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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
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Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health
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Aletta’s Talent Network: what, where & who?

Datum:19 juni 2018
Aletta's Talent Network
Aletta's Talent Network

A blog by Hermien Dijk, chair of Aletta's Talent Network

It all started with a pizza dinner. Would I be willing to organize one after the Aletta Research MeetUp for young researchers in the field of public health? ‘Yes, of course,’ I said. I like pizza and I enjoy meeting other researchers in public health. We can sometimes all be caught on our own little islands, be it from economics, humanities, medical sciences, or another field and having a pizza dinner together seemed like a perfect way to bridge these islands.

Build bridges
Obviously, it did not end with just a pizza night for young researchers. Our plans grew bigger, we wanted to do more to connect young researchers in public health and facilitate them in their careers. In the weeks before the MeetUp, Aletta’s Talent Network slowly but surely started to take shape. Together with Steef Konings, Annechien Pronk, Ivonne Lesman and Jochen Mierau we started to think about what we wanted to achieve with the Network and how we would achieve it. Gabriela Matouskova, Daan de Beer and Richard Zwarts helped with all the practical details.

Since the field of public health can be scattered across different faculties, departments and organizations, with each group looking at public health issues from their own background and with their own favoured methodologies, it is important to build bridges between the different islands. We can all gain from the insights provided by peers with different backgrounds. Just like the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health, Aletta’s Talent Network will aim at facilitating the connections between researchers from different backgrounds.

Make connections
Specifically for young researchers career orientation and opportunities are very important. While most of us might currently be working in an academic setting, not all of us will continue to do so after we have finished our research master, PhD or postdoc. In fact, the majority of PhD students do not continue with a career in academics after their PhD and specifically the field of public health offers many non-academic career opportunities. With Aletta’s Talent Network, we decided, we want to enable young researchers to build connections outside academia.

But while we were thinking of goals and making plans, the organizing committee behind Aletta’s Talent Network effectively consisted of only two persons: Steef and me. Fortunately, we were not the only young researchers who believed that establishing a network for our peers could create wonderful opportunities. This week we had our first official meeting with the organizing committee of Aletta’s Talent Network. The organizing committee now consists of seven PhD students from various faculties, all driven to build bridges and provide opportunities within the field of public health.

Exchange knowledge
With Aletta’s Talent Network we want to provide young researchers with the opportunity to learn – from senior experts as well as their peers –  to exchange knowledge and experiences, and to acquire the skills they need as a public health researcher. In addition, members of the network will have the possibility to socialize during informal activities and to meet potential, future employers and discover job opportunities in public health and/or policy. Lastly, with Aletta’s Talent Network young researchers will have the opportunity to participate in research assignments for, and consultancy requests by, external parties.

I am very excited about our plans for next academic year. By helping to build connections and providing learning opportunities.

And the pizza? It was delicious.

If you want to sign up for Aletta’s Talent Network you can do so here.