Young scientists meet up at Young Faculty of Science
Being an assistant professor can be rather solitary. You often do not have your own research group and also you don't yet have the extensive network of associate professors or professors. The Young Academy aims to change just that. The first edition of the Young Faculty of Science lunch in June was a great success. More lunches are planned.
A strong network of young scientists
Around 30 assistant professors gather in front of the Sitterzaal on 14 June. Some of them already know a few colleagues, but most are strangers to each other. Mingling in this setting is not so easy, judging by the 'green cluster' of three CML researchers. But networking on an empty stomach is difficult, so the sandwiches are warmly welcomed.
After everyone has grabbed a sandwich, organiser Yamila Miguel takes the floor. She and Stéphanie van der Pas are members of the Young Academy Leiden and organise the lunches. Miguel talks about the goal of the Young Faculty of Science lunch: creating an informal place where assistant professors can get to know each other better, with the additional effect of new collaborations and a strengthened network of young scientists.
Many assistant professors are struggling how to prioritise within their job, Van der Pas explains later. 'Should I focus on my own research? On applying for subsidies? On education? On supervising PhD students? It is nice to be able to discuss this with someone in the same career phase and to exchange experiences.' Many assistant professors are also enthusiastic about the idea of working together outside their field, she continues. 'But how do you make that first contact? This is good opportunity to do that, since there is a lot of expertise within our faculty to connect to.'
After the opening talk it is time to break the ice. Van der Pas distributes printed tweets from well-known Twitter channel Shit Academics Say. The assistant professors enthusiastically start looking for their other half and the conversations start.
Van der Pas is happy about the meeting afterwards. 'We think the lunch a great success, many experiences were exchanged. The tenure track in particular was the subject of intense discussion. Is was interesting to learn how different arrangements are at each institute. It was fun and we hope to see both familiar and new faces on 27 August!'