Feedback and Networking: What Postdoctoral Mobility Is for
An improved research project, thanks to feedback received at multiple levels and on different topics, and a broader network of contacts. These are the most obvious benefits of the quarter (September-December 2022) spent by Silvia Griselda, a postdoctoral researcher from Bocconi's AXA Research Lab on Gender Equality at the Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines (STICERD) at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Dr. Griselda is one of the eleven young scholars selected for the CIVICA Research Postdoctoral Mobility Scheme, which offered postdocs from across the alliance the opportunity to visit other CIVICA Research member institutions to advance their projects.
“I chose to apply for the STICERD,” Griselda said, "mainly because they include a Hub for Equal Representation in the Economy, which seemed, and actually turned out to be, the perfect match for me, since I study equality issues in education.”
The paper Dr. Griselda is currently refining regards the gender gap in educational choices. “Specifically,” she explained, “I try to understand why boys and girls have such different results in math and reading and I conclude that assessment technologies play a role."
International data say that males perform better in math and females in reading, and that math achievement is a predictor of career advancement. Standardized tests, which use multiple-choice questions, are particularly anxiety-inducing, and therefore penalizing, when respondents feel unsure of their knowledge. “The analysis of different alternatives creates cognitive overload-for girls in math, for boys in reading," Dr. Griselda explained, "because those are the disciplines in which they feel least confident.”
In her time at the STICERD, Dr. Griselda presented her paper at three different centers (including those dealing with education and gender) and was able to talk about it with Professors such as Camille Landais, Director of the STICERD, Sandra McNally, Director of the Education and Skills Program at the Centre for Economic Performance at LSE, and Olmo Silva of the Department of Geography and Environment.
"Thanks to their feedback plus feedback from the post-docs and PhD students I came in contact with, I was able to not only improve my paper, but add a section devoted to the particular English assessment technologies,” said Dr. Griselda.
Among her most enriching experiences, Griselda also lists the presentations of other people’s projects she was able to attend, the PhD in Economics classes she attended as an auditor, and the contacts with post-docs at LSE.
“To those who should plan a similar experience, I recommend being proactive and moving very early,” she concluded. “I’ve had such a rich experience also because I started making contacts and scheduling presentations months in advance, to avoid being at the mercy of events once I arrived at destination.”
Written by Fabio Todesco (Bocconi University)
CIVICA Research brings together researchers from eight leading European universities in the social sciences to contribute knowledge and solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. The project aims to strengthen the research & innovation pillar of CIVICA - The European University of Social Sciences. CIVICA Research is co-funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101017201.
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