Overheads is dedicated to current issues in research funding and policies from the perspective of research support.
It’s been one year and some months since Covid-19 took our traveling away, to quote a famous song by Sinead O’Connor. Little by little the academic world has awakened to the fact that the old days may never return – at least what comes to traveling for meetings and conferences. The pandemic will be over at some point, but other reasons, like climate change and meeting our sustainability targets, add pressure to reducing the amount of flight miles. So, it seems that what started as a temporary solution – organizing virtual events – might be here for good.
This leaves us with new challenges to solve. It’s easy to continue previous collaboration with international teams since you already know each other and might go years back. But what about renewal? What about younger scientists entering the era where they should start building their own connections? You cannot inherit everything from your seniors. There is a serious need to learn effective ways to make fruitful new connections in the numerous virtual events that we attend.
Many parties have started to host actual virtual Brokerage events and most of the virtual conferences and seminars already include networking sessions. Hand on your heart, honestly, what do you do when the networking session begins? Do you leave the meeting and keep a break? Or do you engage in active conversing with the event attendants and seek for potential new collaborators? If the answer for the latter is “Yes”, we congratulate you. That’s the way we should be doing no matter what career stage we are at.
If the idea of conversing with perfect strangers seems too awkward and makes you squirm, you are not alone. We are all new in those situations. There are, however, some tips that might make you more at ease:
Still feels wrong and difficult? Drop a line and let’s figure it out together!