Expectations: Terhi Ravaska


Finnish participant Terhi Ravaska on her thoughts going into #LindauEcon14.

The Lindau meeting is a fantastic venue for researchers of different experience to meet and discuss current topics in economics. The newbie PhD students, young post docs and the prestigious Nobel Laureates gather to interact and to learn from each other. In this blog post I would like to elaborate on the importance of these kinds of meetings, especially from the point of view of a young researcher.

Naturally, staying up to date with what other researchers are doing is an important part of research throughout one’s career. This is especially true for PhD students, who spend enormous amounts of time reading the works of others. I bet the most desired extra resource for us students is time. There are of course the thick study books that help us understand the core of different topics, the piles of journal articles we want to go through, even if the topics are only somewhat related to what we do in our own research, and then there are the more popular types of texts from newspapers and blogs that bridge the gap between science and policy. Naturally, reading the previous work inspires and teaches students in their own research but it also raises questions of whether they can similarly bring something interesting and as skillful to the field.

Among others, James Mirrlees will be at #LindauEcon14. Photo: C. Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Among others, James Mirrlees will be at #LindauEcon14. Photo: C. Flemming/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Another important aspect in the life of a young researcher is the support from other PhD students. Some of my friends beyond academia have the impression that working in university is relaxed, with flexible hours and the occasional heavy studying or working right before the deadlines. I guess this reflects their own memories of studying, but among the PhD students we often joke of camping in our offices at the university because going home sometimes seems so pointless. It is always comforting to see a light in another student’s room way after the office hours and to know that you are not the only one pulling the long hours.

It should be self-evident that every PhD student should have dedicated supervisors or other ways of staying in touch with the more experienced researchers to avoid drifting too far from one’s targets. The support and feedback from seniors is key to obtaining quality research papers and successful researchers. But I also think that it is fruitful for the senior researcher to have a connection to the younger researcher cohort. I am not only talking about the research assistance they can provide but also about the new ways in which they can interpret society and develop the discipline further. The Lindau meetings are a great venue for this.

Also highly anticipated: Joseph Stiglitz. Photo: R. Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

Also highly anticipated: Joseph Stiglitz. Photo: R. Schultes/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

The Lindau meetings are a remarkable opportunity to meet other young researchers and hopefully build a lifelong network of support and knowledge sharing. It is also a place to learn from those who are the most prestigious in the field of economics. In the meeting I expect to have a dynamic conversation between the Nobel Laureates and the participants, so I encourage everyone to take part in the discussion. Despite being at a forum for science we shouldn’t forget also being relevant to policy – I am looking forward to hear a lot of research applications interpreting the current economic situation. All in all, I expect the Lindau meeting to broaden the views over science and society, and to provide lessons that we can take home into our own research.

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