night and a Peddy paper. To conclude, some PhD students were given the opportunity to divulge their research.
The objectives of this event were to promote the interaction between the center’s young researchers, enhance team spirit and communication, transfer knowledge regarding ongoing research, build the CERIS identify and provide orientation for research development.
In the two editions held so far, the results were very good. There was a very positive turnout 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 thrilled with the event, as shown through the results of a feedback survey delivered after each edition was completed. It should be noted that there was a higher level of satisfaction in the second edition, which reflected the improvements that had been suggested in the previous year regarding a stronger investment in the team-building activities.
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 building of a strong scientific community at IST.
Evaluation and Monitoring
The monitoring of the event quality was done through a satisfaction survey, which delved into several aspects such as (i) overall assessment of the event (ii) relevance of the event for current work (iii) relevance for meeting colleagues (iv) event structure (v) event duration (vi) work-leisure balance (vii) event organization (viii) adequacy of the venue and (viii) willingness to attend next editions of the event. It also provided an opportunity to suggest improvements to the event (many in line with the identification of favourite and least favourite moments).
In the first edition, the evaluation questionnaire was answered by 57 participants.
The favourite moments were the after-dinner session (29.8%) and the ice-breaker activities (19.3%). The least favourite moments were the keynotes (22.8%), the oral presentations (17.5%) and the dinner time (15.8%). Overall people indicated that further editions should be organized with an even higher focus on boosting the relationships and interactions among the numerous community of PhD students and postdoctoral researchers of CERIS, thus contributing to the identity of the unit.
In the second edition, the survey was answered by 48 participants
(http://ceris.pt/pdfs/Ceris_open_day_2018_Booklet.pdf). With respect to the previous edition, the answers were overall even more positive.
The favourite moments were the Peddy paper (34,6%) and the after-dinner quizz (19,2%). The least favourite moments were the disco night (19,2%) and the keynotes (15.4%).
Innovative Character and Transferability
The event was launched in order to promote interaction between the very numerous young researchers at CERIS. Essentially it consists of a set of activities focused on team building and knowledge transfer, which can undoubtedly be replicated by CERIS and also the several other IST-based research centres. It is a complex exercise in logistics, given the coordination of the venue, the activities (new ideas, handling of resources, time management, etc) and, in the case of CERIS, the numerous amount of participants.
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, spreading of ideas and knowledge and strengthening of a common identify.