Four young working physicists told their personal story about how they made their career choices; steps were often related to opportunities that more or less occurred by chance. Private circumstances always play a role: "Life is more than a thesis", was the clear take-home message from Serena Oggero (Innovation Consultant at TNO). Bruno Ehrler, group leader Hybrid Solar Cells at AMOLF, said that the good educational system in the Netherlands was one of the factors that played a role in his choice. The other speakers, Mark Beker (co-owner of Nikhef start-up Innoseis) and Mahsa Vahabi (working at ABN AMRO) also emphasised the importance of carefully considering the criteria that a future job must satisfy. Joost Frenken, director of ARCNL, powerfully summarised this when he opened the Young Scientists' Day: "Look beyond the science." He called upon those present to 'think, feel, train and plan' or in other words: 'make the most of every opportunity to learn soft skills, because you will benefit from these for the rest of your life.' Liz van Dijk, head of HRM at NWO-I, added that NWO-I offers support in the form of training courses that PhDs and postdocs can apply for.
Workshops were held in both the morning and afternoon: Effective network conversations, Keep your brain fit handling your workload, The art of presenting science, The art of scientific writing, Starting a science-based company, Setting directions for your future career, Shaping your career outside academia, Yoga workshop, What a personality. One of the participants of the workshop "The art of scientific writing," said afterwards that she had gained a lot of useful tips and tricks: "I will really benefit from these, because I now know that I will often have to write during my future work." The Young Scientists' Day was concluded with informal drinks.
Text: Anita van Stel
Photos: Renee Spigt