PhDs in Public Institutions

Ruud Berkers, PhD

Career Development Strategies E054 From PhD in STEM Towards Clinical Practice in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Dr. Ruud Berkers is currently working as an early-career psychologist at HSK, a mental health care institution with locations across the Netherlands. He uses cognitive-behavioral techniques to treat a wide variety of complaints, including depression, anxiety, ptsd, and burnout.
In a previous stage of his career, he was a cognitive neuroscientist studying human memory, sleep and decision-making, obtaining his PhD at Radboud University Nijmegen and doing a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive & Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany. Prior to that, he studied biology and psychology at Maastricht University, and obtained a Master in Cognitive & Clinical Neurosciences. During the latter program, he gained his first clinical experience working with patients diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition.
From the previous text, it might seem that Ruud’s career went in a straight linear trajectory. However, this is not quite true as his interests have always been broad. During his studies he gained experience in teaching, science journalism, and science policy, along with science and clinical work. At some point during his postdoc, he decided to redirect course and quit his postdoc to work towards a career as a clinical psychologist. He pursued to gain additional education and training, including working in an inpatient clinic specializing in anxiety and compulsive disorders, before landing a job at HSK in the little Dutch city of Ede.

Career Development Strategies E035 From PhD in Biotechnology to European Commission & European Food Safety Authority

Aleksandra Lewandowska is a PhD candidate at Universiteit Gent and Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Her joint PhD project combined genetics, plant physiology and biochemistry to understand how plants react to stress. After four years and long hours in the lab as well as in the greenhouse, she came to the conclusion that it’s time to look beyond the wetlab careers and think about the next steps.

Without even having to move countries, after her PhD funding finished, she was lucky to secure a place at the Blue Book traineeship scheme at the European Commission. While working in the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, she had a look at the process of science-based policymaking, particularly related to Circular Economy. She now continues her EU institution journey during her internship at the European Food Safety Authority, where she is a part of the Emerging Risks team.

Aleksandra has been involved in various science outreach and communication activities since 2005. While she contemplated a full-time SciComm career, she now believes that any science-related job should include a communication component.

Nadia Holden, PhD

Career Development Strategies E032 Science Writing PhD in the National Cancer Research Center

Dr. Nadia Holden is a cell biologist by training. In 2015, she earned her PhD from Stony Brook University, New York. She studied the role of lipid kinases in endocytosis and autophagy.

During graduate school, Nadia had a “mid-PhD crisis” when she realized she wanted to leave academia but didn’t want to leave science. Finding a lack of good career development resources for PhD students at her university, she decided to create her own. She designed a 9-step career development program for busy graduate students, called the PhD Career Ladder Program. In 2014, Nadia gave a TEDx talk called “Reimagining the PhD” to spread the idea that PhD training can no longer be viewed as a one way ticket to tenured professorship. The talk was watched over 250k times to date!

After graduating, Nadia transitioned to a career in science writing. She is currently a science writer/editor for the National Cancer Institute, where she writes about advances in all fields cancer research. She also helps create videos, graphics, and other educational materials dedicated to this topic.

Career Development Strategies E030 Grant Advisory for PhDs – Is Grant Advisory at Universities a Career Path You Should Consider?

Dr. Irina Sheftel (Simanova) is a neuroscientist with ten years of experience in neuroimaging research, as well as in coordination and management of research projects. She holds an MSc degree in human physiology (2008, Moscow University) and a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (2014, Radboud University). During her PhD and postdoc at the Donders Institute, she studied multimodal perception and object recognition in the brain. Last year Irina worked as Grant Advisor at the Vrije University Amsterdam, and she is about to start a new job as a Grant Officer at One Planet Research Centre. In this new position, she will develop public-funded projects within the program Precision Health, Nutrition and Behaviour.

Next to her research career, Irina is a yoga teacher and yoga educator . She has been teaching hatha yoga since 2014. Irina works on integrating contemplative traditions and innovative research. In 2018 she joined Network Yoga Therapy, an international platform for education and support of healthcare professionals, where she helped to organize the Yoga Therapy Conference and several other science courses. Currently, she contributes as a guest teacher to the Yoga Teacher and Personal Development Training for Healthcare Professionals in Amsterdam.

“I will be happy to talk about my experience in the field of grant advice/research support. I do not consider my path as a failure of a science career. Instead, it’s a shift to a new role that allows me to stay in the academic world, and fits my personality well. For a long time, I did not know that was possible. I will also be happy to answer questions about yoga and yoga therapy.”

Carmen-Rietdijk-PhD-CDr-Coaching

Career Development Strategies E027 A PhD as a Politician? Carmen Rietdijk on Politics, Coaching for PhDs, and Work-life Balance

Dr. Carmen Rietdijk obtained her PhD in Neuroscience from Utrecht University in 2016. In her PhD, she investigated the expression and function of Toll-like receptors on enteric neurons, which is one of the mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s Disease. Today, she is actively involved in politics and a representative of the Dutch Liberal Democrats party (D66) in the city council of Utrechtse Heuvelrug. She covers the topics related to youth, families, education, healthcare, environment, and culture.

