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Young Talents meet Research Alumni

In the picture: The participants, including Young Talents, Research Alumni, and the organisers of the event.

The research alumni were: Dr. Daria Berdnikova; Dr. Avijit Kumar Das; Dr. Mathias Decuypere; Prof. Dr. Alexandre Avelino Giffoni Jr.

The Research Alumni Programme organised, in cooperation with the House of Young Talents (HYT), the event “Young Talents meet Research Alumni” on the 11th December 2018. It allowed aspiring academics to benefit from the expertise and experiences of research alumni.

This event began with an introduction of the research alumni and guests. There were students present from a variety of different subjects, such as chemistry, international politics, applied linguistics and mechatronics. There was also a wide variety of different nationalities represented, including scientists from Uzbekistan, Syria, and Belgium.

After the introduction, there was the Academic Café, during which there was discussion oriented around three different but interlinked topics; mobility, funding, and networking. While discussing mobility, the scientists considered various important questions, such as how to decide upon the ideal country for their next research visit. Also discussed was the importance of information mobility, the possibility to share the results of their research, to work in a collaborative, rather than a competitive way. Funding was a very important topic for all those present, because without funding it is almost impossible to dedicate any time to research, and especially to try to research in other countries. To help secure funding, the research alumni advised their guests to constantly seek out new funding opportunities, and to remain flexible about sources of funding. Networking was considered to be essential because of its ability to allow research to move in new directions. Here the research alumni underscored the importance of making use of the networks of other people, particularly senior research advisors. A personal introduction from someone who a professor already knows will be much more effective than a generic email.

The event then concluded with a final session, during which the research alumni gave their closing remarks. A key conclusion was the importance of being open minded, researchers usually will have to consider a wide range of funding possibilities, as well as a range of different locations in which they can conduct their research. One research alumni concluded by stating that, while it certainly important to keep research strategies in mind, ultimately success boils down to a love of the subject, as this love can sustain researchers through all of the difficult situations that they come across.

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