Many research fellows have faced challenges in conducting research due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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“We still try to find solutions in this situation. Even though some of the research has been put on hold, other possibilities arise”, says Juan C. F. Pardo.
He is completing his doctoral work at the Faculty of Engineering and Science and is affiliated with the Centre for Coastal Research and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA). This spring and summer, he was supposed to go on several boat trips to collect samples from the seabed. When the coronavirus pandemic struck, research in the field was put on hold and all boats were landed.
Instead, Pardo has teamed up with five other international marine graduate researchers to write a scientific article that summarises the challenges of conducting marine research during a pandemic. Pardo lives in Norway, Debra Ramon lives in Israel, Isa Elegbede in Germany, while Gabriel Stefanelli-Silva, Luciana S. Lima and Silas C. Principe live in Brazil.
“We are all at different stages in the pandemic, but we have similar challenges. The research period is time-limited, and many are dependent on physical premises, laboratories, and boats. Since the universities have been closed, we have not had access to equipment”, says Pardo.
In Norway, most people have returned to campus, but this does not apply to all countries.
“We are lucky to be able to keep up with our research. In Brazil, many people still have to stay at home. In Brazil and other countries, internet connection, among other things, is very variable”, he says.
Although the pandemic has led to changes in research, the research fellows still believe that something positive will come out of the situation.
“Many people have had their eyes opened to new meeting places for researchers. We have, for example, become much better at using online communication tools”, says Pardo.
Many see opportunities for improving their research in collaboration with other researchers. In addition, new partners have come on the scene. The graduate researchers also experienced that they have had more time to read up on various subjects completely undisturbed.
“We want to show that researchers must be innovative during such times. There are solutions and possibilities in most situations”, says Pardo.