Published: 28 October 2015

Viewpoint: The value of research exchange programmes

Michael Robinson and Robert Poister

Michael Robinson is a PhD student in the Institute of Irish Studies:

“Earlier this year I took part in the well-established research exchange programme between the University of Liverpool and the University of Georgia (UGA) in the USA.

“Based at the Willson Centre for the Arts and Humanities, I was placed under the tutelage of leading Irish literary scholar Professor Nicholas Allen. In addition to learning how the centre operates under Professor Allen and his team, I held numerous meetings with leading researchers about the subject of my PhD research which analyses Irish soldiers of the First World War who suffered from shell shock.

“I gained integral feedback from esteemed researchers with huge experience in the subject, including Professor Susan Mattern and Professor John Morrow. I also met with many UGA graduate students to discuss our research and potential collaboration in the future.

“It was amazing to find how many links could be drawn between my own work and that of current PhD students at UGA whose subjects included the post-war treatment of Union veterans of the American Civil War and the experience of prisoners of war during the same conflict. It also allowed me to convey the work and research that is currently being undertaken at the Institute of Irish Studies to my American hosts.

“In addition to collaborating with researchers at the University, I was able to experience first-hand the American university system and the social side of life on an American campus.

“I am immensely proud to have contributed to the programme. Having previously met PhD student David Thomson, who undertook a research fellowship in Liverpool in 2014, I made contact with a number of UGA students who are scheduled to visit Liverpool as part of the programme in the near future. Personal connections such as these help to forge further links between the two universities as the programme continues to flourish.

“My experience in Georgia was hugely informative, challenging, and enjoyable. I would strongly encourage PhD students at the Institute to apply to the scheme next year. “

Image: Michael Robinson and Robert Poister (University of Georgia Graduate) who spent time at the University of Liverpool as part of the exchange.

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