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SIF Umeå – an initiative by students for students

SIF Umeå – an initiative by students for students

In the fall of 2023, Jessica Lindberg met a familiar student in a medicinal chemistry lab. It turned out that the student was an aspiring researcher, and in that meeting the idea of ​​establishing a research society was born. It was the starting point for students in research at Umeå, an association that will become a bridge between students and the world of research, with the aim of attracting more students to start research.

The advantage that Jessica has is that being a PhD student herself, she knows how it is done and how important it is to have mentors and role models, but also people who can show them how to do it more structurally.

– It's important to have someone who can develop commitment, says Jessica Lindberg, who is also a board member.

At the first meeting of the startup, about 20 interested people attended, and from these meetings a board of 12 people was also found.

– We have full board, which is very luxurious, explains Jessica.

In addition to the “regular” posts, the Board of Directors also has a member responsible for membership. SIF Umeå wants to work with inclusion, where the value base has also been developed.

– We want everyone, even English-speaking students, to feel included. The society is run by undergraduates, for undergraduates, to foster their interest in research, and Jessica continues.

The idea is that the association should help lower the threshold for entry into research, as students get a certain platform to meet and find supervisors.

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-I've always wanted to do research. I had a small list of potential teachers and emailed them. I eventually became a doctoral student, but it was a lot of work. It can be difficult to connect with the research world as an undergraduate, while there are supervisors looking out for students. “Now we can be the platform where people meet,” says Jessica.

This initiative is new in Umeå, but was inspired by the association that has been in Gothenburg for ten years. There is, among other things, a prepared list of moderators, as well as some events organized by the association. Here in Umeå, the collaboration started with the Fika event after the researcher, a concept that brings together researchers once a month for lectures and coffee.

Grow appropriately

The focus now is on growing at the right pace, to solidify the concept and for everyone to feel good along the way.

– There are many ideas in the works, but we want to have small events now first. “Once we have an association underway, we can initiate larger events,” Jessica says.

In the fall, they plan to give lectures to PhD students and in the spring their first major lecture is planned, as they have many big and exciting names coming up. The association is linked through the medical body, and through it it communicates with students. The response has been positive, with students, supervisors and faculty alike thinking that this is a good platform, something that is missing.

The association will also cooperate with research aspirants, through teaching through faculty where you can apply for scholarships to study in the summer. There have been difficulties finding supervisors, which Jessica and the association hope to help with a supervisor list.

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This fall we will also organize a workshop for students who want to become aspiring researchers, where we will learn how to write an application to become aspiring researchers, explains Jessica, who was one herself.

The idea is to increase access to supervisors of pre-clinical and clinical research, even for students who are still at an early stage of their education.

– It should be clear to all students that you can do research in Umeå, says Jessica.