Life in Academia


Dr. Gözel Shakeri
Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems


Prof. Dr. Susanne Boll
Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems


MSc Saja Aljuneidi
OFFIS - Interactive Systems


MSc Frederike Jung
OFFIS - Personal Pervasive Computing


MSc Hatice Şahin
Media Informatics and Multimedia Systems



MSc Sophie Grimme
OFFIS - Interactive Systems


Life in Academia


Life in Academia is a series of talks which engages experts and interested audiences in critical conversations around academia. The topics of these seminars offer a wide variety of impulses, ranging from academic culture, well-being, and societal norms, as well as their interplay with each other. Life in Academia amplifies and empowers diverse voices in an accessible way to celebrate progress, not perfection. 

Through this series, we aim to: 

  • discuss whether, where, and how academia must evolve in order to be more inclusive and supportive  
  • dissect the impact of academia on societal norms and vice versa 
  • foster an inclusive and supportive environment, aiming at providing helpful insights into STEM topics 

Life in Academia takes place during the summer term 2022 (April - July), twice a month on Tuesdays at 4pm CEST via Zoom. After a short introduction, the speakers may share and discuss their work, thoughts, and experiences through talks, participatory seminars, or workshops. Each session is then followed by a discussion of the content.  

Life in Academia will be held in the English language as it allows for an international audience.  

Join our mailing list

Life in Academia is open to all people interested in the topics. We hold two meet ups a month during each semester, with information sessions and talks from leaders in academia and industry, as well as providing a supportive network for new PhD students and early career researchers. Please add yourself to our mailing list  to be updated on all our activities, or follow the members of Life in Academia on social media to stay up to date on our events.  


Feedback & Code of Conduct

If you have any questions, concerns, or ideas for future topics, please do not hesitate to voice them with the organizers via this form.  

Please have a look at our Code of Conduct.

Please note: The link will be available about 15 minutes before the conversation.

Past Events:

Burnout in Academia - 14/06/2022

Dr. Maryam Aldossari (College of Business and Social Science, Aston Business School, Birmingham, UK), Dr. Sara Chaudhry (School of Business, Economics and Informatics, Birkbeck University of London, London, UK)


In this talk we will consider the current conceptualisation of burnout and and then explore its practical relevance in the context of a post-pandemic world and the ever-changing education sector and academic career path. The overall aim is to bring together a range of voices to discuss our personal, and collective, experiences of emotional exhaustion, feelings of depersonalisation and diminished professional efficacy in both work and life/family spheres.



Sara Chaudhry is a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Management at Birkbeck, University of London, UK. Her research contributes to two key research streams: i) diversity and employment experiences (across varied international contexts and employee groups) and ii) the changing employment relationship (i.e. processes of marketisation, individualisation & flexibilization). She has published in world-leading (ABS 4*/3*) journals and since the pandemic has become interested both personally and theoretically in the experiences of burnout.

Maryam Aldossari is a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management at Aston Business School. Her research interests cover amongst other topics, equality and workforce diversity, women’s employment, international assignment management, and psychological contract. She has published in a wide range of outlets, including international journals (such as Work, Employment and Society, International Journal of Human Resource Management), special issues and edited books.

Where: tba

When: 14/06/2022 at 4pm CEST

Additional resources: Aldossari, M. and Chaudhry, S. (2021), Women and burnout in the context of a pandemic. Gender Work Organ, 28: 826-834.

Time to Say Good-bye to our Heroes? Creating the Academia we Want and Need - 31/05/2022

Prof. Dr. Lindy Elkins-Tanton (School Of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, USA)


Our current research approach in academia can be called the “hero model,” where professors in sub-disciplines control a pyramid of resources—mini-fiefdoms that end up vying for attention, students, and budget. This model has tended to disincentivize collaboration, encourage cutthroat competition for resources, and in the worst cases, facilitate bullying and harassment. Without collaboration, research tends away from interdisciplinary work, where many of the true breakthroughs in science and technology emerge. The research community needs to move toward a more team-based model, with multidisciplinary groups addressing big challenges in science and society. To solve big problems such as climate change, we need multiple skillsets and voices.


Lindy Elkins-Tanton is a scientist studying the formation and evolution of rocky planets. She also works on creation of effective interdisciplinary teams for maximizing discovery, and student-centered learning and the reformation of education for the Information Age. Elkins-Tanton is the Principal Investigator of the NASA Psyche mission, ASU Vice President for the Interplanetary Initiative, and co-founder of Beagle Learning, a tech company led by CEO Turner Bohlen, training and measuring problem-solving and critical thinking. She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from MIT. She was a researcher at Brown University, faculty at MIT, and a director at the Carnegie Institution for Science before moving to a directorship at Arizona State University. She has led four field expeditions in Siberia. She has been the Astor Fellow at Oxford University, is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and of the American Mineralogical Society, and a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. Asteroid (8252) Elkins-Tanton is named for her.

