My Research Stay: Report by Precious Akampumuza

Precious at Sanssouci park

Precious Akampumuza is a PhD Student in Sustainability Science at Tokyo University in Japan. The Green Talents 2017 awardee conducted her three-month research stay at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

I had a memorable experience during my research stay in Germany. However, allow me first to tell you about my first time being in Germany, thanks to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research for offering me the Green Talents award. I arrived in Germany in October 2017 for the award ceremony and the two-week tour which provided a unique opportunity for me to explore different parts of Germany. This ranged from visiting universities and research institutions to meeting with the experts identified during the Green Talents application process as well as sightseeing in different parts of the country. After careful consideration of my research interests, I selected the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) as the host for my research stay.

In early August 2018, I arrived in Potsdam for my research stay, marking the beginning of an exciting three-month episode of research, networking and knowledge sharing with colleagues and experts. Strategically located near Berlin, the city of Potsdam is a peaceful place to live, with numerous recreational opportunities to relax and to give your mind a break from routine research work. I particularly enjoyed sightseeing at the Sanssouci park with its castles, temples and gardens, a nice place to take evening walks and to spend part of the weekends.

The next day af
ter my arrival, I reported to PIK to commence my research. From my first impression, I realized that research at PIK would not be short of excitement! Among the facilities arranged for me were an office desk and a computer bearing my name tag. That was more than a welcome to the institution but rather an indication of an environment tranquil enough for research. Being a research institution that frequently receives multitudes of people from different parts of the world, welcome parties are often part of the institution’s culture meant to make guests feel at home. My arrival at PIK was no exception; I was thrown a welcome party, which enabled me to know many of the institution’s staff and fellow guests. This was indeed the foundation of a rich network of experts with similar research interests with whom I exchanged research knowledge during the entire research stay. Generally, my research stay at PIK was laden with sharing knowledge with experts – including my supervisor – and different experiences from organized research workshops. With all these resources around me, I was bound to learn a lot of skills to enhance my current research.

My research stay was not limited to research at PIK but rather involved a wide range of non-research activities meant to increase my exposure and widen my understanding of my research topic and to get acquainted with new topics besides my own, Climate Change. Most notable of these is the “Potsdam Summer School 2018: The skin of our planet” arranged by various institutions including my host, PIK. This was a great opportunity for me to attend many lectures related to my research and expand the boundaries of my academic network beyond my host institution. By the end of October 2018 when I was “settling in”, my research stay came to an end and I had to return to Tokyo. But the legend of the Green Talents award is live in my academic and personal life. The network created during the research stay is a potential basis for collaborative research. And the beauty of living in Potsdam as well as the convenient research environment at PIK will keep attracting me back to Germany at some point in the future.

Read more about Precious Akampumuza.