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First edition of SEFI PhD Summer School on Engineering and Science Education Research a success

1 July 2022

The Centre funded three of its Postgraduate Research students Gigi Vinod, Kate Bellingham and Tommy Piyatamrong to attend SEFI's first PhD Summer School.

SEFI summer school

In the first week of May, under a blue and sunny sky, the first edition of the SEFI PhD Summer School Engineering and Science Education Research was launched in Leuven (Belgium). Finally launched, because the first edition was planned in 2020 but cancelled due to the COVID19 virus. The Centre funded four PhD students to attend, Gig Vinod, kate Bellingham and Tommy Piyatamrong.

Prof. Greet Langie (KU Leuven), organiser of this first edition, opened the PhD Summer School by warmly welcoming the 34 participants, studying at 17 different universities. However, most were working at European universities, also the US, Asia and Africa were represented. This diverse group of promising young researchers covered a wide variety of topics in engineering and science education research leading to interesting discussions and exchange of experiences.

Kristina Edström (KTH Royal Institute of Technology) and Bill Williams (Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon and TU Dublin) introduced the participants into the world of engineering and science education research and its evolution in Europe. After the session Getting published, the chances of getting accepted in an appropriate journal definitely increased. We are wondering whose successfully published paper we shall read first! The following days focused on research methods. The quantitative research methods included even a (for some overwhelming) crash course in statistics by Professor Geert Molenberghs and Professor An Carbonez (KU Leuven), the qualitative research methods were guided by a very interactive prof. Karin Hannes (KU Leuven). Professor Jarl Kampen (UAntwerpen and Wageningen University) closed the week by focusing on the pros and cons of a mixed methods approach. 

“Back in business! Wow, we have missed this for the past two years. For some of the PhD-students this was their first international experience although their PhD is almost finished. Everyone was excited and eager to learn and to get to know each other.”
Professor Greet Langie (KU Leuven)

To let off steam and absorb what we learnt, a joint dinner and some optional evening activities were offered in the vibrant student city of Leuven. The activities were actively attended reflecting the excellent atmosphere amongst the participants: a city walk in the evening sun, some outdoor games in the Arenberg Castle Park, some culture in the old industrialised yet currently hipster Vaart-area and, of course, some Belgian beer tasting. The final evening was closed in the Old Market, also known as the largest bar of Europe (due to the many cafés and terrasses): a typical, crowded student meeting spot, perfect for a Thursday evening. 

Prof. Langie closed the SEFI Summer school with satisfying and good feelings. The smiles and the sharing of contact details, pictures, and jokes that were send to the group days after the summer school, showed she was not alone! 

The SEFI PhD Summer School was supported sponsored by Leuven Engineering & Science Education Centre (LESEC)(KU Leuven), KU Leuven Arenberg Doctoral School, 4TU Centre of Engineering Education (Netherlands), UCL Centre of Engineering Education and SEFI.

This article was first published by Sofie Craps, KU Leuven.