Academy of Finland released a report on the state of scientific research in Finland in 2012 and one of the main concerns – according to the report, at least – was the declining research mobility from Finland. People do visit Finnish universities, but for some reason scholars in Finland (NB not only Finns, but scholars in Finnish universities in general) do not seem to visit their colleagues and establish new connections abroad.
One of the explanations for this was that people don’t have to travel so much anymore because we can keep in touch with each other through email, Facebook, and Skype to name some examples. (if anyone can remember who said this and provide me with a link, I’d highly appreciate that!)
Well, I’ll say fuck that.
One does not simply get inspiration for new research and enhance their creativity by staying in one place. Especially from the multisensory knowledge perspective it is important to exercise all senses, not just sight and hearing. When I was walking to the university from my home earlier today I could not only see and hear the city, but also smell and feel it (didn’t taste though…). While these sensory feelings do not write any papers for you, at least they give you the possibility of stepping back and reflecting on your work. At least that works for me!
So what’s my main argument here? Researchers in Finland – go abroad! You don’t get to do exciting research by only sitting in your dungeon. Opportunities don’t come knocking on your door, you’ll have to look for them! (I know this is a horrible cliché, but it gets the job done here)
And especially in terms of PhD students/candidates, if your supervisor is an old geezer or a bit absent-minded find other people who can encourage you to go abroad. It’s really simple, actually. But you just need to see the relevance for yourself.
Finally, had I not left my home university during my PhD studies I wouldn’t have seen this view:
Have a nice day where ever you are, and remember to exit your comfort zone every once in a while!