The week offered a variety of engaging activities with the aim of being both inspiring and applicable to the doctoral students' own projects. This was done not only to deepen their scientific knowledge within the field of material physics but also to enhance their own presentation skills, allowing them to market themselves and their research effectively.
For instance, Fredrik Lindsten delivered a lecture on "Machine learning for researchers." Shwetha Agarwala from Denmark provided an inspirational talk on "Printed electronics as a technology for the future." Other lectures included "Why neutrons for material characterization" by Premak Beran, Cultural Intelligence by Rozalyn Simon, and "Batteries present and future outlook!" by Therese Eriksson.
Therese Eriksson Batteries Sweden Photo credit Carina Stahre Therese, who works with Batteries Sweden and the Swedish Electromobility Centre, often organizes conferences and seminars for researchers and doctoral students. Getting the opportunity to lecture in Vadstena within her specialized field was an enjoyable task for her. According to Therese, the doctoral students were welcoming and interested, asking insightful questions even later in the evening.
"I hope the doctoral students gained something from my presentation and learned something new about today's and tomorrow's battery chemistry. If their interest in batteries didn't exist before, I hope it does now."
During the conference, creative workshops were also conducted, where participants had the opportunity to learn new skills and test their ideas in practice with the theme "Scientific Visualization Session." However, the highlight and a crucial part of the conference were the doctoral students' own presentations about their research. Participants expressed a significant interest in gaining insights into their colleagues' work and the opportunity to share their projects with each other.
Hari Hara Sudhan Thangavelu och Hector Guerra Yanez, Agora conferencePhoto credit Carina StahreHari Hara Sudhan Thangavelu and Hector Guerra Yanez were this year's hosts for the Agora conference. Hector mentioned that they found the role interesting and enriching because it required a certain level of organizational effort. They both felt that the reception from the other doctoral students was positive, and most were very enthusiastic about participating. They chose Vadstena because they found it to be a nature-rich location where they could balance closeness to the university with conducive learning environments, all while offering a rich historical backdrop. Hari also emphasized the hope of building networks among the doctoral students, either by assisting each other with research or by creating and maintaining friendships during their studies.
"We believe that the conference is very important because doctoral students get to know each other and learn about what others are working on or researching. This remains a great place to build collaboration and support each other."
In summary, it can be concluded that Agora's annual conference in 2023 was a successful and rewarding event for the doctoral students at Linköping University. Over the three intense days in Vadstena, the conference offered a variety of activities, with the doctoral students' own research presentations being the highlight. It provided a platform where colleagues could support each other in the sometimes challenging doctoral environment. By attracting invited speakers who shared their expertise, Agora contributed to a meaningful and enriching experience for all participants. The conference continued to strengthen the community within the research school and encouraged the exchange of knowledge and ideas, which will benefit the doctoral students' future work in materials science and related fields.
Agora Materiae summer conference 2023 Photo credit Carina Stahre