DoctorYou S02E08: NepSAS with Ranjan

Ranjan and Francesco after the live radio talk.

What is the mission of NepSAS? What do the startups they mentor and foster in Nepal do?
Its president, Ranjan Mishra, who is also PhD student at the Department of Biology, guests on today’s episode and tells us about the story, the successes, the challenges and the future perspectives of the Nepali Scientific Association in Switzerland. Innovation, technology transfer, contextualized technologies are keywords. (On on the 09.04.2019.)

Next week…

Is the week of academic writing! Dr. Simon Milligan, who holds courses in academic writing and that many of you have already met, will guest on DoctorYou. Who knows, maybe he will bring you some Easter present in form of some suggestions to upgrade your academic writing skills? Profit of the occasion: have you questions, so send them in on  Instagram or Twitter . If you prefer an anonymous platform, you can use the chat section on this website (top right corner) during the live stream!

See you on Tuesday, 13:15, on


P.S.: if you want to suggest a topic, a guest, an improvement or sharing an experience: use the form below.

DoctorYou S02E07: Science Communication with Patricia

What is science communication about? And what is the work of the communication director in a scientific lab? What are channels for science communication? How can you improve your communication abilities?

Patricia and Francesco after the live talk

Yesterday, 02.04.2019, I discussed these and many other questions with Patricia Schmidt, Director of Communications at the Crowther Lab. In particular she shared some suggestions for a good presentation: here they come!

3 tips for a good presentation

1) Don’t think of a presentation as a presentation

Often people think of a presentation as a slideshow and end up defining themselves and what they say as aid to what they are showing on the slides. Do the other way around! Whatever you show should support what you are saying and your message. Do not hide behind the presentation: it is you who must deliver the message! Be the focus of your presentation and do not let the slides take over!

2) Use your presence on stage to amplify your message

Use your body language and your voice to emphasise the message you want to convey. Think of the different effects that the use of your body language and your voice can have and how they can support the communication of your message.

3) Have a catchy start, a red thread and end with ONE key message

To discover the key message of this episode: listen to the podcast!

Are there some aspects of science communication that you want to know more about? Wirte it on Instagram or Twitter!

Next Tuesday 17:15…

we are going to talk about the Nepali Scientific Association in Switzerland. What motivates this association? What kind of activities do they organize? Tune in to find out more!


DoctorYou S02E06: Peer Mentoring with Laura

26.03.2019: Laura Corman, PostDoc at the Department of Physics guests on DoctorYou to discuss peer mentoring.

Laura tells us about her experience regarding peer mentoring: starting from the first peer mentoring groups she visited we come to speak about the peer mentoring group she is organising and running at the Department of Physics with the support of AMP (Akademischer Mittelbau am Physikdepartement).

Peer mentoring in 3 emojis

I asked her to select 3 emojis to describe peer mentoring. Here they are:🗣 👥💡

Topics of peer mentoring sessions

Some topics that have been treated in these sessions are:

Laura and Francesco after the live radio show.
  • How to look for an industry job?
  • How to supervise Master students?
  • How to review a paper?
  • How to look for a PostDoc?
  • How to read a paper?

And some question which are probably gonna be touched in the future are:

  • How to behave at conferences?
  • How to write a paper?

How does Laura prepare and run a peer mentoring session? The example of the session on the topic „How to read a paper?“

The question arises spontaneously: How do a peer mentoring session and the preparation for it look like?

Laura accompanies us through the process of preparing, organising and running the recent peer mentoring session she had about „How to read a paper?“ We start from the comics she selected which give the starting point for a detailed discussion about how we read a paper. We end up pretty quickly in peer mentoring mood and then look at the whole process and experience from a meta point of view.

The comics Laura choose regarding the topic „How to read a paper?“

If you want to discover a lot of details about peer mentoring and how Laura and I read papers, listen to the episode, soon available on Mixcloud.

Next Tuesday…

Next Tuesday DoctorYou is back. With Patricia we are going to talk about science communication! Tune in at 17:15!

