Project Phase: Pandemics Course

By Dewi Erwan (Published on June 8, 2024)

The Project Phase in the Pandemics Course is designed to provide you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge, create meaningful contributions to the field of pandemic risk mitigation, and foster connections with like-minded individuals. This blog post provides an overview of what to expect during this phase.

Goals

The primary goals of the Project Phase are to:

  • Apply your Knowledge: Use the overview of the field you gained during the learning phase and do a deep dive into one practical, real-world application. 
  • Develop a Portfolio: Create a tangible output that showcases your skills, knowledge, and contributions to pandemic risk mitigation. This can be used during job applications. 
  • Contribute to the Field: Make a meaningful impact by addressing pressing issues in biosecurity and pandemic preparedness.
  • Build Networks: Strengthen your professional network within the biosecurity community, fostering relationships that support you to find opportunities and advance your career’s impact.

Structure

The Project Phase spans the last four weeks of the 12-week Pandemics Course, following the initial eight weeks of structured learning and discussions. This phase emphasises independent work, collaboration with peers, and the development of a final deliverable that demonstrates your understanding and innovative ideas in pandemic prevention, detection, or response.

  • Ideation and project development
    • Sessions 1-7: Throughout the learning phase, you’re encouraged to brainstorm potential project ideas that align with the course content. This period allows you to gather insights, identify areas of interest, and begin formulating a project concept.
    • Session 8: During this session, you’ll refine your project idea with feedback from peers during your discussion. This iterative process is crucial for ensuring that your project is feasible and impactful.
  • Project Idea Form
    • After integrating feedback from your peers on your initial idea in session 8, you will submit a project idea form. You’ll include a brief description of your project idea, objectives, and expected outcomes.
    • We’ll review your submission, and we may provide further guidance on how you can improve and clarify your project plan.
  • Independent Work and Peer Feedback
    • Sessions 9-12: During this period, the focus shifts to executing your project. While the bulk of the work will be done independently, you will continue to engage with your project cohort in weekly meetings. These sessions enable you to give and receive feedback from peers, and get mentorship from your facilitator. 
  • Deliverable
    • After session 12, you’ll finalise your project and prepare a deliverable that describes your work. This could be a research paper, a policy proposal, a technical report, a video presentation, or another format that best suits your project’s nature and goals.
    • You are encouraged to make your deliverable publicly accessible, such as publishing it on platforms like GitHub, YouTube, or a personal blog. Sharing your work helps to disseminate your findings and contributions to a broader audience.
  • Presentation and Evaluation
    • At the course’s closing event, the top submissions will be invited to present their work to the entire course. This is an excellent opportunity to receive feedback, refine your presentation skills, and showcase your achievements.
    • After these presentations, everyone will have the opportunity to discuss their projects in 1-1s with other students. 
  • Job Opportunities and Introductions
    • We will introduce the students with the best projects to relevant experts in the biosecurity community, and we will help them find opportunities to have a huge impact. 

Tips for Success

  • Narrow Project Scope: Begin with a well-defined, manageable project scope. Focus on one primary deliverable to ensure clarity and feasibility. Simplify your project where possible to ensure you can complete it within the four-week timeframe.
  • Iterative Development: Aim to create a minimal viable product (MVP) or proof of concept early in the Project Phase. Use feedback from your cohort and facilitators to iterate and improve your project.
  • Leverage Feedback: Regularly seek input from peers, mentors, and the broader biosecurity community. Constructive criticism will help you identify and address any weaknesses in your project.
  • Time Management: Allocate dedicated time each week for project work. Consistent effort, even if it’s just a few hours weekly, will significantly enhance your progress and final outcome.
  • Ask for Help: Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Use the resources available, including your facilitators, cohort members, and the Slack workspace, to overcome challenges and stay motivated.

Examples of Previous Projects

You can find examples of standout projects from previous iterations of the course here.

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