Osteology Foundation: What do you think went well in terms of project work during this year?
Farah: The scholarship year has been a very productive year for me. I am very grateful to have worked on different research projects and was able to already publish four original articles in high-impact factor journals and one book chapter. I am now finalising one manuscript and another book chapter, both to be submitted before the end of my Osteology Scholarship year. I want to thank the Osteology Foundation for supporting me and giving me this unique opportunity to develop further as a researcher.
Jeniffer: The possibility of being involved in many research projects exposed me to different situations and I learned distinct aspects – from the development to the execution of clinical trials. This also contributed to enhancing my problem-solving skills, which are essential not only while conducting clinical trials. The positive impact of this experience can be identified in my early achievements, from the scientific papers to be published to the secured Grant for which I was able to apply the knowledge achieved in the previous months.
OF: What final benefits, professionally and personally, do you take home from the Osteology Scholarship year?
Farah: The Osteology Scholarship year has been one of the best years of my life! I have not only grown as a researcher but also as a person. Learning from world-renowned scientists on a daily basis has strengthened my scientific independence and critical way of thinking. On a personal level, I have not only grown as an individual, but I have also learned to appreciate my strengths and weaknesses. I am very grateful to have spent my scholarship year in Sweden and learn its language. Sweden is indeed one of the most beautiful countries in the world!
Jeniffer: This one-year scholarship helped me to solidify the knowledge I have gained through my previous experiences as a clinician and researcher and enhanced it further. It has enabled me to create opportunities that will have a great impact on my career and that will help me to develop higher quality research and, consequently, publications. This experience was for sure one of the landmarks in my career and personal life. Besides the knowledge and memorable moments, I have broadened my network and gained many friends.
OF: How did you perceive the mentorship, research team and working atmosphere?
Farah: I am so grateful for my mentor Prof Christer Dahlin for being such a great mentor and guide during this year. I am thankful for his support, constant encouragement and his valuable knowledge that he has shared with me during this year. I am so excited about our new projects together after the scholarship year ends! I am also grateful to have worked with the amazing research team at the department of biomaterials. I learned something new every single day! The highly professional working atmosphere at the department is one of the best I have experienced during my career path.
Jeniffer: Professor Donos and his team were very supportive during the whole period of the scholarship. The working atmosphere was very friendly and the members of the team were open-minded and respectful. Professor Donos was always willing to help and assist whenever needed. He provided guidance and at the same time gave autonomy, encouraging us to participate in several activities. I always felt comfortable giving my opinion and contributions in different contexts and I perceived that colleagues appreciated and considered its value. I was able to develop meaningful bonds with my fellow workers. It was enjoyable and I am truly grateful to be a member of this team.
OF: What would you do differently if you could start the Osteology Research Scholarship programme again?
Farah: I would not want to do anything differently! I would just do it all over again! This year has been the most rewarding in my academic career. I will always be grateful to the Osteology Foundation for giving me this opportunity of a lifetime.
Jeniffer: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and stricter restrictions in the UK over the past year, many activities at Barts Health NHS Trust, QMUL and COCR were affected. Unfortunately, I was not able to participate in many scientific events, such as the 2020 British Society of Periodontology (BSP) Conference, which was postponed once more due to the second/third lockdown, and the Osteology Research Academy Gothenburg. Additionally, some of the studies and analyses have been delayed and initial thoughts for projects needed to be adapted and changed. That was a great pity, but unfortunately I could not change it.