Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling

a foundation dedicated to early career researchers

Find Out More

The policy plan

The foundation aims to:

1. facilitate mentor-mentee relations in academia and industry by the following actions:

(a) raising awareness about the importance of good mentoring in academia and industry, and about the fact that mentoring skills can be trained

(b) disseminating information and advice on mentorship through academic press, and through publicly available channels (blogging / social media / online platforms)

(c) organizing workshops for students and workers, aiming at teaching mentoring skills, both from mentor- and mentee- perspective

(d) designing and testing new mentoring strategies

(e) offering free consultancy on mentoring to both mentors and mentees, as well as offering free mediation to mentors and mentees, via online communication tools (e.g. Skype) and/or in person. Consultancy online and consultancy at the foundation’s headquarters will not be charged. If consultancy requires traveling, the other party will be obliged to cover travel and catering costs.

2. promote open science by the following actions:

(a) facilitating carrying out research projects using open access datasets. The essence of open science is to open doors to all science enthusiasts who would like to participate in research projects. Furthermore, all participants should have equal rights, including the right to propose new projects and take lead on projects.

(b) team work using modern, collaborative tools: writing documents online in an interactive fashion, coding in a group (e.g. through Git / GitHub), openness to collaboration with researchers outside the group.

(c) promoting fairness in science, so that the authorship in the projects is based on merit only, and not on academic title or financial contribution to the project;

(d) all projects carried out in this track are aimed at one of the following:

(i) producing new knowledge and publishing the results in a form of preprints and research publications;

(ii) producing functional new equipment, software or product design, for internal purposes

(e) functional new equipment, software or product design created within the foundation, might be patented.

3. mentor researchers while transitioning from academia to industry by:

(a) consulting researchers in order to help them in improving their resumes

(b) consulting researchers to help them in finding their strengths and key competences

(c) sharing a database of contacts in industry; helping researchers in finding the best match between their personal aims and values, and the values represented by the target employer and performing all further actions, which are related to the aforementioned goals in the broadest sense or which may facilitate achieving these goals.

Multi-year plan


(a) forming the Advisory Board, building a trusted network of external advisors

(b) developing a comprehensive website collecting resources useful for early career researchers in the natural and life sciences

(c) developing a set of materials, e.g. workshops dedicated to self-management and successfully transferring to industry

(d) organizing 'Avengers for Better Science' sponsored by the Mozilla Foundation, a bootcamp for future leaders in science together with Veronika Cheplygina and Aidan Budd


(a) releasing a free quarterly newsletter to all subscribents

(b) partnering with external institutions and companies in the Netherlands

(c) applying for funding from national and international grant programs

(d) conducting a broad online study on post-PhD career tracks


(a) conducting follow-up research projects (depending on the funding)

(b) writing and publishing opinion pieces on the basis of our experiences while solving different cases

(c) forming working groups responsible for different statutory purposes of the foundation

(d) organizing a 'Mentoring Day' at which early career researchers in the natural and life sciences in the Netherlands can meet for (peer-)mentoring sessions and meetings with employers interested in hiring PhDs

Please contact us when:

We are a foundation focused on creating solutions. Therefore, please contact us when:

(a) you have a personal problem with your PhD / career. We can offer free advice and consultancy to early career researchers.

If we can help you directly, we will consult you as soon as we are available. If we cannot help you directly (e.g. because your case requires some out-of-the-box solution, or is complex given formal regulations in the Netherlands), we will ask you for permission to broadcast your case to our Advisory Board and to our trusted network of external advisors. We will then form an ad-hoc working group, and summon an online meeting of the working group supervised by one the the Directors, in order to solve your problem in a team (Fig. A). All the members of the working group will sign a confidentiality clause prohibiting them from sharing details of the case or store any documents related to the case. After solving your case (and/or making recommendation on how to best approach the problem), the data related to the case will be removed from our files.

(b) you have some resource useful for early career researchers which you would like to share. We will gladly put this resource on our websites.

