The 30:th of August I submitted my report, officially concluding my endeavour at the Karolinska Institute Summer School in Medical Research (KISS from here on). There is always a sense of relief when you’re done, like a great weight is lifted off your back. Though to be sure: I never felt truly stressed from taking this course. And while some people were a bit nervous at their presentations, no one looked too shaken or stressed out. It seemed like a great experience for most people I talked to.
What are you talking about?
If you don’t know what KISS is, I’ll give you a brief rundown.
- You find yourself a supervisor that is working on research.
- You help them with their research and learn how it’s done.
- You write a report, make a poster and do a presentation for the other students of the course.
And that is basically it. Here is the obvious question: Should you apply for it?
The short answer is: Yes.
The likelihood that you will get an opportunity like this during your time at KI is slim. 2019 they only accepted 2 physiotherapists, but I believe that the more we are why apply, the more they will take on. Here are some things you get:
- A full week of lectures and presentations about research at KI (including sandwiches, coffee and kanellbullar)
- A 17500 kr scholarship, not a lot of money but you don’t have to pay it back.
- A certificate for participating.
- An invaluable foot into the door of science and research.
Scientists with benefits
You will also have a huge benefit when you’re doing your bachelor’s thesis (c-uppsats) because a) you’re already familiar with how to write a report and make a poster, b) you’re already part of a project that you can take part in again and, c) you will be more specialized in reading and understanding reports from an area. For me that is Stroke and Neurology.
The moral argument
Here is another thing: Physiotherapy needs more critical science putting our methods to the test. We are often lumped in with other fields that aren’t precisely based on hard hitting science, and a lot of physiotherapists also subscribe to alternative medicine. I’m not going deeper on that right now, but to be sure: we need more science on the field of physiotherapy.
It’s not super easy, but not super difficult
This is not like normal university, where everything is laid out for you and you mostly know what to study. At least for me, I had to do a lot of independent work from explaining what the course was about, to doing lab tests, writing and practicing for my presentation. This means you have to learn to get driven real fast or perish. My supervisor was also a beginner at having students so it was a learning experience for him. I don’t know how it is for the other disciplines like Biomedicine or Odontology, but I don’t doubt it’s similar. I got a lot of help from my supervisor but he also made sure (aware or unaware) to not lead me by the hand too much, because:
It’s not all that difficult either. They are not expecting you to be a distinguished scientist. My supervisor said it well (I’m paraphrasing):
”You’re very good for a first year student”.
It’s easy to start out with some grandiose ideas!
Of course: you want to do a scientific breakthrough! But pretty quickly you learn humility and live with taking a small first step. And as first steps go, KISS is fantastic. So take it, it’s yours. I formally give you permission!
Here is a link to read about the course!
Applications open later this fall, but you can look for a supervisor already. A lot of your teachers and lecturers work on research and some of them will be excited to take you on. They in turn need more experience in having students working for them so that they can better take on new ones in the future. The field of physiotherapy needs more Science!
I’ve worked really hard to not make this blog 2000 words long, so leave me a like if you appreciate it or share it with a friend at KI that should do science!