Research from home, a practical guide

Things have changed, to say the least. As a MSCA Fellow the first years of my research project consisted of travelling through Europe with seminars, training courses and conferences spread over multiple countries. But then COVID-19 struck and we’ve been con fined to our homes for more then a year now. The funny thing about doing a PhD in the ROMSOC project is that most of us are quite independent and don’t have an urgent necessity to work in an office.

With a charged laptop and noise cancelling headphones, I can work wherever, whenever. This turned out to not be completely true though. There seems to be a reason that we never abandoned offices. At fi rst this newfound freedom felt great. I could go for a run whenever I felt like it and be back at work with no lost time. If I wanted to make my favourite slow cooked dish, rendang, I would just prepare it in the morning and stir whilst waiting for a simulation run. Technically, as mathematicians we were already quite far from following a dress-code, but I feel that writing a paper in your pyjamas at the faculty might be a bridge too far. But when you work, eat and relax in the same room for a months on end, the lines do start to blur. Therefore, some caution is needed to keep your spirits up and those stress levels down.

Going further into the lockdown I found my schedule drifting off . Waking up a little bit later each day, consequently working a bit longer. Then not working that bit longer and feeling under-productive. Although I had almost complete freedom in choosing when I would do whatever I wanted, I am still a mathematician. As mathematicians, we are always thinking in structures and how to optimise them. More and more I started to experiment with structuring my day and kept the parts that I liked in place. I ended up with rising at 7, work at 7:30, an hour of exercise and lunch at 12, then work till 6 and make sure to relax in the evening to go right back at it again the next day. In the end this is not that diff erent from a regular office schedule, it seems that I reinvented the wheel.

I hope you enjoyed this instalment of our ROMSOC blog. Please find the references below to see the results we have produced since my last blog post [1, 2] to follow the progress of me and my fellow researchers please keep an eye on the ROMSOC website and follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

Marcus Bannenberg

[1] MWFM Bannenberg, A Ciccazzo, and M G ̈unther. Reduced order multirateschemes for coupled differential-algebraic systems. 2021.2
[2] MWFM Bannenberg, F Kasolis, M G ̈unther, and M Clemens. Maximumentropy snapshot sampling for reduced basis modelling.preprint, 2020.