17 December 2020
By Dr. Mohd Aizat bin Mohd Zain, University of Malaya 

Starting January 2020, Malaysia was given opportunity to chair the Early Career Researcher Network (ECRN) for the year 2020, which was decided via the polling system voted upon by every partner country.

Initially, Dr. Lim Voon Ching and Dr. Mohd Aizat were chosen to co-chair this community. However, Dr. Lim Voon Ching left early due to a new job opportunity in January 2020. Afterwards, Dr. Mohd Aizat, Dr. Mohd Iqbal (February – June 2020) and Dr. Wee Hin Boo (July - November 2020) have worked together in co-chairing this community up until end of 2020.

Given the challenging year of 2020 where global communities are facing the unfortunate event of the COVID-19 pandemic, almost all physical gatherings, fieldwork, workshops, seminars and other research activities have been put on hold but we are grateful that technology has enabled us to meet and discuss our research virtually.

Scientific Writing Online Seminar for the Early Career Researchers Network 2020The main activity of ECRN 2020 was the Scientific Writing Online Seminar, which was held on 20th July 2020 during the 3rd GCRF Blue Communities Virtual Annual Meeting. There were 3 main sessions during this online seminar, which was attended  by 79 participants. As publication is the key component in young researchers’ life, the first workshop was delivered on the topic of 'Structuring Research Paper & English Academic Writing' by Dr. Vikki Cheung. Some interesting sub-topics covered in the first workshop were ‘Tips for Scientific Writing in English: Dos & Don’ts” and “How and When to Start Writing”.

After the first session, a round-table discussion was held on the topics of 1) journal selection, 2) responding to reviewers, 3) alternative publication platforms, and 4) undertaking collaborative writing. Panellists for this session were Prof. Dolorosa from Western Philippines University, Prof. Maznah Dahlui from the University of Malaya and Prof Sabine Pahl from University of Plymouth. The session was moderated by Dr. Mohd Aizat.  During this session, many interesting and challenging questions were given by participants to be discussed among the panellists.

The third and final session was an exercise in manuscript writing, which was conducted via Zoom breakout groups in the format of mentor-mentee. The mentors who participated in this session were Dr Goh Hong Ching, Dr. Louisa Evans, Dr Tom Chaigneau, Prof. Lora Fleming, Prof. Melanie Austen and Prof. Sabine Pahl; the session was moderated by Dr. Wee Hin Boo. In this session, the mentors discussed and reviewed several manuscripts submitted by the participants.

Overall, the seminar has been well-received by the ECRN members and the non-ECRN members from the countries of Malaysia, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Starting in 2021, the torch of ECRN chair will be passed to another country as previously. We conducted a meeting among the ECRN members and decided that Indonesia and Vietnam will be co-chairing the ECRN together for another 18 months. Uniquely, this time the ECRN will be chaired by 3 chairpersons and it has been decided they will be Wulan (Indonesia), Thao (Vietnam) and Fauzan (Indonesia). Best of wishes from the Malaysian team to the next ECRN chairs and hopefully 2021 will be a greater year for all of us.

To return to Blue Communities News December 2020, please click here.
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