Here's what some students had to say about their experience with a MATRIX-AMSI PhD student research symposium.
"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at MATRIX. Every since I came to Australia, I was mostly working on my reearch on my own along with my supervisor. I hardly got to meet other researchers in my field. MATRIX has provided an amazing platform to meet and learn about other areas of mathematics to which I can take motivation to improve my thinking horizons and to make better connections. Being surrounded by young researchers for a week has given me confidence to communicate my mathematics and learn about theirs in a very comfortable and flexible manner." Chandan Singh
“I was able to listen to interesting talks from different researchers and meet people within different areas in my field. The collaboration session was one of my favourites.”
“The actual concept of this symposium is nice.”
“It was wonderful that it was free and could bring together people from so many parts of the world.”
“This is good for us to develop our knowledge. Please keep it up!”
“Exposed me to a wider set of ideas.”
“It was helpful to see all the different kinds of projects happening in our field, and great to meet peers from around the world doing similar work.”
Research Symposium Organiser statements
The very fact that I was able to organise a research symposium was a valuable experience in and of itself. I’m very thankful for this experience to think through the many parts that make up a symposium and to develop some important non-technical skills (e.g. professionalism, liaising with stakeholders, planning, written communication, time management).
Collaboration and teamwork skills are crucial to be a successful mathematician. Organising this symposium was a valuable opportunity for me academically in being able to develop these skills. This was particularly within the context of the organisation committee in the planning phase of the project.
Without the call for interest from MATRIX, perhaps we would never think of organising an event like this. We believe that in the middle of the pandemic, PhD students are very disadvantaged in finding events to attend that are relevant to their research; thus, we took this opportunity to organise our symposium. Along the way, MATRIX provided support on various fronts, such as suggestion on the scope and timetable of our symposium, how to set up our registration form, organise a discussion session, and conduct the post-symposium survey. We believe the event was very well-received by participants and many have suggested a future version of the symposium.
We know that a number of students from different institutions were able to connect with each other thanks to the symposium. There have been some informal benefits of the symposium, including participants being invited to present their work again at other events.
Without the support of MATRIX and AMSI, (GT)^2 would not have had the reach and impact we achieved in Semester 1. Due to the success of semester 1, we have decided to continue the series in Semester 2.
We have had an extremely positive experience with the MATRIX-AMSI PhD Student Symposia and believe future students could benefit from it too. This opportunity has been a great learning experience for the three of us, and the skills you have helped us develop are invaluable to our future academic endeavours. With your support, we have been able to organise, advertise, and run a successful virtual seminar series. In particular, by letting us ‘drive the ship’ so to speak, we have been able to shape a seminar series by Australian graduate students for Australian graduate students. This flexibility has contributed to the series continuing into Semester 2.
By allowing us to use your emailing list and contacts across Australia, we have been able to engage with graduate students from most major universities, and foster a sense of belonging for graduates in geometry and topology. The opportunity to network and socialise with Australian graduate students across institutions has been invaluable.
Dynamical Systems in Topology and Triangulated Categories
We were definitely glad that such an opportunity to organise a symposium was available to us, especially during this pandemic where everything (and everyone) just feels disconnected. Although the turn up wasn’t as high as we were hoping to be (at the same time the topic was definitely still pretty specialised), we have definitely learnt a lot from organising the symposium and we would definitely love to see this opportunity available again in the near future. I personally have also participated in two other symposia under this program, and thought it was a great platform to connect students from different universities.
The MATRX-AMSI PhD Student Symposia program provided us with a unique opportunity to organise an academic event on a global scale whilst still PhD students. We gained valuable experience working in a team towards a long-term goal, and allowed us to develop critical organisational and interpersonal skills which will be useful in our future careers. Further, we have gained an international network, particularly in the new generation of mathematicians in our discipline. Indeed, one of us (organiser) has begun collaborating with a participant after meeting for the first time through the symposium. We hope the program continues to benefit the research community in 2022 and beyond.
Overall, the symposium ran smoothly and accomplished the goals to foster an interest among participants in connecting mathematical models and experimental data.
The two-day format worked well, with successful and insightful talks and lectorials given on the first day of the workshop. Participants noted they enjoyed the breadth of material covered: each speaker delivered an exposition on the application of mathematics in different areas. Those who participated in the group projects seemed to learn new skills, expand their networks, and make great progress on challenging projects in a relatively short period of time.
We feel that the MATRIX-AMSI PhD Student Online Research Symposia program has been beneficial for the organisers. Firstly, we gained experience of the steps required to organise and run a conference which will be valuable when planning future events. Secondly, we were able to expand our networks by reaching out to researchers to invite them to our event and work with them so that their talks aligned with the themes and goals of the symposium. Thirdly, we expanded our networks to the range of participants and gained additional experience mentoring each group to their final presentations.