Mario Giorgi, shares his journey of professional development as a post-doctoral researcher on the MultiSim project based at the University of Sheffield’s Insigneo Institute for in silico Medicine.
“I joined Insigneo in July 2015 on the Multisim Frontier Grant, and have now been a part of this amazing group for almost two years. Before joining MultiSim, I knew that this project would be professionally challenging, however, I also knew that being a part of such a large grant which includes nine different work packages would be a unique experience for my professional and personal development.
Before joining Insigneo my background was purely computational, but thanks to MultiSim I developed key knowledge on in-vivo and ex-vivo high-resolution µCT scanning procedures. Moreover, this project gave me a unique opportunity (as an engineer) to learn how to plan and carry experimental procedures with living animals, and how to communicate with colleagues from different professional backgrounds (e.g. engineers/biologists).
My research profile has grown significantly as a result of joining MultiSim. In the first six months at Insigneo, because of my computational background, I was involved by the Director of MultiSim, Professor Damien Lacroix, in writing an exciting review paper on multi-scale modelling for a well-known journal. This paper, in which I was the first author was published before the end of my first year with this group.
MultiSim continues to contribute 360° to my professional growth. In addition to my main research, I am working on two other projects with our collaborators at Imperial College London (with Dr. Niamh Nowlan), and at Flinders University (with Dr. Saulo Martelli). This has been a great opportunity to learn how to start and maintain successful collaborations with external research groups. Thanks to these collaborations I spent three weeks in Australia where I worked with Dr. Saulo Martelli and his group.
I am also actively involved with the organisation of multi-scale modelling challenges at MultiSim’s Modelathon. I believe that this has been a great opportunity for me to understand all the steps needed to organise a successful event. I am confident that all the problem solving/management skills I am acquiring through this experience will be extremely useful in the future.
Another aspect of MultiSim which I consider unique is the willingness to involve everyone (including PhDs and PDRAs) in all project review meetings. Thanks to this, I have had the amazing opportunity to see the organization behind such a large project and learn how experienced researchers deal with such a complex environment. An example of this unique type of involvement of PDRAs, was being selected by Professor Lacroix as one of his post-docs to participate in MultiSim’s mid-term review with EPSRC’s committee. At this review, I had the opportunity to further understand how a grant review process is managed from the funder side.
In less than two years as a MultiSim PDRA, I have published one paper, two papers are under review, and one paper is in preparation.
I have participated in a number of prestigious events e.g. I participated in a 4-day summer school in Barcelona (Spain), and attended the International Society of Biomechanics and European Society of Biomechanics conferences. In all these conferences my research has always been positively evaluated and accepted as a podium presentation.
Experiences such as those outlined above have led me to believe that MultiSim is strongly oriented to the development of future researchers. Indeed, recently a call for the MultiSim proof-of-concept project scheme was made available to all PhD and PDRA researchers. I consider this call as an amazing opportunity to gain experience in writing research proposals, and eventually to further develop my project management, fundraising, mentoring, and teaching skills which will be key to develop a successful academic career.
To conclude, I can positively say that joining this group was the best choice I could have done for both my professional and personal development.”