On the 4th-6th of July 2019, 50 participants (31 PhD Students, 5 Postdocs and 11 Professors) from the University of Tübingen and the University of Bern travelled to the beautiful Black Forest, Grafenhausen, for the third summer school of the International PhD program Bern-Tübingen "Interdisciplinary Sport Science" of the Sport Science Institutes.
Throughout the three days, a wide range of topics from diverse disciplines of sport science were discussed in a parallel session format both in German and English, featuring work from the PhD student's projects. The parallel sessions were complemented with insightful discussions on theoretical frameworks, methods, and the impact of the research findings.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are becoming widely applied in sports science research, especially among young PhD researchers. However, conducting such analyses requires not only a great deal of time but also an advanced professional knowledge of literature searching, mathematics, statistics and computer science. While the majority guidelines on systematic reviews focus on how to report or appraise systematic reviews, there is currently a lack of guidance on how to actually conduct evidence synthesis. Hence, it is necessary for the young researchers to have a simplified version of a protocol to help them to efficiently conduct accurate meta-analyses. As such, one of the guest lectures of the summer school, Mr. Taulant Muka (research group leader on Cardiometabolic Health, nearby the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM), University of Bern), provided the PhD students with a clear and concise 24-step guideline on how to perform systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The presentation did not attempt to serve as a comprehensive theoretical guide, but instead described a rigorous way to conduct meta-analysis. After the presentation, there were many discussions from the PhD students and more practical sessions of this nature were required to be considered in the future PhD Schools.
Another highlight of the trip was the keynote lecture co-delivered by Prof. Hong Yu Wong and Prof. Dr. Barbara Kaup from University of Tübingen. This thought-provoking talk really emulated the interdisciplinary nature of the summer school, opening up discussion for topics that wouldn’t always come up in the sports science department. The themes addressed are undoubtably at the core of many topics we approach in sports science research, focussing on the body from a holistic perspective, and how we relate to our bodies to adopt them as our own. The lecture gave a great overview into how different sources of sensory information is processed and integrated in the body, looking at how this can affect the development of language, body-ownership, and more broadly speaking, the sense of self. This philosophical perspective was refreshing to hear and enjoyed by all. It stimulated a lot of interesting discussion with people from different fields engaging in the big questions asked.
Despite the intensive scientific discussion, the social event in the evening provided a platform for social networking among the summer school participants, with a night of having a "Tannzäpfle" and open mic discussions.
The fireside chat under the beautiful sunset of Black Forest was led by Prof. Dr. Ansgar Thiel and Prof. Dr. Siegfried Nagel. PhD, post docs, and supervisors openly discussed the journey and challenges of a cumulative dissertation.
Hiking, swimming in nearby lake and beer testing at the Rothaus Brewery was the social program Friday afternoon.
All in all, it is safe to say that the Summer School this year was a success, as it was filled with engaging presentations, discussions, networking and leisure activities in a most peaceful setting.
Betelihem Alemu, Amie Wallman-Jones, and Helga Dizdari