IUFRO Awards for Graduate and PhD Students Announced

SP-16: Triumphs, Tribulations And Transitions – The Graduate Research Experience from the Student IUFRO Award Winners

 

ISA and ODRA Awardees at award ceremony. Picture: Ramin Khorchidi
ISA and ODRA Awardees at award ceremony. Picture: Ramin Khorchidi

 

The IUFRO Awards for Graduate and PhD students were presented in a special subplenary session. Shirong Liu, the Chair of the IUFRO Honours and Awards Committee, explained that the IUFRO Student Award for Excellence in Forest Sciences (ISA) and the Outstanding Doctoral Research Award (ODRA) recognize outstanding individual scientific achievements during university studies or within three years after graduation, or recognize outstanding individual scientific achievements of recent Doctoral research.

 Challenges

The awardees are a mixed group of young forest scientists, most of whom moved to a foreign country to pursue their studies. Unsurprisingly, one of the top three challenges they faced was language, since they had to do their scientific work in English and, in addition, learn the language of their country of residence.

Unsurprisingly, funding proved an equally large — if not even larger — challenge. Most awardees submitted applications for funding to a large number of institutions. One of the awardees saw her PhD thesis critically compromised when the institution where she worked went through a financial crisis.

On a more scientific level, all of the awardees found that very often they had to devise their own methods for their research or learn skills that they had not thought to be related to their research field, such as programming data collection tools or including social sciences in their highly technical study fields. Also, several found field work challenging.

What did they learn?

In their studies, the awardees learned that in many cases they needed to rely on their own resources: devise their own scientific methods for a certain problem, set up their own experiments, plan their own field work, gather their data, do some structured thinking, and arrive at a conclusion. They found that while it was essential to deliver high-quality research, they also needed other abilities such as writing and presentation skills, as well as the ability to work in multicultural backgrounds.

As individuals, they learned they needed good self-organization and time management skills as well as discipline.

Would any of them have given up?

We all know that almost all projects — and also one’s studies — come to a point where things seem like they’re not really moving forward. All of the awardees went through a phase in which they considered their options. It turned out that none of them considered giving up as an option.

The future

Many of the ISA and ODRA awardees will stay in academia. It seems that they were well prepared by their studies, where they were confronted with the same problems they will probably face later in their research careers: scarce funding, the need to ask the right questions and then develop adequate methods to answer them, and good personal skills.

IUFRO applauds the ISA and ODRA awardees for their achievements and wishes them all the best for their future careers!

Detailed information on the award winners can be found in the Special Issue of IUFRO News.

ISA Awardees

Tolulope Daramola (USA/Nigeria): Division 1

Mika Yoshida (Japan): Division 3

Julius B. Adewopo (USA/Nigeria): Division 5

Sharif Ahmed Mukul (Bangladesh): Division 6

Md. Mohital Hosain (Bangladesh): Division 8

Ivana Guduric Živojinovi (Serbia): Division 9

ODRA Awardees

Jan R. Bannister (Chile/Germany): Division 1

César Pérez Cruzado (Spain): Division 2

Puneet Dwivedi (USA/India): Division 3

Susana Barreiro (Portugal): Division 4

Sik Huai-Shing (Malaysia): Division 5

Sandra Rodríguez-Pineros (Mexico): Division 6

ShuaiFei Chen (China): Division 7

Zhun Mao (China): Division 8

Eli Sagor (USA): Division 9

 

Written by: Brigitte Burger

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