Marija Stipic (ESR 14/ AVL) was member of a rowing crew as an undergraduate and master’s student. Rowing is still her hobby, and this year she participated again in the rowing regatta event that was organized by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture of the University of Zagreb. But this time she participated as a Marie-Curie Fellow and Marie-Curie Ambassador.
“I wanted to inform the university students about the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, and to motivate them to pursue research related career. I also wanted to present my research topic.”
On the 10th of October 2020, eleven Faculties from University of Zagreb, University of Split and University of Slavonski Brod competed in seven different races. Marija participated in the woman’s eighth race with her former faculty rowing crew. The whole crew (8 girls and the coxswain) wore t-shirts with the EDEM logo and the motto “Fuel efficiency”, which is related to the EDEM’s research objectives. A nice way to attract the attention of the audience!
Approximately 500 young students, freshmen at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, together with faculty professors, deans and the rector of the University of Zagreb attended the event. Compared to previous years, the audience was not big, due to restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Still, it was big enough for a meaningful outreach activity. There were also a few friends and parents of the competitors in the audience.
After the race, Marija delivered a speech addressing the students. The rest of her crew and a few professors were standing close to her. “Their presence made it considerably easier for me to overcome my fear of public speaking.”
Marija received a very positive feedback from her audience and was invited to participate in the event as a Marie-Curie Ambassador next year as well. She also received a lot of questions from the students and staff.
“Since the common practice for conducting a PhD in Croatia is that the PhD student is employed at the faculty as an assistant to their supervisor, the question that was often asked by the students was: how is it possible that you are enrolled to the PhD program in Munich, but you live in Graz? This was not clear to them, because they thought that even PhD students must attend classes. Furthermore, they were interested in how the collaboration between ESRs works, what are our individual tasks, who are other beneficiaries (academic and non-academic) participating in the EDEM project, how to apply for the Marie Curie Fellowship, some of them had never heard of AVL or of computational fluid dynamics, so they wanted to know more about the company and CFD. Mostly professors, but also a few older students, were interested in tools (experimental and computational) we are using, also they wanted to know more about the scientific background of my project, and how our project and my personal work is influenced by the Covid-19 situation.”
To implement this activity, Marija had to learn how to write a speech and how to perform in front of a large audience. She enjoyed the development of her communication skills, and her new role among the university staff; she was not a student anymore, she was a colleague, and she was treated like one. But, above all, she enjoyed her presence in the event as a role model.
“Knowing that I conveyed an inspiring and informative message to the students made me realize that I am in the position to motivate others, and their positive feedback on my speech made me feel special. One of my dearest moments was when a few girls from my team told me that I am really inspiring them and that they would like to follow my path after the graduation.”
Emissions? No way!
Date: 1 September 2018
Location: Slavonski Brod, Croatia
Audience: general public
Look at the t-shirt of the IPPAD research fellow Mijo Tvrdojevic (ESR 15). On the front side you can read: Emissions? No way! And on the back side: Powered by IPPAD.
Mijo, who has been recruited by AVL and enrolled to CITY, University London for his PhD, has found a unique way to inform the general public about the research conducted in the IPPAD project on the reduction of soot emissions from Diesel engines. He combined his passion for scientific research with his passion for cycling and he participated in the Breveto cycling marathon wearing this t-shirt to draw the attention of the present audience. Did it work?
Yes, it did! He managed to talk to a lot of people not only about the research objectives of IPPAD but also about the benefits of the EU research funding programmes. Find out how by reading the ESR’s journal. It will give you an insight into the life of a cyclist who also happens to be a dedicated researcher.
Sailing towards a better future
How does the Covid-19 pandemic influence the way a PhD student implements an outreach activity? How can one interact with people to talk about the research objectives of his project, when everyone is reluctant to be close to strangers out of the fear of infection?
Matteo Calabresi (ESR 8/ AVL) decided to approach people by the sea!
It was his love for sailing that inspired him. And the thought that an in-person interaction among people with similar interests would have a stronger impact. He wanted to let people know why the EDEM research is needed, what are the benefits for the public and to make the EU funding visible.
As an EDEM ESR, Matteo is highly interested in technological innovation that solves environmental challenges. But he is also interested in his own environmental impact, an interest that is common for the audience he chose to address: sailors who use the wind as a source of energy or eco-friendly solutions, like photovoltaic systems and wind turbines.
As Matteo states, “I think that to question our lifestyle and try to reduce our individual energy consumption, could lead to a global change of behaviour. In the case of a cruise on a sailboat, even primary needs sources are limited and must be carefully monitored. This forces the sailors to be more self-aware and to give up some comforts, outweighed by a closer connection with nature and its gifts.
In this regard, I decided to take the opportunity of a cruise organized by my parents in our sailboat “Pura Vida” across the Mediterranean Sea trying to find several different ways to raise this awareness. Additionally, I thought that this audience will be more open to understand the impact of the EDEM research on the environment. Armed with a flag, t-shirts and some stickers, I sailed from Sicily to Naples, witnessing and reporting the benefits of such a lifestyle, collecting other sailors’ experiences, and promoting the EDEM project.”
So, Matteo chose an EU EDEM flag as his courtesy flag. The crew of Pura Vida wore EDEM T-Shirts. That triggered the curiosity of other sailors or of the people that worked in the marinas and gave Matteo the opportunity to talk with them. He was even invited for coffee to explain the story behind the EDEM flag!
But overall, he had to be patient, because the pandemic of Covid-19 was still a big concern in the region. Still, he did not give up. In some cases, he approached the crew of a boat by swimming… and then he started a conversation!
“85% of the people I talked to, did not know anything about duel – fuel engines and none of them had heard anything about our project. But they felt somehow reassured by the effort given towards such direction. And this reaction was precious to me.
I also had the opportunity to underline my habits that are energy-wasting and hurtful for the planet; I had the lucky chance to remind me what we are risking to lose if we do not change our lifestyles, I could estimate and finally have an idea on how polluting are some behaviors that I took for granted, I could discuss with several people and sailors, all having unique experiences and sensitivities, but all feeling in various ways their connection to the sea and to the nature itself and being willing to give up diverse things so that our planet has a future. A better future.”
What places did Matteo visit? What were the Pura Vida performances? How satisfied was the young researcher with the ecological footprint of his boat?