Within the Energy Transition Lab, my job is to assist in certain tasks. Regular tasks include checking the mailbox and updating the website. However, every now and then, there is something more to do. One example was providing support at the “Social innovation: next steps in the energy transition” (SIET) conference.
Another example is the “one-stop-shop” I helped set up in 2021. The idea was to create an environment where researchers could find students to participate in their research and students could select research to participate in. The ideal platform would also include a physical place to perform in-person research and provide the necessary tools. Currently, various research groups own tools but there is no university-broad overview. It would be great if this would exist. Platforms connecting researchers and students exist in many other universities, both in The Netherlands and outside. For particular study programmes, this is even integrated so students are required to experience being a participant.
After looking into it some more, I discovered which solutions were commonly used and contacted universities that used them. To my surprise, most universities responded quickly and were very helpful. They explained their decision-making process of selecting their platform and granted me access so I could have a look myself. Comparing all the pros and cons of each system we made a decision and discovered that a research group from a different faculty within our university already made use of this platform, so we decided to combine our efforts and share the platform. Several experiments were set up and we wrote a manual for researchers looking to use our platform. This manual was also checked by the research ethics committee and the data manager so researchers have complete information about how to correctly collect and store data.
It became known I was working on this project, so when the TU was contacted by other universities working on similar systems, I joined a meeting discussing our solutions. For any further questions, I now know whom to contact. Continuing our efforts, posters were hung within a number of faculties to promote the platform among students. However, we ran into the problem that it wasn’t interesting for researchers if there weren’t many students and it wasn’t interesting for students if there wasn’t any research to participate in. The situation remained like this for a while. After being contacted by researchers from the Economics of Technology and Innovation research group, we decided to further combine our efforts. Currently, they are working on the system and I have continued my regular tasks. We’re expanding our Master thesis circle and we’re organising a meet-up between PhD’ers. Enough to do!