XS-META Innovative European Training Network Course

To begin the training program, the students gathered in October 2022 for a week-long course titled «Being an Effective Researcher» at the ETSI Aeronáutica y del Espacio (ETSIAE) of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. The course focused on soft skills, such as leadership, decision-making, effective communication, teamwork, time management, scientific writing, and project management.

The course was taught by an expert in educating these types of skills, Geraint Wyn Story, founder of Cambridge Training Associates. Wyn Story emphasized that «intellectual ability is only a small part of what a postgraduate student needs to overcome their doctorate and differentiate themselves for their future career.»

The students participated in various team-building exercises during the course, including constructing a vehicle with everyday materials to compete for the best gadget, planning a bank heist and escape, playing group card games without knowing the rules, using Lego pieces for serious play methodology to encourage creativity and problem-solving with an open mind.

The students all agreed that the learning experience was unique, practical, original, and valuable. They learned how to present their work to a wider audience, communicate effectively, work in a team, and manage their time during a project.

Toby Wilkinson, one of the doctoral students from the UK, said, «I have acquired new presentation skills to share my work with a wider audience and have a greater impact. We have put a good communication value, not only within the team but also when meeting new teams that have different ways of working.» Massimiliano Casata, an Italian doctoral student, agreed, stating that «this course helps us to have a different perspective on how to approach those tasks that are often overlooked in people with scientific training.»

The XS-META project represents an excellent opportunity for the participating students to gain knowledge in advanced technologies and develop their soft skills, which are crucial for a successful career in research. As the project progresses, these young researchers will undoubtedly make significant contributions to their respective fields, thanks to the innovative and practical training they have received.