For more, check out Lindy's blog post on this topic:

Where: tba

When: 31/05/2022 at 4pm CEST

Decoloniality and Digital Innovation - 24/05/2022

Prof. Dr. Nicola Bidwell (Aalborg University and International University of Management, Namibia)


Technology production in Africa is entangled in a mesh of postcolonial relations. Asymmetric relationships between centres of colonial power and the periphery govern the movement of people, activities, concepts and things, including technological and socio-technical systems. Colonialism also imposes a paradigm for technology production that performs in the identity of innovation, by determining how innovation is embodied and enacted. This talk introduces themes about decoloniality emerging from my experiences living, teaching and researching in Africa over the last 15 years. I especially draw on two recent cases (in digital mental health and community networks), to suggest ways that academic researchers can support decoloniality in computer science.

Magoro. K.D., Bidwell N.J., (2022). Land, Letṧema and Leola: Digital Transformation on a Rural Community’s own Terms. In 'Innovation Practices for Digital Transformation in the Global South'. Springer. In Press.

SR Pendse et al (2022). From Treat-ment to Healing: Envisioning a Decolonial Digital Mental Health. CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI’22). In Press.


Nic has researched at the intersection of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) and social informatics since 2001, focusing on contexts that are marginalized by techno-geopolitics. Her rich international research collaborations include industry and interdisciplinary university groups, and national and local NGOs. Nic has served on high profile cross-sector and intergovernmental panels, keynoted at academic conferences (e.g., Participatory Design and Mobile HCI), received awards for contributions to social and economic development and her work has informed policy debate. She initiated the first panel on Indigenous Led Digital Enterprise, when she hosted OzCHI in Cairns, and co-founded the ACM African HCI Conference. She is an associate editor of ACM TOCHI and AI & Society journals, and Chair of the Sustainability Committee for the Executive Committee of ACM’s Special Interest Group in HCI (SIGCHI). Nic has held positions in departments of computing, informatics and IT in Australian, European and African universities, with teaching and graduate supervision focused on responsible HCI, research and engineering. She is Associate Professor and Research Group Head of Techno-Anthropology and Participation in Aalborg University’s Technical Faculty of IT and Design, and adjunct Professor at the International University of Management, Namibia.

To learn more about Nic and her work, check out her google scholar page and  her post calling for a Sustainability Committee for SIGCHI

Where: tba

When: 24/05/2022 at 4pm CEST

Sources: Magoro et al. (2022) Land, Letṧ ema and Leola: Digital Transformation on a Rural Community’s Own Terms


A few thoughts on work-life balance - 03/05/2022

Prof. Dr. Wim Vanderbauwhede (School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland)


Many people working academia find it difficult to achieve or maintain a good work-life balance. In this talk I would like to share some of my thoughts on the reasons for this, the consequences of working too much, the benefits of having the right balance, and ways of achieving a better balance. The talk is very much based on my personal views and experiences, but I hope there is some interest in sharing these.


Prof Dr Wim Vanderbauwhede has been a lecturer & researcher in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow since April 2004. Previously, he was a Research Assistant at Strathclyde University. He received a PhD in Electrotechnical Engineering from the University of Gent, Belgium in 1996. His research has resulted in over 150 refereed conference and journal papers. Before returning to academic research, Dr. Vanderbauwhede worked as a Mixed-mode Design Engineer and Senior Technology R&D Engineer for Alcatel Microelectronics.

To learn more about Wim and his work, have a look at:

Resources: slides of the presentation


Let's Talk about the Mental Health of PhD Students and Early Career Researchers - 05/04/2022

Dr. Patrizia Di Campli San Vito (School of Computing Science, University of Glasgow, Scotland)


Doing a PhD is a highly rewarding and mind opening experience. But it is also challenging, with many different demands putting high pressure on students. These have become worse since the start of the pandemic, as postgraduate students have faced additional financial and health related concerns. Early Career Researchers share some of these challenges, but also face very specific demands set by starting their career in academia.

This talk is going to discuss these challenges and their influence on mental health of PhD students and Early Career Researchers. We will talk about an example of a student-led initiative to support PhD students and their mental health: how it started, how it changed during the pandemic and what the ongoing struggles are.


Dr Patrizia Di Campli San Vito is a Research Associate in Human Computer Interaction in the School of Computing Science at the University of Glasgow, after having finished her PhD in the same institution and field in 2021. She obtained her BSc and MSc in Media Informatics at the University of Ulm in Germany prior to moving to Scotland.

During her PhD Patrizia founded the PhD Support Group within her department and organized it for two years. She was then instrumental in turning the group into the SICSA PhD Support Network (, which has been run by volunteers ever since, aided by the Scottish Informatics and Computing Science Alliance (SICSA). Both initiatives provided easily accessed peer drop in sessions for PhD students where they can discuss any difficulties around mental health or their studies with empathic, trained peers supporting them and listening non-judgmental. Patrizia has been outspoken on behalf of PhD students in general and their mental health in particular in the past and plans to conduct research in that area.

(Changed: 2022-06-23)