Special Issue - Iberus Connect: a community of researchers at Campus Iberus to foster work-life balance

Newsletter

Iberus Connect, the international network and community of researchers at Campus Iberus, welcomes scholars from around the world to the consortium of excellent universities: Public University of Navarre, University of La Rioja, University of Lleida and University of Zaragoza. This program is dedicated to give support to international researchers in achieving a healthy work-life balance.

What is Iberus Connect?

Iberus Connect, managed and coordinated by Campus Iberus, is an initiative that aims to integrate international researchers into any of the Universities under its Consortium –Public University of Navarre, University of La Rioja, University of Lleida, and University of Zaragoza– through the creation of an international network and community of researchers.

Campus Iberus, the Campus of International Excellence (CEI) of the Ebro Valley, strategically aggregates research capacities from the public universities of the Autonomous Communities of Aragon and La Rioja, of the Foral Community of Navarra, as well as that of the province of Lleida in Catalonia. The campus focuses on interdisciplinary collaboration fostering clusters in Agrofood and Nutrition, Technologies for Health, Energy and Sustainability, Social and Territorial Development, and Circular Bioeconomy. This brings together research, industry, public administration and other key actors in order to face shared research challenges with an approach based on scientific leadership and excellence.

Bionote:

With a PhD in Fluid Mechanics as FPU Fellow at LIFTEC (University of Zaragoza), Joaquín specializes in thermal management and chemical technologies. Joaquín was awarded a 2-years postdoctoral Marie Skłodowska-Curie IAPP fellowship in Italy (Green Kitchen project). After some years at Bosch Group in Spain, he is currently coordinating the MSCA Programme (Iberus Experience) for 11 postdoctoral researchers at Campus Iberus. Joaquín also has some teaching experience as associate professor in engineering, holding the position for the Spain-Portugal Chapter of the MCAA.

Mentoring program for international researchers

Campus Iberus has launched a mentoring program to facilitate the academic and social integration of international researchers. The program attempts to help newcomers (mainly PhDs) to adapt to the hosting University and to reach a work-life balance by pairing incoming researchers with more experienced ones willing to act as local coaches at their university.

Mentors, experienced researchers, communicate with the mentee before arrival to guide them through administrative processes, urban mobility, and accommodation, promoting work-life balance. Additionally, they are also encouraged to share tips and experiences to help newcomers to settle in the city and integrate as a citizen. They are expected to communicate assertively and give constructive feedback, establishing a trusting relationship with the mentee and identifying their needs and interests.

Iberus Connect mentoring programme at the 4 universities of Campus Iberus
Iberus Connect mentoring programme at the 4 universities of Campus Iberus
Iberus Connect logo

University Ambassadors

University Ambassadors organize socio-cultural activities (welcome to the city, icebreakers, local culture, leisure activities…), supporting mentors and mentees throughout the academic year (at least 3 events). An ambassador needs to know the city and the university well enough to give necessary information and share their experience on the administrative and academic processes. They have to keep in touch with the paired international researchers, with special focus on supporting the mentors.

Moreover, they are responsible for the content creation that can later be used in Campus Iberus social media: Iberus Connect social media (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram…) are managed by Campus Iberus.

Mentors and Ambassadors Rights, Duties and Benefits

To ensure effective support, mentors and ambassadors undergo training in coaching, and intercultural awareness –to enhance their transversal competencies as a mentor–, negotiation, coaching, and leadership, among others. Both mentors and ambassadors play a crucial role in transmitting institutional values, aiding the integration and development of international researchers at each university. They maintain direct contact with Campus Iberus, reporting any issue or difficulty that may arise to the Iberus Connect team.

Mentors and ambassadors are recognized with 15 hours of transversal training, in addition to being considered a merit in Erasmus+ grant scales for international mobility in Europe. Moreover, the experience as mentor or ambassador undoubtedly contributes to their personal development, improvement in language skills, cultural exchange language skills, cultural exchange and international networking.

MSCA Iberus Experience researchers

Researchers from the Iberus Talent and Iberus Experience MSCA-COFUND programs are clear examples of participants deeply involved in the Iberus Connect, both acting as mentors or as mentees. For instance, in the Iberus Experience programme, 11 researchers from 9 nationalities (Argentina, Brazil, India, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Spain and Vietnam) have joined our universities in 2022-2023. These programs attract and retain excellent researchers to an attractive and stimulating environment, and Iberus Connect supports incoming researchers in finding a work-life balance in their new institutions and cities.

Joaquín Capablo
Coordinator of Iberus Experience
jcapablo@yahoo.es
Twitter: @jcapablo

Image by MidJourney
Image by MidJourney
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