In the last couple of months, my work setup has changed. Not only have I been able to get back to my workplace at the Institute (pictured above) whenever I want to — thanks to diminishing infringements in the course of the Covid19 pandemic — but I have also begun to work in two research projects simultaneously.

To wit: When I started at the Institute of Higher Education Research in 2018, I became involved in a project that was almost finished. I had to contribute to the final report but basically was hired to dig into a side project about science communication. Without external funding at the time, my main focus was at another project, with science communication dragging along in rather slow fashion.

The turnaround came when my colleagues and I obtained funding from the Volkswagen Foundation for a project on corona-related science communication. It seemed logical that I should lead the research team, which effectively consists of one more person plus two more colleagues which parachute in into our reunions to give advise. Yet, as the Institute had other projects advance and not really an abundant roster, I was also chosen to lead a second research group (consisting of four people) on a totally different topic.

Being active in two research projects turns out to be more demanding than I thought. Although I attempt to reserve two days a week for one project, two days a week for the other and one day as a general “wild-card,” I realised that such neat distinctions are almost impossible. Work rhythms (of my colleagues as well as my own) do not adhere to strict schedules, internal and external deadlines have to be met, and a few things simple go wrong from time to time and need instant fixing. This results in me being more or less half-focused and medium involved in both projects.

Therefore, although stereophony inherently is great, I have to advance in my ability to mix them together more smoothly and take some measures to stop it becoming a cacophony. Maybe one would be to switch to a weekly rhythm in project attention. Or maybe my vacations in August will balance things out. I’ll see or rather: hear…


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