Alumni tell what Research Pitching Competition is really like

We asked finalists of Research Pitching Competition 2018 to speak their mind and reveal the truth about Research Pitching Competition as an experience.

Research Pitching Competition Premiere 2018

We like to say Research Pitching Competition by Slush and Skolar is a unique opportunity for ambitious and brilliant  postdoc researchers to go wild and learn science communication skills. But how do the actual competitors describe the competition? We asked alumni to share their thoughts.

Most frequently used adjective: awesome

Research Pitching Competition is described as a fun and interesting experience. The one word  that stands out from the feedback is “awesome”. Other praising adjectives mentioned were superb, challenging, and fantastic!

“Overall, this is one of the nicest experiences I have from my research career so far. This gave one the confidence in trusting one’s own idea and actually go further with it.”

“I’m so happy that I was part of this.”

When asked for reasons for applying for the competition the answers get more diverse. One wanted to apply because this competition was a chance to make an interdisciplinary project, for others the main reason was to challenge oneself. Also, the €100K Skolar Award  is seen as a unique funding instrument.

“Becoming the winner, or even being selected as a finalist, would be a solid proof of the potential impact of my research. I could not get any opportunity like this in common research grant applications.”

“I thought what a cool idea that this is particularly for post-docs and that’s why I applied.”

Lessons learned?

For many of the 2018 finalists this competition was an insightful experience. Being forced to squeeze their  research idea into a 3-minute pitch means you must really think what are is most important for the audience to understand about the idea. .

“It made me realize that I should try to explain and communicate more my research in simple terms. It was very useful  trying to see my research from a non-specialist perceptive and think of the greater impact.”

“I had been struggling to be confident enough in front of my peers. This experience helped me to see clearly my strengths and weaknesses.”

Living in a small villa with all the other competitors? Great!

In 2018 we accommodated  all the finalists under the same roof for the Slush week. Skolar House is an old, cosy seaside villa situated in Lauttasaari, Helsinki.  Living together turned out to be one of the best features of the experience. And that is why our 2019 finalists will be staying at the same house! Here are some perks about staying in a cozy villa:

“The Skolar House was the best idea ever!”

“It was really awesome having a quiet, nice house to stay in during this event. A hotel would not have served as well as this did to recharge and focus. There was lots of space for everyone and the nature and sea around it was so soothing and calming. “

“The Skolar House is such a contrast to the high-tech feel of Slush. It kind of feels like stepping into history, on the shores of Helsinki. It is a safe haven to retreat and prepare for Slush.”

Building a strong and solidary community is one of the main values of Skolar. The life of a researcher can often be lonely, and especially young researchers might long for peer support and sharing. Even though it is a competition, it’s even more about sharing a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I was worried that living with the other competitors could create pressure or discomfort. But at the end we had great group dynamics, going through this together and finally becoming friends, focusing more on the process than the result. “