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A two-week research visit to the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna

My name is Sonya Deschênes and I am an Assistant Professor in Psychology. Thanks to the COORDINATE Transnational Access Visits Programme, I recently had the privilege to conduct research at the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research in Vienna, Austria. This research project focuses on the impact of adverse childhood experiences on chronic health conditions in adulthood, in an effort to better understand the complex relationship between childhood experiences and lifelong health. The European Centre provided an ideal environment for this exploration.

From the moment I arrived, I was welcomed into a community of experts from diverse backgrounds such as economics and public policy. One of the highlights of my visit was the opportunity to engage in discussions with these experts. These conversations provided fresh perspectives and invaluable suggestions for advancing my research. In addition to these discussions, regular meetings with the research team and attendance at their seminars allowed me to immerse myself in their own research and methodologies. This experience significantly enriched my research toolkit and expanded my horizons. The collaborations formed during my visit will undoubtedly endure, contributing to the advancement of my research in the long term. Already, these collaborations have led to a conference presentation at the 2023 European Public Health Conference, a manuscript (currently in preparation), and a successful grant application for further research. I look forward to our ongoing collaborations.

Beyond the professional experience gained from the visit, the warmth and camaraderie of the European Centre's team made my stay truly enjoyable. The environment was collegial, and I particularly enjoyed our daily lunches together. These moments of shared laughter and discussions enhanced the overall experience.

I highly recommend a visit to the European Centre as part of the COORDINATE Transnational Access Visits programme. The blend of expertise and welcoming environment creates an ideal setting for meaningful research endeavors. Beyond the work environment, I truly enjoyed visiting and spending time in Vienna. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to conduct research at the European Centre and look forward to continuing research in this field.


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