(c) you are looking for career opportunities. We have a trusted network of recruiters whom we might contact you with. If you find your dream job, these recruiters will also book a small kickback fee on the foundation's account for the referral (Fig. B). We can than use these fees to organize mentoring events and trainings for researchers.

The role of Directors

Directors of Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling are appointed in order to execute the statutory purposes of the foundation. Their duties are as follows:

(a) summon the meetings (Chairperson's duty), decide on the directions the foundation is taking, and on the strategic partnerships

(b) keep record of all the meetings and associated stipulations (Secretary's duty)

(c) collect resources for early career researchers and post them on the Stichting Solaris websites, maintain the website

(d) invite new Advisory Boar members, communicate with the Advisory Board, delegate cases to the Advisory Baord

(e) propagate information about the foundation through the social media

(f) keep the books (Treasurer's duty)

Remuneration policy for the Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is not financially rewarded for their work in the Board on behalf of Stichting Solaris. The Directors can only be rewarded financially in a form of a Vacancy payment (Vacatiegeld): if they accept to undertake an additional work as a presenter on behalf on the Foundation (which is not a part of their daily duties specified above). For instance, this situation can happen if the Foundation is invited by a public institution to delegate a speaker who will represent the Foundation by preparing materials and giving a public workshop related to the statutory purposes of the Foundation. In that case, the foundation will invoice the inviting institution, and the presenting Director will be transferred the honorarium. This income should then undergo income personal tax regulations as specified by the Belastingdienst.

Remuneration policy for Staff

At the moment, Stichting Solaris has no staff. In case an employee is recruited, they will be offered an employment contract (either 1.0 FTE or 0.8 FTE) with a pensionary fund. No Collective Labor Agreement applies in this case.

Managing funds

All funds are deployed on the bank account of the Foundation. No expenditure can be made without the approval of the Board of Directors (with an exception of the monthly banking services fee). All Directors have access to the books. All the funds are spent on the statutory purposes of the Foundation: paying honorariums for representing the Foundation in a form of public workshops and talks, as well as covering the logistic costs associated with the free consultancy offered by the Foundation (e.g. reimbursing travel costs for face-to-face meetings).


General news:

October 14th, 2019: Stichting Solaris in the Google Ads grant programme!

We received a grant from Google For Non-profits. The grant is worth 10,000 USD and will be spent on increasing our exposure online.

October 13th, 2019: Stichting Solaris partners with the BeNeLux & France Local Chapter of the Controlled Release Society

August 16th, 2019: Natalia Bielczyk will attend Mozilla Festival, London, October 25th-28th 2019.

Mozilla Festival is an annual event meant to bring together the worldwide Mozilla Community, and communicate recent developments in this community to the world. Natalia was just offered a stipend from Mozilla Foundation to join Mozilla Festival this year! She will use this opportunity to find out more about how the operations of the one and only Mozilla Foundation, and hopefully, to tighten our bonds with this great organization!

August 10th, 2019: Stichting Solaris receives the ANBI status.

ANBI is the official status of the organization for public good in the Netherlands. Congratulations to everyone involved and thank you for your hard work!

July 19th, 2019: Natalia Bielczyk and Stephan Heunis received a prestigious Science Grant from Mozilla Foundation.

The grant is dedicated to organizing an intense 5-day event in Lorentz Centre, Leiden, October 28th - November 1st 2019. The bootcamp will be a cycle of workshops & open discussions on inclusivity, self-care, self-management, mentoring, open science & other topics. The Mozilla Foundation is partnering and will be present to listen about problems of today science and brainstorm solutions with us. Stichting Solaris is the receiving organization and we will manage the funds for the bootcamp.

July 1st, 2019: Ali Khatibi from University of Birmingham joins the Advisory Board of Stichting Solaris.

Ali is a senior researcher is the field of pain and neuroplasticity. He is also actively involved in a range of initiatives increasing awareness about bullying at work and in academic environments. Welcome Ali!

