My first year as an ESR in the i-CONN network held a surprise for me: including publication of the results was the note below the description of the first deliverable of the Work Package 1, in which I, among other ESRs, am assigned to contribute.

This first deliverable referred to theoretical knowledge about structural-functional relationships in networks, which is very much in line with my PhD project. Thus, under the guidelines of my supervisor, I took on the responsibility of its preparation.

Although the first months were devoted to acquiring technical skills and enriching my background in the theory of complex systems, knowing that an article must be submitted at a specific time pushed us in directing the work in such a way, so as the article deadline to be met. Ample meetings and discussions with my supervisor, successful and failed numerical experiments, childish mistakes and steps of progress led to the main idea we regarded valuable to be communicated in a scientific article.

Having a clear idea of the theoretical framework of the article, it was time to embrace the opportunity that i-CONN offers us and ask for contributions of people that work on application scenarios. This would not only support and enrich the content of the article but would also fulfil the actual goal of the deliverable and i-CONN: encouraging collaborative work.

The response of the whole network was amazing! Every person in the network contacted us to discuss whether and how their ideas can fit with our main theoretical line. Plenty of meetings and email exchanges, providing feedback on each other’s work during the months, many iterations of the article within the network ended up to a final article, ready to be submitted. Communication among people from different scientific backgrounds offers this exciting feeling of challenging your brain to understand their perspective and find the best way to communicate yours. I feel that this process was an excellent and beneficial experience for all of us and it was the start of real, scientific cooperation within the whole network.

The strict deadlines and the good organization, the expertise and the support of our leading supervisors, the encouragement I received from the other ESRs, the willingness of all people for such collaboration were the main reasons why this enormous team effort proceeded so smoothly and ended up to success: a published article.

After nine months of work, stress and worries, I can definitely say that the final outcome erased every shady memory that emerged during this period and the whole experience left only good memories of wonderful collaborations, grateful feelings and expectations for further scientific research…