New Year, Same Research

A new year has begun and today is the first day that I’m sitting down and working on my dissertation, even though it’s a public holiday in Sweden (13 days after Christmas).  After a well needed Christmas break I’m now planning the research and other work of 2014. PhD students at my faculty are all supposed to write an individual study plan where you document what has been done and what is planned. So let me summarize or elaborate it here.

2013 was a busy year with lots of travel and research, together with teaching. I started my year with applying to small travel scholarships and grants, of which all were granted in one way or another. I also got my second paper, the one about drought and migration, rejected – not the best start of the year, but you get over it. It actually made me start running, to get some of the frustration out, and in May I successfully ran a 10K race.

In April I went to Kurdistan to attend an education fair and promote doing a master at Lund University to Kurdish and Iraqi students. After that I started my one week of field work, partly financed by the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography. During my stay I collected ground truth points (about 260) and conducted 30 interviews in 6 villages.

Somewhere in Duhok

Somewhere in Duhok

In the first week of May I was part of a field work week in Malmö and Lund where staff and students at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES) at Lund Universty went to visit and map different organizations related to the Middle East. My role was to facilitate making an interactive map with GIS, which is to be published soon.

On the second week of May I participated in a workshop/PhD course focusing on “The Scale Problem in Earth System Science”. It provided insights into how scale affects the spatial (and temporal) analyses we do and helped me come up with an idea for my third paper: a review of data and scale issues in environment-migration research.

The workshop ended on a Wednesday, and on Thursday I was on a plane to Nuremberg to spend two weeks in Bayreuth and Bayreuth University to further develop the idea of this scale paper together with researchers from the micle group. This trip was supported by COST action IS1101Climate Change and Migration: Knowledge, Law and Policy, and Theory through a Short Term Scientific Mission grant.

I returned from Germany on the 29th of May, and on the 30th of may I had my half time seminar, where I presented what I had done so far. It went well and I got mostly positive comments.

In June and July I got some rest from travelling, but spent time applying for my J1 visa to the US where I was going to spend the fall semester.

August started off with a big geography conference in Kyoto, Japan, International Geographical Union’s regional conference, where I presented an early draft of my fourth paper on demographic and land use changes in the Duhok Governorate. The travel here was financed by an IGU grant and the Royal Physiographic Society. After that followed a week of vacation in lovely (but oh-so-hot-and-humid) Japan.

After returning from Japan, me and my fiance moved from Lund to Karlshamn, and were allowed to settle for a few days before I left to New York, to be a visiting scholar at Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN). Being in New York, I was allowed to start focusing on writing up my research. At least after my short trip to Bonn, Germany, for a COST organized Scale Workshop in October, where me and my colleague from Bayreuth talked about data and scale issues in environment and migration research.

So what did I do apart from travelling and participating in conferences and workshops?

  • I rewrote and resubmitted paper 2 (the one that was rejected in January) and am now keeping my fingers crossed for an “Accept with (minor/major) revisions”
  • I started writing on the scale paper and have so far, together with my co-authors, written a decent draft that now mainly needs some polishing
  • I started writing the background to the fourth paper, demography and agriculture/land cover
  • I started the land cover change analysis for the fourth paper
  • I started this blog!

Now for 2014 I plan the following:

  • Get paper 2 published
  • Finish the scale paper and submit it during the first half of this year
  • Finish the land cover change analysis and write up paper 4, submit by the end of this year

Nice  resolutions, ey? It may not sound like much work, but I know it might be hard to even make these loose deadlines, because I’m teaching and participating in other institution work that longs for my attention. At least, I have no conferences or research visits planned, this year will be dedicated to analyzing and writing only (we’ll see about that).

Happy new old research year!


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