Travelling from east to west to pursue my dream of Ph.D. has become one of the most monumental decision of life. With several questions in my head, few answered and few unanswered, with initial anxiety I set my journey to Finland. From the land of sand to the land of a thousand lakes, from the land of golden sun to the land of a midnight sun ….!
Being a part of this exuberant research group “Plastics and Elastomer Technology” in the Laboratory of material science-Tampere University is definitely a matter of pride. The group consists of 25 researchers hailing from more than 10 different countries headed by 3 dynamic faculties. The group has skilled researchers in the field of modelling, characterization, polymer chemistry and polymer Physics. As it is a perfect international and multicultural group, I was well accepted with open arms which answered most of the unanswered questions before moving to Finland. But that’s not all….! There are some interesting factors about our group which keeps us full of synergy and positive mindset. Monthly group meetings, YES YES events, Science Meets, timely SCRUM-SPRINT and group dinners are few key factors leveraging every researcher in the group to engage, socialize and personally develop oneself.
“Failure is detour, not a dead-end street”-Zig Ziglar. There are moments during PhD wherein you feel downfallen, stressed and filled with negative feelings. The group organizes YESYES (JEES-JEES in Finnish) for every term. This is an amazing meet where the entire group meets at a unique venue, wherein all the negative thoughts are written down and flushed out. A strategy is derived for an individual person while peer support and positive atmosphere is created in the group. It ascends a person from negativity to an amalgamation of highest positive mindset with a well-defined strategy. I had an amazing experience this autumn in YESYES. After the meet it was quite indicative that everyone had a positive mindset and came out with a big YES……! A big shout out, to organizer Mikko Kanerva who has his own passion hypothesis for YESYES.
Monthly group meetings encourages one to meet other research members of the group and helps to understand the group strategy and progress. Real time updates on research projects, status of publications and individual concerns are discussed. It starts with group breakfast followed by meet. A demo session on different experimental apparatus for the entire group is also initiated, which gives an insight to every researcher on the available experimental setups and possible usage in future.
If at any point of time you need a paradigm shift in work, not by push but by pull, then Scrum Sprint is the right process. With the backbone of Scrum methodology, a work cycle named Sprint is created and limited it to a week for completion. Incomplete task remains a backlog but no changes for the sprint goal is made for that entire week. The group holds Scrum Sprint once in every 3 months with the Sprint task being defined at the start of the work-week. Scrum Master monitors the entire process. Article writing, project completion, report writing etc are the usual tasks taken up by researchers. The outcome has a tremendous impact on the researchers at the end of the week.
And not to forget the group dinners wherein one gets an opportunity to taste the delicacy of different countries. It’s also a time for researchers and their spouses to meet as one family. This also has a very good psychological positive impact on the researcher. This package of scientific knowledge, team work, unification in diverse culture and a positive impact on researcher is definitely a gift to every individual researcher of the group. Every workday in the morning indeed starts with a big smile which lasts till the end of the day. Overall it was a wonderful kick start at Tampere University and it wouldn’t be wrong if I define my group with a single caption “Research with smile @ MUO group”.
Team photo at YESYES meet
ESR3 - Tampere University