On January 1st 2023, professor in Materials Chemistry Moniek Tromp will take over the reigns of the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials as the new director. We spoke to her about her plans for the institute.
By Renée Moezelaar
“Yes, I am really excited. It is a bit hectic now, because I have to transition to this new role and I am also still involved in a lot of other roles, but starting January I hope things will fall into place. And I think there are some nice challenges to face in the coming years, so I am eager to be involved. For me this position as director is really about making changes on the work floor, and translating all the new (national) policy plans into actual benefits for our institute.”
“One of the big themes will be the financing of our research. The funding landscape for the institute but also nationally is changing. There are quite a few new initiatives, for example from Start- and Stimulation funding from the government, to the very large Growth Funds instruments.
At the same time there are a lot of developments and anticipated changes in for example academic career assessment (Recognition and Rewarding). These all are causing a lot of unrest among researchers, so I hope we will be able to manage it in a way that people can just focus on their research and not worry about all these other things. Of course this won’t happen overnight, it is a whole process that we just started, but my aim is to navigate the institute through this as well as possible.
Related to that I am also planning on continuing to put the Zernike Institute on the map, and making sure that we are on top of things when it comes to applying for funding and being involved in large research consortia. Sometimes people forget Groningen a bit, and that is such a pity since we have much to offer. We have to be proactive and make sure we are involved.
And op top of all of this, we will have the SEP evaluation as well as the move to our new Feringa building ahead.”
“What gives me energy in my work is making connections and seeing possibilities to combine efforts. This led to me developing a good network in the research world but also among policy makers. So I am already in a good position to hear what is about to happen and sometimes even to influence the outcome. The challenge now is to use this network to benefit the institute. And also make sure that it’s not only me who is in this position, but to put other people from the institute on the right places and bring our expertise to the table.”
“We are in the unique position that we can look at materials from all sides, and these materials play a key role in all of the problems humanity faces. The broadness of our institute is our strength, there are not many other institutes who work with and on materials from such a diverse perspective. We should really exploit this, and show to the world what we can do.”
“I hope that by then the institute will be in calmer waters. We will have moved to the new building by then, so hopefully people will have settled down and will be happy with where they are and what they can do within our organisation. All the coming changes sometimes lead to polarization, and I hope that we can keep communicating and work towards a suitable solution for everyone. This can be a challenge within the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials since we are such a broad institute with all kinds of disciplines, but as long as we keep talking to each other I think we will be fine.”
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