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Doing doctoral research in times of COVID-19: Anne Ratsimandresy

03 Mar 2021 11:54 PM | Nadine Kiratli (Administrator)

During the sanitary crisis, all doctoral students had to face the closure of schools, libraries and the psychological difficulties of confined life. However, each was affected to a different degree and, thus, more or less delayed in their thesis work. I feel that I have been well surrounded and that I am one of the lucky ones. My school, ESCP Business School, was extremely responsive and all the doctoral courses were adapted to distance learning within a few weeks. When I too had to switch to the teachers' side to give the courses and teach for the first time in my life by distance learning a few months ago, I could benefit from great technical and pedagogical support so as not to add stress to this first experience! I felt a great sense of belonging with the whole teaching staff, a lot of informal exchanges initiated by more experienced teachers who were keen to help their young colleagues in these particular circumstances. In this sense the Covid crisis was an opportunity, that of an accelerator of links, at least professionally, paradoxically!

At the beginning of the crisis, when the lock-down was decreed and events, conferences and symposia were postponed or cancelled, my PhD fellow students and I all had concerns about the impact that this might have on our progression. Our doctoral school  emphasises a lot the importance of participating in these gatherings and we were afraid that this lack of opportunity to meet other researchers to share our work, receive valuable feedback from academics working in the same field or simply the lack of visibility would make it more difficult to write our thesis and might also harm our employability after the crisis.  In the end, the reorganisation was quick and efficient, and I was able to attend such events online: the IPSERA doctoral workshop in February, the workshop dedicated to sustainable supply chains in November. Each time there was space for exchanges, with break-out rooms for example, and that really makes a difference. Even if the videoconference format is not easy to manage and requires reorganisation, it also has its advantages: it is a little less intimidating and this is not negligible for a beginner researcher :) More generally, I was particularly and pleasantly surprised by the orientation given to supply chain research : to contribute to a way out of the crisis with our skills as researchers, calls for papers on resilience, reorganisation, rebound of supply chains have flourished almost everywhere and, above all, a special place has been given to sustainable supply chains in this context, exactly as at the ISPERA event on the 30th of  November. As this is my field of research, I could only be pleased about this.

Anne Ratsimandresy, PhD Student

Joe Miemczyk, Supervisor

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