February 13, 2017

I am Gemma, I’m a YI NET member from London, UK. I’m currently a post-doctoral researcher in Children’s Palliative Care, working mainly on a study looking at decision making in high risk brain tumours.

In March 2015 I spent 4 days in Oslo, Norway at the Centre for Shared Decision Making and Collaborative Care Research learning about the work of Professor Cornelia Ruland and her team, and expanding my knowledge of methodologies for testing computer based interventions. This trip directly led to an international research collaboration: I am currently involved in a 5 phase study which seeks to linguistically validate the British-English version of Sisom, an interactive computer-based application to give children a voice in healthcare encounters. We are then seeking to use the final version of the instrument with children with cancer in the UK.

My trip was funded by the Erasmus + Staff Mobility Scheme, which covered my travel, accommodation and provided a small stipend for food. The scheme, which is this year celebrating its 30th anniversary, is comparatively less well known that it’s student equivalent. Funding is provided for staff working in higher education and eligibility for the scheme stretches far outside the boundaries of the EU. Time can be spent at private or public bodies, research institutes, NGO’s, and trade unions, to name just a few examples.

I found that I could utilise the aims of the scheme to shape what I wanted to do: spend some time at another institution acquiring new skills and knowledge, sharing experiences, forging new links and making those all-important “conference friends”, as friendly faces at conferences are always nice!

My time abroad was not just useful career wise, it was also useful personally. Having recently returned from maternity leave, I found that my confidence had taken a large knock. Spending time in another country getting excited about research again was really motivating for me and gave my confidence the boost that it needed. When I came back from Oslo I was buzzing with ideas.

What are your experiences? Have you benefited from funding sources other people might not have heard about?

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