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Tips for Research Collaboration


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Hey everyone,

I didn't see a thread on this topic, so I figured that I would make one. So I am planning to go to a regional conference with one goal being to talk among local researchers about how we could work together on future projects. 

I'm curious how you even go about making new collaborations with new researchers. What questions do you want to ask or topics should you plan to cover during the conversation? I do have some ideas for collaboration (trying to combine experimental and computational modelling efforts) down the road, but I haven't really done much work to show these researchers since I'm still in my first year. For the longer term, what tips do you recommend for fostering good relationships at conferences with researchers that you would like to work with further down the road (say 1-2 years)?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm wondering if a better first step would be to actually become acquainted and familiar with each other's work and interests before jumping to "lets collaborate on project x!"  A collaboration is a relationship that will require a lot of communication and that's going to be easier if you actually like each other, have similar work styles, and balance each others strengths/weaknesses.  If you keep in contact after the conference with the occasional question about their work, to bounce ideas, etc then you'll get a sense of how you both might work on a project together and their openness to even doing that.

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I'm also wondering about this topic. One of my classmates invited me to collaborate on a paper, but we're studying English literature. I can't grasp the idea of practically dividing the work. However, we do complement specializations (I'm starting to be more knowledgeable about comics studies, while she has had experience in writing about heterotopias / theory, in general).

I do apologize for somehow interrupting a discussion from an entirely different field!

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@miss-prufrock I think your best bet is to have an informal chat with your classmate about how they think such a collaboration might work, what exactly the 2 of you would be doing, and why they want to do it with you.  Then if you're intrigued enough to consider it more seriously you should have a chat with your mentor about how to go about such a collaboration.  There are likely a lot of things to consider, many of which you won't be thinking about until it's too late so your mentor's could be a tremendous help.

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  • 3 months later...

Would anyone have any general tips for trying to be a Research Assistant while in your second or third year? Essentially, I'm looking to see who might be on my future dissertation committee and I want to nurture good relations early on. I was also considering reaching out to people not in my department.

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@derphilosoph It seems like you're asking 2 questions. 

The first, how can I be an RA in my 2nd or 3rd year?  This generally happens by knowing who in your department needs an RA and how to apply for the gig.  RA opportunities may not fit your specific research experiences, but they do give you an opportunity to gain research experience and be involved in posters/papers/conference presentations.

The second, how can I be an RA in another department?  First make sure this is something that exists within the culture of your University.  At some it is very common to have RAs from other departments, while at others students stay in their own department.  Assuming this is acceptable at your University then find out where RA positions are posted.  This could be a graduate student listserv/email blast, it may be department websites, or faculty lab pages.  If there are particular faculty you are interested in working with you could reach out to them directly to learn more about their work and inquire about possible opportunities.

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