Next to her political career, Carmen is also a certified coach and offers one-on-one coaching to PhD candidates through her company CDr Coaching (https://cdrcoaching.nl). She supports PhD candidates who struggle with issues of motivation, emotional well-being, and stress. She coaches PhD candidates at all stages of their PhD: whether they are trying to find their way in their first year, facing a lack of motivation and confidence later on, or are wrestling with the last steps towards their PhD defense. She is also active on Twitter (@CDrCoaching) where she posts about PhD-related topics and answers questions posted by PhD candidates. She also writes a blog about how to cope with grad school.

In this episode, Carmen told us how she started her career as a politician after her PhD. How to get involved? What are the factors for success in politics? How to help PhDs to get through the graduate school and successfully complete their PhD program? How to marry a career in politics and a side-hustle as a coach with family life?

Career Development Strategies E020 What Do PhD Careers in Institutions Building Infrastructure for Open Science Look Like?

Dr. Ricarda Braukmann has a multi-disciplinary background in Psychology (BSc) and Cognitive Neuroscience (MSc), and she received her PhD in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience from the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands in 2018.

During her PhD, she went for an internship arranged by the Professional PhD Program from the PhD Candidates Network of the Netherlands (PNN, https://hetpnn.nl/en/category/ppp/). Her internship took place at the Social Sciences at Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS), the Netherlands institute for permanent access to digital research resources.

Today, Ricarda works as a Program Leader at DANS. As such, she is part of the policy and communication department and involved in various projects promoting Open Science and sustainable Data Management. Ricarda has, for instance, been involved in the creation of an online Research Data Management training module for early-career scientists (www.cessda.eu/DMGuide). She is also currently leading the engagement and communication work package of FREYA, an EU project on Persistent Identifiers (https://www.project-freya.eu/en).

In this webinar, Ricarda told us all about her job at DANS. How do the workflow and the management look like? What does DANS do for Open Science? What does a “career” mean in such a place? Ricky also shared her insights on how to be a happy PhD candidate and her approach to careers in general.

Career Development Strategies E016 How To Hop From the Bench to Science Policy as a PhD? Adriana Bankston on Science Legislation

Dr. Adriana Bankston is a Principal Legislative Analyst in the University of California (UC) Office of Federal Governmental Relations, where she serves as an advocate for UC with Congress, the Administration, and federal agencies. Prior to this position, Adriana was a Policy & Advocacy Fellow at The Society for Neuroscience (SfN), where she provided staff support for special and ongoing projects, including SfN’s annual lobby event and the society’s annual meeting. In addition to working at UC, Adriana serves as Co-Director of the Policy Taskforce at Future of Research (FoR), a non-profit organization that empowers early career scientists. She is also Chief Outreach Officer at the Journal of Science Policy and Governance (JSPG), a non-profit and interdisciplinary peer review publication serving as a vehicle for early career researchers to publish on science policy topics. More recently, Adriana became a Biomedical Workforce & Policy Research Investigator at the STEM Advocacy Institute (SAi), a think-tank building tools to expand pathways of access between science and society. Adriana obtained her PhD in Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology from Emory University and a Bachelor’s in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.

In this episode, Adriana told us about her impressive career transition, and her long way from Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology to Science Policy. What does it take to make the transition? How to build your career in Science Policy? What can you do early in your career to prepare for the industry position? Let’s find out!

Career Development Strategies E005 How Do Jobs in Public-Private Space Look? PhDs in Business Development: Do You Need MBA Title?

Dr. Ian Cameron works at the exciting interface between academia, entrepreneurship, industry, and society. Ian holds an impressive combination of positions: at the same time, he works as a coordinator at NeuroTech-NL, as a Domain Expert, Mental/Cognitive Health & Well-being, Precision Health & Nutrition, OnePlanet at OnePlanet Research Centre, a Senior Researcher at the Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University Nijmegen, and a Senior Researcher at the Biomedical Signals and Systems, University of Twente. He is driven towards the societal applications from neuroscience and psychological research and brings management and entrepreneurial practices to academia. Ian enjoys working in multidisciplinary and team-based environments involving people from diverse organizations and backgrounds.

Ian has an MBA from TIAS School for Business and Society, in the Netherlands, where he wrote his management thesis about the alignment of culture, structure, and strategy to achieve societal impact from research. Beforehand, Ian earned his PhD from Queen’s University, in Canada, and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, both involving human neuroimaging and behavioral studies.

As a researcher, he is interested in big-picture questions that connect neuroscience discoveries to clinical and societal applications. Specifically, Ian specializes in cognition and sensory-motor control in movement disorders, making use of functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and eye-tracking techniques.

In this webinar, Ian told us how to juggle a few jobs at a time, what new opportunities for researchers currently emerge in the private-public space, and whether it is compulsory to get an MBA title in order to work as a business developer.