The workshop “Scientists Need More! Next Level Productivity Using AI Assistants,” part of the ERA SHUTTLE project, was held at the University of Malta and online, led by Daniel Mertens. It focused on enhancing productivity and output quality in scientific writing using AI tools, teaching over 50 attendees about effective use and potential risks of AI, and providing hands-on experience in using AI for programming and problem-solving, regardless of their prior programming knowledge.

A workshop on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for scientific writing was held between 21st and 22nd November at the University of Malta Common Room as well as online. This occasion marked the first event of the ERA SHUTTLE project. The consortium of the project includes the University of Split as the coordinator, and the University of Malta, the University of Gdansk, Schiller & Mertens GbR, Central European Research Infrastructure Consortium, Association of European Science & Technology Transfer Professionals and AcrossLimits as partners. 

ERA SHUTTLE is an EU-funded project set-up to create a cross-sectoral framework for collaboration for researchers, innovators and other talents from different backgrounds in academic and non-academic R&I institutions to contribute to innovative solutions for contemporary challenges in widening countries.

The workshop titled, “Scientists Need More! Next Level Productivity Using AI Assistants” was conducted by Daniel Mertens, on behalf of the project partner Schiller & Mertens GbR.

Through an interactive approach, he engaged over 50 attendants who were both in-person as well as online attending through Zoom on the use of several AI tools to boost both the productivity by around 25% and quality of output by around 40%.

Following an introduction which demystified how generative AI tools such as ChatGPT operate, the attendants were made aware of the different strengths and weaknesses of different AI tools. Certain tools such as ChatGPT were noted to be better at generating content, however was not as adept at finding information. When it came to seeking out information required by scientific writers, other tools were found to be more appropriate.

In addition to exploring the different tools, attendants were also taught how to prompt the AI in order to have it respond in the most efficient, direct and clear-as-possible manner.

The workshop also explored different use cases for AI tools, such as its utility as a brainstorming companion. However, risks were also discussed, such as how certain AI tools have a tendency to ‘hallucinate’ and provide convincing information which could in fact be false. Therefore, attendants were taught to be prudent and cautious with how they make use of the tools.

Workshop attendants were also given a crash course on how to use the series of AI tools to programme in Python, and use the tools to troubleshoot and solve issues that arise in the process, without having any prior experience in programming at all.

By the end of the workshop, effectively all of the attendants remarked that they will in some manner incorporate one or more of the AI tools which they learned during the two days. Many of the attendants even said they will use the knowledge to teach their peers and colleagues on how to get started, in order to facilitate both of their work.
Marking the first of many insightful events, the ERA SHUTTLE workshop has set a high standard for future collaborations. Stay updated and join us in our journey of innovation by following for more details.