MODEST meeting in London and Riga

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  1. MODEST project meeting in London

MODEST project meeting in London, UK, in 1.-2.7.2019 was organized by Brunel University. Brunel University is situated in West London near Heathrow airport. It has three colleges: College of Business, Arts and Social Sciences, College of Engineering, Design and Physical Science, College of Health and Life Science. The campus of the university is truly a campus, as all the teaching is organized there and many students live on the campus.

On Monday we learned about graduation education in UK and at Brunel University. The UK system is in some parts quite different from our system (maximum duration of studies, tuition fees, viva). At Brunel, they have also a rigorous system (with e-tools) for the supervision of doctoral education, which is something that we are implementing at out university. We also heard a presentation about PRES, a national survey for postgraduate students. The data from the survey can help universities to learn about their strengths and to improve. After the presentations we had dinner in restaurant near the campus.

On Tuesday we started with a presentation from a doctoral candidate. We also had a presentation about the education system in Armenia. The rest of the day we focused on the practical things of project. We talked about web learning platforms (WP4) and the survey on existing soft skills training in partner universities. Two learning platforms (Moodle, Google Classroom) were the most popular ones, but they need to be researched more. We postponed the decision about the platform to the meeting in Krakow. Also more data about the existing soft skills modules is needed and we decided to send it to the academic staff of our institutes after summer holiday.

On Monday and Tuesday we had also training in soft skills: How to write a high impact research paper and 3 minute thesis.

2. MODEST project meeting in Riga

MODEST project meeting in Riga, Latvia, in 19.-21.6.2019 was organized by the University of Latvia. University of Latvia is the largest university and the leading education institute in the country.

The welcome meeting on Wednesday June 19 was organized at the main building of the university. The rest of the meeting was organized in House of Science, which is on the new campus of the university.

On Wednesday, we had a welcome event and an excursion to the museum of the University of Latvia. On Thursday, we learned about doctoral education in Latvia and in the University of Latvia and similar Erasmus projects. The doctoral education system in Latvia seems to be somewhat similar to our system and the Ministry of education is at the moment developing the education system to be more in line with the European standards. We also heard a presentation from the Association of Young Latvian Scientists. In Latvia, there seems to be similar issues, which we have in Finland, namely the funding of doctoral studies and supervision.

In addition the presentations, we also had an interactive presentation about the importance of soft skills training in doctoral education and how it can help doctoral candidates to learn important skills needed in the future. During this presentation, we got to practice how to make an elevator pitch ourselves. After the presentations, we visited the new campus and had a traditional Latvian midsummer celebrations on Doles Sala.

On the final day of the meeting, on Friday, we heard a presentation about the education system in Russia. In Russia, doctoral education seems to be quite different from the Finnish system. We also discussed about administrative issues, in particular about the forms required by EU (travel report, staff cost report). Other administrative issues were decided to postpone to be discussed in London and Krakow, so we ended the meeting after lunch.

Text by Sini Karppinen, INAR, University of Helsinki

Cover image: Pexel

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