We did it despite all the challenges!


The 4th network training event took place in Stockholm in the beginning of March 2020. Ph.D. students arrived already on Friday and started with the presentation technique workshop. What a contrast since the first meeting! The level of confidence and proficiency has substantially improved. The results and first publications were impressive. It was pure enjoyment to witness how the new researchers mature. As a bonus, the students got their personalities classified by the trainer, Jean-Luc Dupont. It made a lot of sense!

The Monday program was occupied with Project Management skills training. Joakim Lilliesköld and Martin Bäcklund navigated the students through the science of using SCRUM for effective project management. It became very convincing when the first example was the Minecraft, a single-man start-up wining by a knock-down over a large LEGO corporation by utilizing the right approach in unleashing the product to the market.

Later this day, the students practiced the main principle of SCRUM though building their products. There was no limit for creativity and imagination. The products were officially handed over to the product owners. It a lot of findings to take with for this relatively short exercise!

Tuesday was the showtime for the trained students. The revised and orchestrated presentations were reviewed, commented, and discussed. It was a good lesson – speaking in a large auditorium makes a difference. Therefore, being mentally prepared to talk in such an environment is an essential thing to be considered. It will be only better with time and training!

On Wednesday, the students had the peer-reviewed session polishing their manuscripts with the help of their fellows while the work package leaders summarized the main findings related to the work packages in just 10 minutes! How many slides can you show? It was a useful practice of famous quote “If I Am To Speak Ten Minutes, I Need a Week for Preparation; If an Hour, I Am Ready Now”, attributed to multiple people as many other good pearls of wisdom!

On Thursday, we started with a technical presentation related to the very topic of the workshop – “Multi-physics modeling of bio-based fiber products”. We kick off with molecular-level modeling presented by Malin Wohlert and went up to the fiber scale with Artem Kulachenko.

The second half of the day was taken by the fascinating discussion on the use of the forest as a resource. Are we doing the best we can with it in the era of global warming? Staffan Laestadius and Bengt Hylander guided the students and provoked an inspiring discussion.

On Friday, we continued going up the scale ladder and arrived at the continuum level with Sören Östlund. We closed the presentations with Stefan Lindström showing his work on multiphase flows applied to papermaking.

The final accord of the meeting was the company’s presentation about the carrier opportunities in the pulp&paper and packaging industry. Leif Robertsén from Kemira, Christophe Barbier from BillerudKorsnäs and Johan Tryding from TetraPak gave the overview of their typical working day, challenges and possibilities.

We are really happy we could realize the promise and deliver an event with a good mix of educational and scientific content. We solved the technical issues and got everyone on board including those who abstained from traveling. Most importantly, no one got sick! Perhaps, this is the utmost important outcome in this turbulent time.

We look forward to the next event in Espoo, Finland! Hopefully, it will not be all-digital.
















Artem Kulachenko, Professor

Solid Mechanics, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)