June 20th, 2019: Adeel Razi from Monash University, Melbourne joins the Advisory Board of Stichting Solaris.

Adeel originally came to academia from industry, where he worked in engineering for many years. Now he is an acknowledged researcher in connectomics, a branch of neuroscience. He is very conscious of similarities and differences between academia and industry. Welcome Adeel!

June 19th, 2019: Mozhan Soltani from Leiden University joins the Advisory Board of Stichting Solaris.

Mozhan is an expert in promoting Equality and Diversity in academia. Welcome Mozhan!

May 28th, 2019: Daniel Borek from Ghent University joins the Advisory Board of Stichting Solaris.

Daniel is an expert in Open Science practices and in disseminating science through social media. Welcome Daniel!

April 15th, 2019: Natalia Bielczyk was appointed as an eLife Associate 2019-2020.

Natalia will help the community of eLife Ambassadors by igniting the discussion at the eLife Ambassadors Discourse forum, and giving a workhop on self development to the eLife Ambassadors.

Incoming events:

[1] Stichting Solaris will take part in the organization of the Avengers for Better Science event, Leiden, October 28th - November 1st 2019.

Past events:

[1] Talk "What next? The landscape of post-academic career tracks" at the Brainhack Zurich, October 3rd-4th 2019.

[2] Talk "The job market landscape for PhDs" at workshop "Looking for Jobs Outside of Academia" at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Annual Meeting, Rome June 9th-13th 2019

[3] A keynote lecture "Self-management for early career researchers" at Medical Genetics Center (MGC) workshop, Maastricht June 4th-7th 2019

[4] Workshop "Self-management for early career researchers" at ICT.Open, Hilversum March 19th-20th 2019

[5] Talk "Open mentoring" at Brainhack Warsaw, Warsaw, March 1st-3rd 2019

[6] Talk "Sharing is caring - how mentoring and open science come together to equalize chances for career development in academia" at OpenMR event, Leiden, January 16th 2019

Jobs dedicated to PhDs

PhD graduates are self-motivated, driven people with high ability for critical thinking and solving complex problems. They are both capable of successfully completing individual, highly specialistic projects as well as of working in multicultural, often geographically spread teams. PhDs are naturally curious, keen on constant learning and empathic. In order to graduate from a PhD, you need to stay at the forefront of your research field; propose novel solutions, be fast and accurate at implementing them, closely watch the competition, be persuasive and demonstrate your selling skills.

PhDs might be a game changer to you as they might transform your company into a leader of innovation in your market sector. Big players in IT and pharma industries such as Google and Roche have already realized this and they have high affinity to hiring PhDs.

Therefore, if you are seeking for PhDs as employees, please let us know. We will feature your job offer on our websites, and broadcast it to thousands of PhDs within our network through social media and our newsletter. We will also contact a few public institutions we are in touch with and spread information through their Postdoc associations. We might also suggest some candidates to you straight away.

Post-PhD trajectories

Our first research project concerns investigating post-PhD trajectories. A typical PhD programme gives a very broad range of skills, from hard analytic skills to soft skills such as an ability to self-manage, or an ability to communicate with professionals with different backgrounds. Yet, little is known about the post-PhD trajectories for PhDs transferring from academia towards free job market. It is no secret that in certain areas of the free marketplace, having a PhD is not attractive to employers as PhDs might miss practical experience or meet difficulties adapting to a lifestyle in which daily deadlines are a norm. Hence, the question: is PhD an advantage? In a long time perspective, do PhDs in industry find themselves happy about their lives in general, wealthy and satisfied with their professional career? Do they ever ask themselves ‘what if’? In this project, we will aim to find out and to create a comprehensive report summarising our findings.

If you would like to find out more or actively join the project (either as a researcher or as an interviewed subject in the study), please subscribe to our monthly newsletter and we will provide you with all the details about the project soon:


Where to look for jobs after your PhD in the Netherlands?