To bridge the wait you find DoctorYou on Instagram Twitter YouTube and the podcasts are available on Mixcloud!


DoctorYou S02E05: Student life as MSc vs. PhD with Stefano

19.03.2019: Stefano Danzi, PhD student at the Department of Materials, guests on DoctorYou. I already interviewed him in the first season of DoctorYou. Today he is back to talk about the differences between MSc and PhD studies.

It is difficult to summarize this episode in few words since we touched on many points and shared a lot of experiences.

Similar but different as 🚲 vs. ✈️

We make the comparison with a bike and an airplane: listen to the episode to know more!

Main points we touch:

  • Getting a salary with the connected feeling some people can have to have to show right away to have to give something back…
  • Different responsibilities
  • Long feedback loop until the quality of your work is assessed by third parties… This might tougher for people with strong need for external validation, while it might be seen as an advantageous point stimulating the development as independent researcher from other people.
  • Different sociality: if you spend a lot of time in the office or in the lab, probably you are going to meet not so many people during your workday. Moreover you usually meet more or less the same people every day. This can be quite different from Master Studies. If you took different courses in slightly different areas, you probably met more and different people every day. This can be sometimes noticed in a different sociality during your PhD studies, than the one you had during your Master Studies.

Next week: peer mentoring!

Next week a Postdoctoral researcher who initiated a peer mentoring group is going to guest on DoctorYou! It is a perfect occasion to ask her about tricks and do’s and don’ts when it comes to running a peer mentoring group!

If you are curious, have a specific question or just want to know more, you are welcome to leave a comment in the social channels of the program! DoctorYou is present on:  InstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

See you on Tuesday at 17:15 on!


DoctorYou S02E04: Settling in as international student with Aditi

12.03.2019: Aditi Chatterjee, third year PhD student at the Department of Earth Sciences guests on DoctorYou. She shares some stories from the times when she arrived in Zurich and from the process of settling in in this new environment! How did she do? What phases did she go through? What are her tips and advices?

Expose yourself

One of the main points of this episode is Aditi’s advice to recently arrived international students to expose themselves to many different environments, for instance by participating in courseworks, talks, workshops, excursions, student activities ecc. This makes it easier to meet new friends, local and international, and to understand how things work at the university by talking with the people you meet in these contexts.

Ask questions

Aditi also tells us about her first times in Zurich, when she was very very careful both scientifically and socially because she didn’t want to make errors. But still there were some questions she had regarding the lab or the social environment, as „Can this contaminate my samples?“ or „How do you reply to ‚Entschuldigung‘?“.

Picture from the e-pic archive of ETH Library

After a short stay back in India, she decided to start to ask these questions to people in her environment and this helped her settling in!

Why is it important to settle in? For Aditi, the feeling of being settled in and of being embedded in a social environment is important to enhance productivity, creativity and to feel more resourceful.

Moreover, having a group of friends and colleagues you regularly talk to might help you manage small and less small problems that can arise during your studies. For instance, if you are isolated and make a mistake in the lab or do not know how to do and administrative task like creating a bank account, it might be easy to start to overthink and make the problem bigger than it is. On the opposite side, sharing the situation with some person in your environment might help you find solutions and might help you to set the situation in a different perspective.

Resources and where to find them

There are many opportunities and resources for students available at ETH and in Zurich, you just have to find them. Look for what you need, ask the people you know and if you do not find it, then maybe it is time to start your own student initiative!:-)

Much more

During this radio talk we covered many more topics… Like the major difference Aditi feels between India and Switzerland, how to make friends, the language barrier, ecc. We also shortly made a small comparison with Aditi’s internship at Caltech. In the video below you find a small teaser. The interview will be soon available on Mixcloud!

How was your experience regarding settling in in Zurich? Discuss on our social media!

DoctorYou is present on:  InstagramTwitter, and YouTube.

Next week

at 17:15 on I am going to discuss the differences between MSc studies and PhD studies with Stefano, who already guested on the first season of DoctorYou! Don’t miss it!