Who exactly are LERU?
The League of European Research Universities (LERU) is an association of leading European research-intensive universities that share the values of high-quality teaching within an environment of internationally competitive research.
Founded in 2002, LERU advocates education through an awareness of the frontiers of human understanding; the creation of new knowledge through basic research, which is the ultimate source of innovation in society; and the promotion of research across a broad front in partnership with industry and society at large.
Competition for a place was fierce
Earlier this year, I applied for a place in the LERU Summer School 2019 (https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=leru+summer+school+2019), which promised to give me the chance to learn about collaborations while collaborating with 50+ early-career researchers from around Europe. Selected after a university-wide competition, I gained a place on the summer school and waited expectantly for the date to arrive.
5 Days of my life
The social networking reception on the Sunday night allowed us to meet each other, talk about our respective research projects, and share our interests in collaborative research. That evening was hiding a fantastic range of future social events, but not only. It was also hiding the serious undertaking, and probably very optimistic goal, of delivering a collaboration guide by early-career researchers for early-career researchers…
On Monday morning, as for most mornings during the summer school, we were introduced to a variety of researchers and professional staff speaking about their experiences and anecdotes of participating in collaborative research. Afternoons were reserved for working on the guide itself.
Prior to the summer school, we had all been asked to interview senior researchers in our universities and to gather their insights on interdisciplinary collaborations. This exercise gave us relevant data to draw from during our discussions and allowed us to gather best tips from experts.
The schedule was tight, but the organising team made a great job of keeping us focused, motivated and hard working. By Thursday, the first draft of our co-authored guide was in our hands for proofing! By Friday, the guide was ready for presentation to the LERU Secretary-General.
And yes, there was cake to celebrate the successful completion of the guide and the ending of the summer school.
A happy ending
Following our summer school experience, most of us are still in touch and proud to form a global network of researchers who will continue to collaborate in the future.
Research Collaborations is a guide for early career researchers and is freely available to all from https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/35942.
More blogs on our collaborative week can be found here (July 2019 posts): https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/iad4researchers/author/sshinto2/.