[1] Detachering agencies hiring professionals and lending them to companies in industry:

(a) *Bright Society (high tech)

(b) *Science at Work (pharma)

(c) Solvism (high tech)

(d) Trinamics

(e) Brunel

(f) Yacht

(g) TMC

(h) Ormit

(*) specialized in hiring PhDs

[2] 30 companies with the largest R&D departments in the Netherlands

[3] A full list of Dutch companies which are allowed to welcome employees from outside EU

[4] Online databases listing open industry jobs in the Netherlands and other Benelux countries:

(a) (mostly high profile jobs, good for PhDs)

(b) (mostly medium profile jobs for MSc graduates)

(c) (mostly medium profile jobs for MSc graduates)

(d) (mostly medium profile jobs for MSc graduates)

(e) (mostly medium profile jobs for MSc graduates)

(f) * (mostly medium profile jobs for MSc graduates)

(g) * (high tech and data science jobs only)

(*) you can post your CV here to be found by recruiters

Professional services for training soft skills for PhDs in the Netherlands

[1] Dorina Baltag, PhD: workshops for female researchers shifting to industry

[2] Veronika Cheplygina, PhD: workshops in open science and community building

[3] Felienne Hermans, PhD: workshops in leadership skills and social media management

[4] Talent Diggers by Jan Hooikammer: workshops in talent discovery

International professional organizations which you may join as an Early Career Researcher:

[1] BeNeLux & France Local Chapter of the Controlled Release Society (you can meet with the organization representatives at one of the incoming events)

[2] eLife Ambassadors community (operating online)

[3] Science Innovation Union (operating mostly online)

[4] Science Meets Business (Leiden, the Netherlands)

National career development events dedicated to PhDs:

[1] The PhD Day in Groningen, over 700 PhDs in all disciplines, mid-September each year

[2] ICT.Open in Hilversum, over 500 ECRs, mid-March each year

Free online resources:

[1] ECR Central platform managed by the eLife editorial team: a free website dedicated to Early Career Reseachers. It contains:

(a) Community forum

(b) Repository of open travel grant calls

(c) Da tabase of useful articles

[2] Career columns at academic journals:

(a) Nature Career Column

(b) Science Letters to Young Scientists

[3] Tools for self-assessment/goal setting:

(a) Individual Development Plan

(b) Gallup StrengthsFinder

(c) Transferable Skills assessment

[4] Cheeky Scientist platform, dedicated to helping PhDs in transferring to industry. The platform offers a number of free resources, including a free guidebook.

[5] The Good Life blog: a blog dedicated to self-development in academia

[6] A blog on personal finances, investing & science by Natalia Bielczyk

Open calls for positions at which candidates with a PhD are preferred

Data science jobs

[1] Multiple data science jobs at Icoinic

[2] Multiple data science jobs at Viqtor Davis

[3] Data scientist at Dept, Contact

[3] Multiple jobs at InnovatieCluster Drachten. PhDs are welcome here in general! You can view with what particular education you are welcome at each one of the companies involved in the Cluster here.

Peer reviewed literature

Mentoring & Career Development:

Bielczyk, N. Z., Ando*, A., Badhwar*, A., Caldinelli*, C., Gao*, M., Haugg*, A., Hernandez*, L. M., Ito*, K., Kessler*, D., Lurie*, D., Makary*, M. M., Nikolaidis*, A., Veldsman*, M., Allen, C., Bankston, A., Bottenhorn, K. L., Braukmann, R., Calhoun, V., Cheplygina, V., Costa Boffino, C., Ercan, E., Finc, K., Foo, H., Khatibi, A., La, C., Mehler, D. M. A., Narayanan, S., Poldrack, R. A., Raamana, P. R., Salo, T., Goddard-Sebillotte, C., Uddin, L. Q., Valeriani, D., Valk, S. L., Walton, C. C., Ward, P. G. D., Yanes, J. A., Zhou, X., OHBM Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group. Effective self-management for early career researchers in the natural and life sciences. Open Science Framework, DOI:10.17605/OSF.IO/W6EMK

