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Doing doctoral research in times of COVID-19: Madelon Wind

03 Mar 2021 23:41 | Anonymous

"IPSERA doctoral workshop even more important in these times"

I am Madelon Wind, external doctoral student at Utrecht University (UU) and University of Twente (UT) in the Netherlands. I also work as researcher and consultant at the Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC). My research revolves around the topic of building and maintaining ‘buyer-supplier’ relationships in the public sector, in the context of municipalities procuring youth care. Fredo Schotanus (UU) and Louise Knight (UT) are my supervisors.

COVID-19 has influenced the way in which I conduct my research greatly. I started setting up my research just before COVID-19 hit Europe. And both my supervisors also just started working at new universities just before that. Where you would normally have regular meetings at your professors’ offices, all of our discussions about the theme and later on my research plan had to be done online, except for one early kick-off meeting. This is how it is, but I am looking forward to meeting in real life, getting to know more about the others and their lives via the small talk at the coffee machine. Also, the unplanned discussions you have with your research colleagues at the university are really valuable, not only by discussing literature, but also about things like structure and research methods in general. 

Nevertheless, I am satisfied with what we ‘produced’ in 2020: my research plan has been approved by both my professors as well as the research director. So, now I can really start with conducting the research I proposed! I am therefore very happy that I am accepted as one of this year’s students for the IPSERA doctoral workshop. For me, the timing is excellent: my plans are still rather flexible, and I am eager to have an in-depth discussion about them. I think that even more than in other times the doctoral workshop is of high relevance. The doctoral workshop provides the explicit opportunity to discuss your research with colleagues (around the world): something that is generally less easy due to COVID-19.

Of course, but also in terms of progress I hope that COVID-19 soon starts to lose its grip on the world. I have an interesting paper planned in which I propose longitudinal research, but I could not start this research yet because of the virus. I think it is relevant, though, that COVID-19 underlines the (practical) importance of my research project: more than ever the relationships between municipalities and youth care providers are of high importance to deal with the situation at hand in our country. And more than ever it is clear that the provision of youth care is very important for our society. I also see this in my work as researcher/consultant, in which I most often work in the social domain. My research and advisory projects go hand-in-hand, from which I learn a lot both ways!

Concluding, I am very much looking forward to IPSERA-DW 2021 and to the rest of the (scientific) year!

Madelon Wind, PhD Student

Louise Knight, Supervisor

Fredo Schotanus, Supervisor

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