Arun Joseph investigates when it is safe to take patients in neurocritical care off ventilators. He's in the second year of his DPhil and places great emphasis on networking in order to improve the quality and impact of his research. Indeed, he has founded an international network on his research topic, which has so far facilitated five online talks with guest speakers attracting hundreds of attendees. Not surprising, then, that he jumped at the chance to go to Berlin to present his work at the 7th Nationwide Conference on Student Research (StuFo 2022).
In the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, the University of Oxford negotiated a strategic research partnership with the four universities that make up the Berlin University Alliance: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.
The partnership, formally established in 2017, aims to strengthen the direct ties between German and British researchers and students, and to deepen scientific cooperation. It covers all areas of academic research as well as initiatives involving the museums and libraries in both cities. The goal is to support cutting-edge research, including cross-cutting thematic and inter-disciplinary work; knowledge exchange and public engagement; and develop the careers of early career researchers and doctoral students.
The student conference
The 7th Nationwide Conference on Student Research (StuFo 2022) was held on 4-5 October at Humboldt University Campus. Hundreds of students from across Germany attended, along with two MSc and two DPhil Students from the University of Oxford whose papers were selected from 14 submitted as the result of a call advertised by the Oxford Student Union.
It was an excellent opportunity to network with people from different disciplines, which I'm hoping may lead to future collaboration.
- Arun Joseph
As well as Arun, who presented on 'Ventilator Weaning and Extubation in Neurocritical Care', three other students from the University of Oxford attended: Nina Djukanovic (environmental protection), Amy Booth (healthcare & sustainability), and Joseph Grostern (democracy). They each received scholarships from the Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership for travel and accommodation for a week in Berlin.
Arun found that his training and experience in talking about his research to a non-specialist audience stood him in good stead. He has developed an engaging narrative about his topic of study, which draws listeners in to the story of a patient with a traumatic brain injury and the team of health professionals who care for him. Arun's twenty-minute talk was one of four in the Health and Medicine parallel session, and was followed by a lively discussion.
His week in Berlin allowed Arun to learn about the German education system, where research facilities are shared across universities, and arts and culture are well integrated with education – he enjoyed visiting many of the free museums. He found the conference to be a friendly and supportive environment, allowing people the autonomy to 'be who they are'.