New research network bolsters interdisciplinary collaboration
A newly established network, AU-CogNet, is bridging disciplines at Aarhus University, fostering dialogue and collaboration among early-career researchers with a shared interest in cognition and behaviour.
AU-CogNet is a new informal network started by PhD students that aims to support professional development and promote social events, bringing together the next generation of cognitive and behavioural researchers across faculties and departments.
Rebecca Jane Scarratt, a British-born PhD student at The Department of Clinical Medicine, is part of AU-CogNet’s central committee. Now a researcher at Center for Music in the Brain, Rebecca Jane Scarratt brings her own interdisciplinary approach to the network.
Her work focuses on the impact of musical familiarity on relaxation, a concept rooted in neuroscience, art, and psychology. She describes her research journey and the motivations behind forming CogNet:
“I got to do a lot of different things during my studies, that all led me to where I am now. I wanted to study neuroscience, but also to have some link with the arts. It didn’t have to be two separate things, and that is ultimately what led me to Center for Music in the Brain.”
Hosting a mix of smaller and larger events
The idea behind CogNet’s sprouted from a desire for interdisciplinary connection, and the acknowledgement that many PhD students at AU are studying similar themes in cognition and behaviour across various faculties and research groups but rarely meet.
"The basic idea behind the network is to gather the many Ph.D.-students within our research area in a more informal setting and across faculties,” says Rebecca Jane Scarratt.
The network has already begun hosting events and meetings, starting with networking opportunities and workshops. The first event was a speed-dating format where participants could meet based on their interests.
“While the members of the board are from Music in the Brian or the Department of Linguistics, we have already had attendees from other areas such as Psychology, the Center for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience, Political Science, the Interacting Mind Center, and Management. The goal is both networking and meeting new people but also offering workshops and tools that these people can use in their research,” says Rebecca Jane Scarratt.
A sustainable network now and in the future
CogNet also has an eye to the future, and the network’s plan involve hosting smaller events the last Thursday every month and a larger, more comprehensive event once every semester.
The group’s ambitions are high, and they’re actively seeking to increase the number of members and get more people coming to the events. As the network grows and solidifies, the goal remains the same: to create a community that fosters collaboration and encourages a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences.
“Our most recent event was here at Center for Music in the Brain, which was mostly a social event with free pizza. We opened the floor to people if they wanted to practice a presentation. Conference season is coming up, so here we can practice presenting in a low-key and relaxed environment,” says Rebecca Scarratt.
CogNet is also looking forward to its biggest event of the semester, a workshop focusing on academic flourishing. The event will feature Johannes (Yogi) Jäger, a guest lecturer from The University of Vienna, leading the workshop.
Interested in joining?
The network’s core group consists of a small committee. The current members are Rebecca Scarratt, Murillo Pagnotta, Isobel Wisher and Peter Thestrup Waade.
CogNet is open to all early-career researchers at Aarhus University with an interest in cognition and behaviour. Among the main units are:
- Interacting Minds Centre - IMC
- Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science and Semiotics - LICS
- Center of Functionally Integrative Neuroscience - CFIN
- Center for Music in the Brain - MIB
- The Department of Psychology and Behavioural Sciences - Psychology