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Relocating and Adjusting to a New City

[By Victoria Licht]

In this blog series we have heard from almost all the ESRs, talking about the challenges we encountered in our research and the progress we have made the last 7 months.  While all of us have moved from different countries to be at our present university, some of us have had minimal problems adjusting to our new city and others like myself needed some time to get use to our new home.  I am originally from Germany, grew up in Southern California, and eventually moved back to Germany. I finished my bachelors in California and then went to Germany for my Master’s degree, I really considered myself a chameleon of being able to adjust to new surroundings. I have traveled to many place in Europe and went to South America for six weeks, I convinced myself I was able to make a home anywhere.

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Developing collaborations between academia and industry

[By Chiara Capparini]

As you may already know, the MOTION network is made up by a diverse team of experts and early stage researchers mixing both academic and industrial expertise. In this blog post, I am going to discuss with you my really fresh experience developing collaboration between my host University, Lancaster University, and an industrial partner, Smart Eye.

First of all, let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Chiara and I am originally from the beautiful Lake Como, Italy. I obtained my Master’s degree in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMeC), University of Trento, Italy. I was lucky to join the MOTION network as an Early Stage Researcher at Lancaster University, moving from that branch of the lake which inspired the Italian novelist Alessandro Manzoni to the Lake District which inspired many, let me just mention Beatrix Potter (since our interest lies in infancy and childhood!). Here, apart from a nice and quiet town surrounded by placid parks and lakes, I found an amazing Babylab waiting for me, with a very welcoming environment full of great researchers, a lot of equipment and many nice families willing to be involved.

What I am researching on is how babies process social information in their environment. Thus far, most of the research relied on simplified two-dimensional images presented centrally on computer displays. Since in reality only a minority of the visual information is restricted within the central and parafoveal visual fields, my first steps into this research project aim to understand what visual information infants can process and perceive at peripheral locations.

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Collaboration between Smart Eye and Lancaster University

[By Clément Dardenne]

In the last couple of months, I worked on the development of a new version of our eye tracking software, adapted to the head morphology and eyes anatomy of infants (6 months – 3 years old).

In order to validate the new algorithms, the feedbacks of researchers involved in infant studies are primordial. On top of that, we need to enhance the size of our database (i.e. infant recordings), to keep improving our algorithms. The best way to achieve these goals is to provide a Smart Eye system to partners Babylab in the MOTION project, to see if it’s meeting the researchers expectations, and also because they have the possibility to involve a lot of infants in their studies.

That’s why Smart Eye decided to lend for free one of its systems for a period of 6 months to Lancaster University Babylab. The system is composed of 3 cameras and is accompanied of an Alpha version of a software adapted to infants. The system will be used to carry out a study on peripheral vision on 6 months old infants.

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On the Intersection of Two Companions for Ecological Validity: Research and Industry

[By Umay Şen]

The second meeting of Motion Network (Mobile Technology for Infant Social-Cognitive Neuroscience: Interdisciplinary Training Network for Innovating Infancy Research) took place in Oldenzaal, Netherlands. In this meeting, there were various workshops regarding the interaction of research and industry. As the early stage researchers of the network, we have strong connections with both industry and academia. This provides the opportunity to get involved with them both now and also in future.  Although, most of us do not have concrete career plans after PhD, we are questioning the possibilities of staying in academia/industry or changing our tracks from one to the other. To make decisions about future, is an effortful and delicate process. In this blog post, I am going to discuss about the research environments in academia and industry and also how they are similar and different with a little bit of my own perspective as a PhD student who is planning to pursue an academic career.

In the Motion Network, we have direct access to a community consisting of international and qualified researchers who have experience in both academia and industry. Furthermore, we have collaborations with researchers, practitioners and people from companies who have different specializations. Being a part of Marie Curie Network is providing us the excellent opportunity to be involved in all these different disciplines, exchange of knowledge and to integrate different skills sets.

Read moreOn the Intersection of Two Companions for Ecological Validity: Research and Industry

How are we doing? Our mid-term check

[By Joanna Rutkowska]

This month TMSi kindly ho  sted our project check meeting and the third training school in Oldenzaal, the Netherlands. We got off to a shaky start with all of our early stage researchers (ESRs) and their supervisors (principal investigators, PIs) coming from outside the Netherlands stranded at Schiphol Aiport and arriving to our location late in the evening before the first scheduled day. Fortunately, the next day we did not have our project check meeting yet, or else the Research Executive Agency (REA) Project Officer would be greeted by a group of sleep-deprived and exhausted individuals (or maybe that short description fits all of the scientific researchers anyway?).

MOTION is an Innovating Training Network (ITN) that is a part of H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funded by the European Commission. Our name, MOTION, is an abbreviation of the full name of our network: Mobile Technology for Infant Social-Cognitive Neuroscience: Interdisciplinary Training Network for Innovating Infancy Research. As you can see, it would be too hard to use the full name in a sentence! On our website you can also familiarise yourself with the goals of each of the ESRs involved.

Read moreHow are we doing? Our mid-term check

Motion Kick Off

On Tuesday 27 February 2018 all partners of MOTION came together to kick off the project at the Sheraton at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The objective of this meeting was to refresh and go through the implementation of an ITN, such as financial management, reporting, recruitment, dissemination activities etc.

After a short (re)introduction, we started planning the project structure, recruitment, deliverables and exchanged information to kick start the MOTION project.

We are looking forward to the years to come and the scientific output of this joint collaboration!