Making Head or Tail of Academic Conferences

For any doctoral student or senior professor, conferences are an important part of academic life. They give you an opportunity to market your work and carve out a niche for yourself among your peers, get feedback on work in progress, build networks with potential employers or collaborators – basically put your name and profile out […]

STEPS Centre Summer School 2014

Two weeks of a thought provoking and intense summer school have left me excited, and intellectually invigorated. I was fortunate to take part in this year’s STEPS Centre Summer School on Pathways to Sustainability, held from 12-23 May 2014. The STEPS Centre (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) is a think tank launched in 2006 by the […]

Halfway Through!

After such an inadvertently long blogging hiatus, I’m back. The last two months of my life have been haphazard, with some deadlines, some travel and some disillusionment. That is where the true test of blogging consistency comes… I’m now exactly halfway through my doctoral studies. Another existential crisis has set in. Actually, it seems like these crises […]

Latest book acquisitions

I now own a personal copy of Richard Nelson and Sidney Winter’s book “An Evolutionary Theory of Economic Change”. I feel like I have officially recruited myself into the world of evolutionary economics, or at least, an evolutionary perspective on technological change. Hopefully their ‘appreciative theorising’ gives me clearer insight on the economic and sociological aspects […]

The Dark Ages of Grad School

We all get into grad school with grand ideas. Ideas to change the way basket weaving is perceived by path-dependent academics… to open minds and horizons, to move knowledge forward. To do ground-breaking research. And for the ambitious ones, to win the Nobel prize (or settle for a conference ‘best-paper award’). These grandiose feelings and […]

Academic Confidence

As a graduate student you’re expected to make a ‘scientific contribution’ to existing knowledge. Matt Might illustrates this process in an illuminating graphic. The first challenge for a new PhD student is to find out if they truly have mastered all human knowledge on their subject of interest. Does one ever get to that point? […]

Academic Lexicon

I thought I had a good grasp of English. At the very least, an advanced level of fluency. This confidence was temporarily erased when I attended a seminar two days into my programme. This guy, an elderly, tweed-jacketed, distinguished European professor of economics walks into the room, whiteboard marker in hand. He starts to talk […]