Every year UNU-WIDER hosts a number of PhD interns and young scholars from around the world who participate in the different research and professional development activities of the Institute. As part of the UNU-WIDER series 'Advice to Early Career Researchers', Susan Servas (SS) from UNU-WIDER's Knowledge Services spoke with economist and former UNU-WIDER Research Fellow, Aziz Karimov (AK), who shared highlights of his experience as a young researcher at the Institute and his next steps at the International Livestock Research institute (ILRI) in Hanoi, Vietnam.
SS: How did you come to know about UNU-WIDER? What were your first impressions?
AK: I first came to UNU-WIDER for the PhD Internship Programme in 2011 as I was completing my postgraduate studies at the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn University, Germany. My doctoral thesis focused on the applied economics of agricultural production systems of Uzbekistan, my home country. I was so impressed with the research environment and support I got from colleagues at the Institute that I was thrilled to be subsequently selected for a post as Research Fellow.
Making the transition from PhD studies to career research was an incredible learning experience for me. I discovered that a graduate student, or someone undertaking their PhD, may demonstrate tremendous research skills but can easily lose their compass when moving from a purely academic to a professional setting. In my case, as an early career researcher at UNU-WIDER I was introduced to the full range of challenges of being part of a vibrant research programme--from research to project management, collaborating with international research teams and engaging with experts from various disciplines.
SS: What advice would you give to other early career researchers?
Learn to communicate to multiple stakeholders
One highlight of my experience at UNU-WIDER was being involved on the environment and climate change theme of the ReCom (Research and Communication of Foreign Aid) programme. It introduced me to the concept of research impact and the importance of making research actionable to different stakeholders, such as policy makers, who can influence development in their contexts.
In my area of research, I have to interact with many stakeholders including other researchers and experts such as agronomists, engineers, hydrologists, etc. When I was at UNU-WIDER, part of my work was also to interact with and lecture students on topics...