ISEC 2020 was initially supposed to take place at Hotel Jizera, Czech Republic. Sadly, given the global pandemic of COVID-19, we are no longer able to hold ISEC there. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t hold ISEC at all! Due to the present circumstances, we will organize our first ever Online ISEC instead.
Even if you are familiar with the structure of our normal camp, please read this entire document to fully understand the changes we are implementing.
Online ISEC is a free, online experience for any science enthusiasts between the ages of 16 and 24, regardless of their background or skills. Participants will conduct an introductory two-week research project guided by one of our mentors sometime between June 29th and July 26th (more information below). As such, it will follow the same project format as ISEC.
Structure of Online ISEC
As a participant, you will be assigned to a scientific mentor based on your interests and availability. Our mentors are mainly final year Bachelor students, Master students, PhD students or young science teachers. Each mentor will propose several projects, adapting and tailoring them to the interests and capabilities of the participants. Once you have been assigned a mentor, he or she will contact you with some research suggestions that can be modified to fit your skills and education. Keep in mind these are only suggestions – we also encourage you to come up with your own projects! You can check the mentors of Online ISEC here.
The project success will reflect the effort put forth during your “stay” at Online ISEC and we hope you will gain some insight about how scientists conduct research. At the end of the camp, you will be expected to write a report with the work done during Online ISEC and record a short presentation for your fellow participants. We will then gather the best reports and upload them to our website (with your permission), so you can be proud of your work!
The camp will follow a similar structure to the one we originally planned for ISEC 2020, but adjusted to the virtual world. Our normal camp schedule would include two working sessions – three hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon. Online ISEC will allow for more flexibility regarding your preferred schedule, however, the mentors will check in with you on a daily basis. Therefore, please plan on devoting an average of 5 hours of work per day for two weeks (including weekends) to your project. The mentors will be available to answer any questions you may have and help you with the challenges you may encounter.
One of the most important aspects of ISEC is the opportunity to interact with people from cultures that are different from your own. This will be more difficult when we are not sharing a physical space and therefore we are encouraging all applicants to collaborate on a project with 1-2 partners. While this will undoubtedly introduce additional challenges, we truly believe it is important for staying true to the international spirit of ISEC. We understand there may be a need for some exceptions to this guideline and such instances will be considered on a case by case basis.
Although we will not be able to fully recreate the true ISEC experience, we want to make sure that international cooperation and socializing is present at Online ISEC. In order to achieve this, we will encourage not only project collaboration, but also organize activities and games that can be done online through video calls, forums, and chats. It is expected that everyone will participate in these activities a few times a week, although we understand that sometimes conflicts with personal lives may be inevitable.
This will be just a glance of what we would have done at not-online ISEC, and hopefully you will enjoy the opportunity to be silly and laugh and remember that even as you’re growing up and taking on new responsibilities and stresses, there’s always room for a new friend and a good time.
Logistics and Calendar
Due to the world and life-changing situation we are all experiencing, the mentors of ISEC cannot commit to the same two-week interval over the summer that was originally planned for ISEC 2020. Our exams are being rescheduled and our jobs are changing their holidays and we assume the same things may be happening to you as well! To deal with this issue, Online ISEC will start on June 29th and finish on July 26th. However, each project group will start either on June 29th, July 6th, or July 13th and are expected to complete their projects within two weeks of their start date. The specific dates will depend on mentors’, as well as your own availability.
Online ISEC will require a laptop with reliable internet connection to complete your projects. Furthermore, you will also need to have access to a webcam to communicate with your project partner(s) and mentor regularly. The other programs we will be using for communication and project management are all easily downloadable and compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems. A few projects may require some additional materials you can find at home or at a nearby hardware store. If any additional materials are needed, you will be aware of those prior to accepting a project.
The application process will consist of two different parts. The first part will be a form similar to the original ISEC 2020 Application Form. This form will determine whether or not we accept you as a participant to Online ISEC, so make sure you do your best when you fill it out! Once you are accepted, we will send you more information including details of the different projects our mentors have prepared. The application deadline is May 10th, although we highly encourage you to apply early. We will inform you about the outcome of your application by the end of May.
The second part of the application process will consist of matching successful applicants with projects, partners, and a mentor, as well as your two week project timeline. This part will depend on the specific availability of the participants and mentors, as well as participants’ interest in the various projects. Given the constantly changing circumstances we are all experiencing, we understand that you may not currently know your exact availability for July. We do not want this to discourage you from applying, therefore you will be able to choose a time span of two weeks from June 29th to July 26th to do your project. Please, note that not all mentors and projects will be available at all times.
Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact us. We are looking forward to reading your application!