First in-person master’s thesis project fair in health and technology
For the first time, the master’s thesis project fair for health and technology students was held on site at Medicinareberget. A concept that left both students and supervisors eager for future fairs.
A lively murmur in several languages fills the lecture hall at the Wallenberg Conference Center. It falls silent only when the vice dean at the Faculty of Science takes the stage.
“Hello, everyone and welcome,” says Pelle Åberg, extending a greeting together with Faculty Program Director Marie Strandevall, who also hosts this spring’s master thesis project fair.
Collaboration to create interdisciplinary projects
This is the fourth time the fair has taken place, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it online on the previous occasions. The University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, and Chalmers University of Technology host the fair.
“The aim is to bring about interdisciplinary projects and collaboration between health and technology,” says Marie Strandevall.
“This is a good way to create interfaces,” adds Pelle Åberg.
Nearly 30 researchers presented projects that provide one or two master’s students an opportunity to write their degree project. Some of the potential supervisors have several projects in the works. Even though researchers had only a few minutes to present a project and the preferred qualifications of the students applying for it, it went very well.
Chance to mingle
When all the presentations had been completed, the students had been informed of everything from how to develop methods for measuring air-polluting particles to analysis of walking patterns in older subjects using radar.
At least as important and eagerly awaited, after all the online meetings and remote learning of the pandemic years, was the change to mingle afterwards. This was the students’ opportunity to ask the researchers questions. Julius Juodakis, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, stood at the screen with the text “Using machine learning to find gene interactions causing preterm birth” and answered questions from Setareh Jafargholizadeh, who studies biotechnology at Chalmers University of Technology.
“We are looking for a student who has good knowledge of genetics and is prepared to learn about machine learning or a student who knows machine learning and wants to learn genetics,” says Juodakis.
That could be something for Jafargholizadeh. Another person who finds Juodakis’s project interesting is Obed Nahimiyimana, who studies mathematical statistics at the University of Gothenburg.
“Statistics can be applied in a lot of areas,” he says.
“Biomedicine offers good opportunities for students with different backgrounds and specializations, such as biotechnology and statistics,” says Juodakis.
Includes students from different subject areas
Six students at one table are enrolled in the Master’s Program in Global Health.
“It was very interesting, but hard to find something that suited us. It’s a little too specialized. We are interested in larger issues, such as public health, pandemics, and antibiotic resistance,” says Alexandra Ingman.
Perhaps they should talk to Åsa Torinsson Naluai, who gave a more general presentation about the interdisciplinary SciLifeLab in Gothenburg. She concluded with the words: “If you want to know more, come and talk to me afterwards.” Sheila Sgozi, a public health sciences student due to write a master’s thesis in a year, has done that.
“I want to learn about the options that already exist, and Åsa explains so well what can suit my specialization.”
“If we are to advance research, we need to include students from many different subjects,” says Naluai, who has both a molecular biology and medical background herself.
Planning a new fair this autumn
After the students have gone on their way, several of the researchers and supervisors linger.
“This was also a good opportunity for the supervisors to mingle. Besides looking for talented students, they enjoy meeting each other,” says Marie Strandevall.
“It has worked very well to have the first three master’s thesis project fairs online, and it will be exciting to see the evaluations when we could finally have an in-person fair,” says Ann-Sofie Cans, a professor at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers and one of the initiators behind the fair. “I hope we can arrange an in-person fair in the autumn, too, when Chalmers is the host.”
By: Anna Rehnberg