The HES-GEO research teams met up in Cracow on the 4th and 5th of November to define milestones and discuss the next steps in the research.

During the 4th and 5th of November, all the HES-GEO research teams (RTs) met up at the brainstorming event. Also, the advisors from the partner institutions were present (Paris Lodron Universität Salzburg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Katholieke Unversiteit Leuven.) via virtual bridge. The main aim was to define the critical milestones for each RTs, identify RTs training needs and outline the next steps of the work.

Unfortunately, due to the still-evolving covid-19 situation, it was impossible to organize a fully offline meeting and advisors from partnering institutions, including André Mascarenhas, the moderator of the whole event, were present online.

Soon, you could read the interview with André to get a glimpse of what it takes to moderate a hybrid meeting.

The first day in Cracow started with the presentation of Agnieszka Wypich, the project coordinator, explaining the primary mission of the HES-GEO project and the main aim of the workshop. Shortly after that, the reporting round of each Research Teams Leaders (Agnieszka Nowak-Olejnik – “Cultural Ecosystem Services”, Magdalena Kubal-Czerwinska – “Food Waste”, Dominik Kaim – “Land Use and Biodiversity”, Lukasz Musielok – “Soil carbon sequestration”, Anita Bernatek-Jakiel “Soil Piping”, Katarzyna Gorczyca – “Social processes and urban resilience”) was followed. Participants were informed about the recent development within each research team and what steps need to be taken soon.

After that, each research team worked individually with their advisors from partner institutions on several issues. Besides defining the core methodological approaches with data needs and specific trainings the participants need to fill in, the team also discussed possible publication strategies, conference visits or alignment of sub-projects (e.g. individual PhD projects and master thesis) with the overall RT project.

Reporting round was the closing activity of the first HES-GEO brainstorming event. The RTs team leaders gave their follow-up presentations on what was discussed in previous sessions and how it changed the respective projects.

On the second day, the participants worked separately in their teams on the last items from the brainstorming agenda. The groups discussed their possible consortium partners from the practice (e.g. various NGOs, social movements), which are essential in understanding fully the given problematics each RTs address. As a next, the possible fundings calls were identified. Such a call consists of various supportive grant schemes that will help RTs conduct preliminary research and central grants to apply at the end of the HES-GEO project. Lastly, the RT members discussed possible risks which might threaten the research work. Suitable coping strategies and backup scenarios were defined to ensure the RT won’t fail to meet its goals.

At the end of the day, research team leaders presented the outcomes of the 2nd-day brainstorming sessions, followed by a discussion of all participants about the organizational aspects of the event itself. Participants highlighted the excellent coordination of the event itself. They suggested working on documents and presentations via a web browser or placed in the cloud so everyone could access the most actual version to ease the workflow with materials. Towards the end, the conversation took us to the topic related to healthy work-life balance. As the HES-GEO involves many members, the deadlines and joint actions have to be planned carefully and consistently to avoid urgent ad-hoc tasks that would interfere with our free time.