Mobility is one of the main cores of European Marie-Curie research fellowships. As PhD fellows, we have the opportunity to travel, engage international research groups and integrate into other cultures. However, we also must deal with lots of paperwork. When moving from one country to another, we not only need to move our personal stuff but also our social security provided by our home institution. I know this can be a pain in the neck for many PhD students. This is the reason why I am going to use this entry to share my knowledge on how I managed to have social security in Belgium, being ICRA my home institution.

Starting something could be seen either as an instantaneous action or as an endless process. In physics we use the terminology t=0 to refers to the beginning of a specific event; such as the movement of a sphere on a sloping plane. In this case, the start corresponds at the instant when the sphere begins its own motion. Same thing if we consider a stone falling from the Pisa’s tower. In fact, according to the legend, Galileo climbed the Pisa’s tower in order to study the gravity fall of some stones. Basically he was throwing these stones from the tower and then doing some math. In his studies, t=0 was the second he was releasing the stone. And we could go on with many other similar examples. But, can we really say that “the discovery of the law of gravity” began with those throwing? Wouldn’t be maybe more precise to say that the discovery started a bit earlier? Is not true that Galileo went on top of that tower just because he had started a thinking before? So, we can also look at that throw as “the end” of a longer process which started Only-Galileo-Knows-When!

We change and transform bit by bit. Often we don’t notice it and maintain the feeling of the constant I for the longest periods of time. Recently, in a moment of self-reflection, I looked back at myself in the past. The amount of personal change since the start of my Ph.D. amazed me. Most of it is positive and offered some insight to me into the importance of self-managed ventures as a Ph.D.

As it happens with newspapers and scientific journals, the title of the article is essential to capture the reader’s attention. In fact, when I get into the TED talks website -if you don’t know what this is, I highly recommend you to google it- the title of the talk decides entirely what I watch.

Humans adapt fast. With the advent of internet and its great services came a new philosophy of trust. Before we were trusting in institutions, for example a reputable hotel or taxis approved by the government. Now we happily rent a room in the apartment of some dude with a lot of likes on Airbnb. Or we decide to go on a road trip of several hundred kilometres with a stranger suggested by Blablacar. The paradigm of trust is changing in a beautiful way with technology. Yet we have to take care about the arrival of crowd-sourced trust. If left unsupervised this celebration of faith can turn sour for us both as service providers and clients in the future.

Before starting this project, everyone had warned me about the drawbacks of pursuing a PhD: “a PhD is very hard”, “you will have to work during the weekends”, “publishing articles is very difficult”, “you need to select carefully your research topic, otherwise it will become too tough”, “you will be much older than the rest of PhD students and you will finish it even older, are you sure u want to start one now?”. However, no one told me that sometimes I was going to feel alone during the PhD. Yes, discovering that feeling was a great surprise for me.

I recently got back the evaluation of my second year interview with the Doctoral School. The committee gave me a good note and stated that “the student shows a very good attitude towards the difficulties associated with the realization of a European industrial doctorate”. I took this as a great compliment and a correct analysis of the situation. Despite my supervisors positive words about my progress I currently feel like I am dragging myself through mud.

In the modern age it is quite common to come across people with mental disease. Or, at least this is how the society define them. Indeed we need to label (or maybe we should use “to tag” since we are in the era of the social network!) the others, we need to find a “name” which can allow us to distinguish between ourselves and the rest of the world. However, although I am not a huge fan of the current society, this behavior is something peculiar of the human beings, it has been always like that and it will always be. So, this is not a criticism of the modern society, the aim of these words appearing on this text is to try to come a bit closer to people we judge completely different from us, a way to reduce the gap between “us” and who we classify as unstable, precarious, which sometimes turn into freak!

Most of us attended a meeting, workshop, conference or an event that brings people together. Yet only few get to look behind the scenes of event organization. A few months ago I had exactly that possibility when I have been organizing an event for the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA) at the University of Bristol, UK. My expectations and the result were different and surprised me in many ways. One thing is sure, it was a great experience and a lesson to learn.

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