Whether I was able to conduct my research according to my plan:
My research topic during my stay in Japan, related to detector development for Positron Emission Tomography (PET), differs significantly from my main area of research within high-energy phyiscs. Even though I had to dedicate some time to learn about the specific details of the project I was working on as well as the field as a whole, I managed to complete the task I was set out to perform during this short two month visit. As usual in research, there were some unexpected bumps along the road, this time related to the experimental equipment, but overall the project was concluded successfully and I gained a ton of new knowledge along the way.
Accomplishments and experiences I would never have gotten unless I joined the Summer Program:
The Imaging Physics Team at NIRS, which is the research team I got the honor of being part of during the Summer Program, is one of the most prominent teams in the field. Working with these highly skilled and experienced researchers was certainly a unique opportunity made possible by participating in the program. It was also a highly enriching experience on a personal level, as the program offers a perfect balance between exposure to cutting-edge research and immersing the fellow into the Japanese lifestyle by several interesting cultural experiences, language classes and a homestay experience. It is a perfect chance to get in touch with Japanese people and create lifelong connections. I learned a tremendous amount from the Japanese way of living and behaving, and will most likely carry many of the Japanese customs and traditions with me in my everyday life from now on.
How do I make good use of this experience in my future research:
Both the knowledge gained and the professional contacts made during the program are certainly invaluable for my future career. I also got the opportunity to gain experience within a field with a different focus from my own main research path, which is essential to developing my career in the direction I desire. Apart from being a great merit in my CV and in future job applications, I am aiming for a joint publication with team members at my Japanese host research institution.
Message for future participants:
To make the most of these two months, I advice trying to keep a good balance between your work and experience Japan has to offer apart from research. The general work ethic in Japan displays an impressive dedication, and you will have a fantastic opportunity to perform at your best and accomplish great research results. However, equally important is to make sure to take the time to experience the culture, the beautiful nature and connect with the wonderfully hospitable people of Japan as well as other JSPS fellows. I highly recommend investing some efforts in learning Japanese, it will undoubtedly enhance your experience. All in all, be prepared to be swept away by everything extraordinary that is Japan! The JSPS Summer Program contributed to one of the best summers of my life, both professionally and personally.
Name: Veronica Wallangen Title: PhD-student Institution: Stockholm University Host Institution in Japan: National Institute of Radiological Sciences (NIRS)