When Jolanda, my partner, finished her PhD in the Netherlands it was finally time for us to join the band of science nomads, or early career scientists, moving from lab to lab to graze their fertile grounds. As our relationship and her love for science both seemed serious it was clear that I would follow her in her career. I was looking forward to this phase of our life.
I sometimes wonder how people would react if it was me who finished his PhD first and Jolanda following me.
Truth is we do not know where we will be in two years´ time, a complex roulette of available positions, grant writing and weighing of preferences will determine it. And although it is a bit stressful it is also a great adventure, lots of fun and I think an important part in becoming a good scientist. Not everyone agrees, apparently.
Last week I talked to a representative of the Union for Researchers. They were campaigning for more permanent positions for early career researchers. I asked her what she thought of the negative sides of having more permanent positions at the university. She probably thought I was pulling her leg, but I wasn’t. She clearly thought that there would be only positive sides to it. I think in order to become a good scientist you need to have many different experiences from different places before settling down.
I see nothing wrong with traveling around a bit.
So I started something new, I started a blog. Like most beginnings it is not perfect but I’ll promise I’ll be learning.
Bart Pander will start to write a regular blog for us about his life as a self-proclaimed science nomad. He’ll tell us about his life following his wife’s scientific career, rearing a baby in a foreign country and returning to academia himself as a PhD student in the UK after working as a high school science teacher in the Netherlands for a few years.