- 26 May 2023
- Crafoord lecture hall, SLU Alnarp.
- Prof. Mark Stevens, British Beet Research Organisation, Norwich, UK.
- Prof. Jim Monaghan, Harper Adams University, UK
- Dr. Pieter Verboven, KU Leuven, Belgium
- Prof. Eva Johansson, SLU, Sweden
It all went really well. Only the most minor of technical issues, and only the one emergency technical break needed, we were all done in good time.
My discussant was brilliant. Prof. Mark Stevens of BBRO is renowned as the world expert on the sugar beet virus yellows complex. This is because he has been working as an entomologist / agronomist with a focus on this question since, well, he started his PhD. As far as we could work out, he has two sugar beet storage related projects on his CV. Fortunately, he just knows a lot about all things sugar beet. As Head of Research at BBRO, an active leader of IIRB, and curious researcher, his knowledge is both broad and deep. He also has friends with experience in the field. Also fortunately, he was more than pleasant in his discussion. He understood the task and took it seriously, bringing a suitcase of questions with him. He was very generous with his time, committing a weekend in preparation, a 2:30 wake up to make his flight to Sweden, and his Thursday to sit in discussions with NBR about all things not-storage. So, thank you Mark!
My evaluation committee was also pleasant. I don’t feel like I absolutely nailed all their questions, and I wish I had a few more days to work through things with them, but I’m very happy with our selection of experts. This is probably my biggest regret of the whole event: that I had it on a Friday and thus didn’t have the time to sit down with my evaluators afterwards and discuss things. I had made an effort to not make any contact with this group prior the day, so was worried that they might not get the chance to make the most of their journey to Malmö and Alnarp. Fortunately, Jim has an ex-colleague at Alnarp so they had a good catch up, and Pieter caught some music. Eva is a local, and Mark went home on Friday afternoon for his daughter’s birthday.
The preparation for the day took a lot of time, but didn’t feel overly stressful. This was mainly because I was given the space I needed, and my supervisors organised all the small details. It probably helped that I didn’t have a party organised for after later in the day.