The PhD is done! I have defended my thesis and submitted the final version. It was stressful but went well in the end. The only thing I can really offer as advice post-defence is that one needs to accept that you can’t really prepare for the questions you will get.
Now its time to ensure I make very good progress on my ongoing projects and start to prepare for my post-doc beginning in January. Some of this preparation must involve a return to the literature (and social media) as I have been so micro-focused on the papers that were directly related to my thesis.
At the moment in the lab group are reviewing key papers (as well as novel papers) in the world of ecosystem services literature. It feels great to get back to the literature and be able to discuss with a group about where the interesting questions are, where there is confusion, and where there is clarity. This feels like such an important step in the intellectual process, but I feel like its not what takes up most of our time.
The lab group is also revising our common interest in science communication (and more specifically the ES Montreal project, and some of the great tools we learnt in COMPASS training). We are thinking of creating some 30 second videos about our research interests and I came a cross a post on science video creation that I think we can add to our list of resources to pull from. The twitterverse has also shared a some more resources on science communication and engagement I am eager to try. First I want to read this book on writing (its all about being clear and concise, and I will even go get to see the author speak on Friday!), and a blog post on how good writing often breaks the rules we are often though to follow. Then there is a tool on editing screenshots, which could be really useful when creating step-by-step guides I think. AAAS has some interesting talks planned on science communication (I know I can’t go but it does look like fun!). Finally, The Story of Stuff project has come up with a new model for engagement. This last one caught my eye because in revising a manuscript a couple of weeks ago a looked into the science-policy gap literature a bit more (mostly related to urban issues and sustainability indicators), and found that the problems seemed well articulated, but I still felt fuzzy on how to deal with the problems (I got as far as understanding that we can’t deal with simple, complex, and complicated problems the same way, but only read about very local example of success in dealing with wicked problems).
Here are a couple pictures of the amazing skies in Montreal on Thursday October 9th, the day after my defence. Amazing skies for a pretty amazing week!