Bielczyk*, N. Z., Veldsman*, M., Ando, A., Caldinelli, C., Makary, M. M., Nikolaidis, A., Scelsi, M. A., Stefan, M., OHBM Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group, Badhwar, A. (2018). Establishing online mentorship for early career researchers: Lessons from the Organization for Human Brain Mapping International Mentoring Programme. European Journal of Neuroscience, IF(2018): 2.941, DOI: 10.1111/ejn.14320

Tennant, J., Bielczyk, N., Cheplygina, V., Greshake Tzovaras, B., Hartgerink, C., Havemann, J., Masuzzo, P., Steiner, T. (2019). Ten simple rules for researchers collaborating on Massively Open Online Papers (MOOPs). Open Science Framework, URL:


Lurie*, D. J., Kessler*, D., Bassett, D. S., Betzel, R. F., Breakspear, M., Keilholz, S., Kucyi, A., Liégeois, R., Lindquist, M. A., McIntosh, A. R., Poldrack, R. A., Shine, J. M., Thompson, W. H., Bielczyk, N. Z., Douw, L., Kraft, D., Miller, R. L., Muthuraman, M., Pasquini, L., Razi, A., Vidaurre, D., Xie, H., Calhoun, V. D. (2018). On the nature of resting fMRI and time-varying functional connectivity. Under review in Network Neuroscience

Bielczyk*, N., Piskała*, K., Płomecka*, M, Radziński, P., Todorova, L., Foryś, U. (2019). A time-delay model of decision making in cortical networks. PLoS ONE 14(2): e0211885, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0211885

Bielczyk, N. (2018). Symptom networks as a clinically relevant solution to the complexity of the neurobiological causes of behaviour. A commentary for Borsboom et al. Brain disorders? Not really: Why network structures block reductionism in psychopathology research. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.18375.39848

Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling Privacy Policy

aligned with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (GDPR)


This Privacy Policy sets out the ways in which Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling collects and uses your personal data (personal information). It also explains what rights you have to access or change your personal data.

Any initiatives by Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling are not intended for children. We do not knowingly collect or maintain the personal information of children under the age of 18. If you are under the age of 18, please do not access Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling at any time or in any manner.

About us

We are a non-profit organisation located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. You may find more information about the goals of the foundation in the deed of formation.

When do we collect information about you?

We will collect any information that you provide to us only when you

(a) fill in application forms / questionnaires released by Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling, or when you subscribe to an event hosted by us

(b) contact us with the intention of becoming an active member of Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling

We do not collect any information about you on the basis of personal correspondence through emails, or your activity on social media related to the events organized by Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling.

How do we store your data

We keep your data in offline documents (as Excel sheets and/or MS Word documents). In both cases, the data is physically located in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, and access rights are restricted to the the current active members of Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling.

What type of information do we collect?

The information we collect about you:

(a) identity and contact data: name, email address, affiliation, academic title, years of experience in research and/or industry

(b) survey data

(c) personal details relevant for events, such as dietary requirements

Sensitive personal data

“Special categories” of particularly sensitive personal information (“Sensitive Personal Data”) require higher levels of protection. Such Sensitive Personal Data includes details about your race or ethnicity, religious or philosophical beliefs, sex life, sexual orientation, political opinions, trade union membership, information about your health and genetic and biometric data. In addition, details about criminal convictions and offences are also subject to higher levels of protection.

At the moment, we do not collect any Sensitive Personal Data.

Information we receive from third parties

We do not reach out to any third parties with respect to your personal data. If your application form is incomplete, we contact you personally in order to fill in the gaps.

