After being awarded Overseas Institutional Visit funding, I was afforded the opportunity to work at the Action in Complex Environments Laboratory (ACELab) at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Canada).
With my PhD project looking at movement-related difficulties in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), much of my research involves examining how different sensorimotor networks (e.g., the brain, visual and motor systems) link together during actions. Such investigation demands the use of innovative scientific equipment, such as mobile eye-tracking and motion capture technology.
Therefore, I teamed up with the world-leading researchers at ACELab, who specialise in developing novel measurement tools and movement analysis techniques. Here, through collaborating with experts in kinesiology, neuroscience, psychology and computer science, I was able to explore and experiment with new, innovative analysis methods that could be employed in my research protocols. Looking forward, I will continue to collaborate with ACELab in his upcoming studies, where I will look to apply these new movement analysis tools into my novel and noteworthy line of interdisciplinary research.
However, my trip to Canada was not confined to methodological development purposes. Instead, the visit allowed me to discuss ideas and share my own project with a wider international audience. Specifically, in addition to my collaborative efforts at ACELab, I was able to visit the Centre for Vision Research (University of Toronto, Ontario) and the Bionic Limbs for Improved Natural Control Lab (Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Alberta), who both offered valuable insight from their own interdisciplinary domains.
Furthermore, I was able to disseminate findings from my own research, through presenting preliminary PhD work at a Canadian Association for Neuroscience satellite symposium and at the International Conference of Predictive Vision. It is hoped that the diverse range of discussions and networking experiences obtained on this trip will propel me towards exciting collaboration opportunities in the future, both during my PhD and beyond.
Overall, my research trip in Canada was a perfect balance of networking, skill development and travelling experiences. I could not recommend it enough to other students considering their own international collaboration opportunities.
Health and Wellbeing, University of Exeter
For more information on OIV funding, download our OIV Guidance notes