Eindhoven University of Technology: Future is bright for Eindhoven Young Academy of Engineering

Since its inception in 2018, TU Eindhoven Young Academy of Engineering (EYAE) has acted as a platform for young researchers to engage in open discussion and encourage interdisciplinary research amongst other things. But like 2020, EYAE’s activities in 2021 were affected by the pandemic.

“It was a tough year to say the least,” says Yoeri van de Burgt, EYAE board member (department of Mechanical Engineering). “Our professional and personal lives were challenged by the pandemic with many EYAE activities curtailed.”

Despite the disruptions, there were some EYAE highlights. “Our yearly retreat was a physical meeting and a major highlight”, adds Sandra Loerakker, who is also a board member (department of Biomedical Engineering).

”Other highlights include our report on the motivations of early career researchers to stay in or leave academia. We discovered that uncertainty and high pressure discourage many to stay. A follow-up study is on the way. We also evaluated research experiences with the Universal Teaching Qualification (UTQ) program.”

Sandra Loerakker.
Although most of their 2021 activities were affected by pandemic-related restrictions, things are looking good for EYAE in 2022.

“We can’t wait to physically meet our members once again,” says Van de Burgt. “Nothing beats meeting in person to properly get to know each other, and to easily share ideas.”

A key EYAE initiative is the formation of working groups that focus on various topics that can benefit EYAE members, their research, and the campus as a whole, as explained by Loerakker.

“One working group will focus on improving our TU/e visibility, so that young academics know where to find us. Another working group will look at the independence of young researchers in their positions, as some researchers get lots of freedom, but others find themselves in a traditional hierarchal group.”

New EYAE members.
EYAE continued its growth with the addition of six new members in October 2021 – Francesca Grisoni (department of Biomedical Engineering), Max Birk (department of Industrial Design), Maryam Razavian and Karin Smolders (both department of Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences), Pim van der Hoorn (department of Mathematics & Computer Science) and Diletta Giuntini (department of Mechanical Engineering). They join 30 other EYAE members.

Both Loerakker and Van de Burgt recognize the significance of bringing in new talent. “It’s important to keep adding young researchers so that we stay young,” says Loerakker. “And it’s good to add fresh new perspectives from different backgrounds,” adds Van de Burgt.

Diletta Giuntini.
For new member Diletta Giuntini joining EYAE is important in more ways than one: “EYAE is an exciting network to be part of. You meet brilliant colleagues from different areas all of whom share a genuine interest in making TU/e a great place to work at. It’s a great to hear new perspectives and strategies.”

And what does Guintini hope to achieve in EYAE: “I hope to work on promoting interdisciplinarity, internationalization, diversity and inclusion, and providing support to early-career researchers. I’m excited by the possibilities!”

The addition of Guintini and her TU/e colleagues at the end of 2021 has boosted membership, but Van de Burgt and Loerakker are hoping for more members in 2022.

“Next year, the inaugural EYAE members will leave, and they need to be replaced. Of course, we also want the highest quality new members too,” says Van de Burgt.

The call for new members for 2022 will open in May 2022.

Founded in 2018, TU Eindhoven Young Academy of Engineering (EYAE) is a network of enthusiastic, ambitious, and outstanding early career scientists, designers, and engineers with a broad interest and view on science and engineering in general.

EYAE has a number of primary goals:

to be a platform for young researchers for open discussion;
to provide support for early career researchers at TU/e;
to foster interdisciplinary cooperation and research;
to foster excellence in education;
to contribute to valorization (knowledge transfer) and outreach;
and to advise on policies regarding scientific research, education, valorization, outreach and impact both within and beyond TU/e.

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