Sunday, January 15, 2012

What is a good research environment?

On January 27, I will be giving a ten-minute presentation at a town-hall meeting that will take place at Reykjavik University on the theme "What is a good research environment?". I roughly know what I am going to say, but I am curious to hear what would be the items on my readers' wish list when they think about a good research environment.
  • What do you look for in a research environment you would be happy to work in? 
  • What are the best aspects of your current research environment?
  • What would you improve in your current research environment?


Anonymous said...

This is a nice question for the cstheory stackexchange site.

Andy D said...

From a student's perspective, I've given my answer to this question here:

(key word: food.)

A few years old, but I stand by it.

Luca Aceto said...


Thanks for the pointer to your old post, which I recall reading at the time.

I agree that the availability of free food helps creating a good work environment, just as it helps in making people attend seminars, get together and talk shop in an informal setting.

In a recent staff survey at Reykjavik University, CS staff placed better and more varied food as one of their top-three wishes. This is despite the fact that we do have crisp bread and cheese always available, free coffee, baskets with fruits a couple of times a week (these become empty in less than no time) and a Friday cake at 3pm.

One of my colleagues said that this probably indicates that we do not have much to complain about :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the question, Luca.

Comparing the different environments I've passed thru, I can't be more than happy to do research in a danish institution. Probably one of the best incentives for me as a finishing Ph.D. student (apart from a top research group) is the almost absence of research bureaucracy. Accountants that works, fixed travel and hardware budgets that allow one to plan collaborations on time and reasonable requirements from the research administration allows one to focus on what it is important: doing research.

(of course, things could be italian chef in the canteen could make wonders for the motivation of researchers in my university, for instance)