KTU PhD Summer School – laying foundation for successful research careers

Important | 2023-09-18

While summer is a time of holiday and rest for many, PhD students opted to take part in the international Summer School organised by the Doctoral School of Kaunas University of Technology (KTU). The event focused on developing the general competences of researchers.

This year in July, after a few years break, the Summer School welcomed young scientists back to Palanga, where, next to developing additional competencies, they had the opportunity to build intercultural relations and relax.

Additional skills for a successful career in research

Apart from subject knowledge and research, other competencies are equally important enabling a successful start and development of a research career.

Participants of the Summer School had a chance to listen to professionals from Lithuania and abroad speaking about science communication, open and fair science, science funding, resilience to stress and burnout, and about research career planning.

KTU PhD Summer School
KTU PhD Summer School

“The development of general skills of doctoral students, with the help of international field experts, is particularly important for growing students’ competencies, which are necessary for their independent scientific and creative work, for the successful preparation and defense of their dissertations, and for their future careers”, says KTU Vice-Rector for Science and Innovation, Associate Professor Dr Leonas Balaševičius.

Networking and international relations

KTU PhD Summer School
KTU PhD Summer School

This Summer School brought together students not only from the whole world but also from different scientific disciplines, as the topics and skills covered are relevant to researchers from all fields.

“The most interesting thing was that the topics were equally relevant to all of us, even though we were from completely different scientific fields”, says Simas Mačionis, a PhD student at KTU.

“Despite the fact that both the participants and the lecturers represented different fields, different universities, and different countries, they were all very close and had a lot of common topics to discuss”, adds Vilija Šatienė, KTU Doctoral School Coordinator.

The seventh PhD Summer School was also surprising not only because of the large number of students representing different fields of study, but also different countries around the world – half of the participants came from countries such as Latvia, Estonia, Greece, Croatia, France, Germany, Poland, Finland, Norway, USA, Canada, Philippines, Netherlands, Sweden, and USA.

“Networking is a very important part of this PhD Summer School. On the first evening, most of the participants and the organisers, together with the lecturers, joined a reception dinner, where they tried Lithuanian dishes, got to know each other better, and broke the ice for further networking throughout the week”, says Šatienė.

KTU PhD Summer School
KTU PhD Summer School

The participants particularly appreciate the possibility to foster international relations: “This summer school is a great opportunity to learn new things, to learn more about certain topics, but at the same time, it is an invaluable opportunity to meet new people, to get to know your peers, and to find out about how doctoral studies are carried out in other universities”, recalls Panagiota Polymeropoulou, a participant from Greece.

Work and leisure balance

The setting of the Summer School – Palanga – also allowed the participants to take a break and enjoy the seaside nature and summer weather alongside their learning activities.

The students had the opportunity to take a guided walk around Palanga, to learn about its history, and to find out about the importance of amber in Lithuanian history.

“The seaside was chosen because it gives the participants the opportunity to spend their free time in fun and interesting ways, to socialise while visiting the beach, riding bicycles, and to introduce Lithuania to foreigners”, says Šatienė, the event coordinator.