How we use information about you

(a) If you fill in open questions in the surveys / questionnairies in order to give us personal feedback, we might further contact you in order to get more information. This information may then be used with a purpose of improving the quality of the Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling initiatives, or to invite you to events organized by Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling

(b) The summary, anonymized statistics can also potentially be used to create open-access materials, to be shared at our websites. This is a non-commercial activity, for the informative purposes only, and aims at improving visibility of the Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling activities

(c) If you deliver a specific personal information such as dietary requirements while assigning for events, this can be used to better serve you at our events

Who we might share your information with

We do not share your information with any third parties. In case we would like to this in the future, we will ask for personal consent.


We do not collect Cookies.

How do we look after your information and how long we keep it for

We will retain your information for as long as is necessary to provide you with the services that you have requested from us. For instance, if you assign for a particular event, your information will be erased after the event - unless you clearly state that you wish to be informed about the next edition of the event during the registration process. If you request to become a member of our startup database, we will hold your contact information permanently, until you request to remove the data from the database, or until the startup dissolves. In case of Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling’s dissolution, all the contact data will be erased.

Your rights to the information we hold about you

You have rights in respect of the information that we hold about you, including:

(a) the right to be informed of the ways in which we use your information, as we seek to do in this Privacy Policy;

(b) the right to ask us not to process your personal data for usage to produce summary statistics;

(c) the right to request access to the information that we hold about you at any moment;

(d) the right to request that we correct or rectify any information that we hold about you which is out of date or incorrect;

(e) in certain circumstances, the right to ask us to stop processing information about you

Changes to this privacy policy

We may make changes to this Privacy Policy from time to time. We will post any changes to our site, or notify you of any material changes by email. Any changes will come into effect the next time you engage with us after the changes have been notified.

It is important that the personal data we hold about you is accurate and current. Please keep us informed if your personal data changes during your relationship with us by updating your profile account information or contacting us via the contact details at the top of this Privacy Notice.

Financial statement

Financial statement for the fiscal year of 2018 (from the day of creation of the Foundation, 7th November 2018 till 31st December 2018):

Donations: 0.00 EUR

Other income: 0.00 EUR

Expenses: 20.00 EUR (bank account fees)

Financial forecast for 2019:

Donation: very hard to predict, as we are just starting

Other income: ~1,000-2,000 EUR (public workshops)

Expenses: 120.00 EUR (bank account fees) + ~1,000-2,000 EUR (paying honorariums for public workshops)

The Team

The Board of Directors


Natalia Bielczyk

Founder, Director & Chairperson

Natalia Bielczyk has a background in Physics, Mathematics and Psychology (3 x MSc), obtained at the College of Interfaculty Studies in Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Warsaw. She is now completing her thesis within the Donders Graduate School, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her research concerns developing new methods for connectomics in the domain of cognitive neuroimaging, i.e. for functional and effective connectivity research. Natalia also currently holds a position of a Career Development and Mentoring Manager within the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group, and serves as an eLife Associate within the eLife Ambassadors community.  In private, she is also a dedicated blogger, and a speaker, giving workshops and talks about self-development in academia and transitions to industry. In November 2018, she founded Stichting Solaris Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling in a response to lack of assistance for early career researchers in career development in academia and beyond.


Stephan Heunis

Director & Treasurer

Stephan Heunis graduated with an M.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Stellenbosch University in South Africa, 2012. He worked as an engineer for four years in two industries (Industrial Automation and Enterprise Mobility) before moving to Europe with the goal of studying neuroscience. Currently, Stephan is a researcher and Phd candidate at the Electrical Engineering department of the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. His research focuses on developing new acquisition and signal processing methods for functional neuroimaging that allow the tracking and visualisation of distributed brain activity patterns in real-time, i.e. while someone is inside an MRI scanner, and applying this in clinical practice. Stephan is passionate about making research and scientific practice more transparent, rigorous and inclusive. He started the Open Science Community Eindhoven, which is part of a wide Dutch network of researchers and university employees, that focuses on improving scientific practice. He is also the founder of OpenMR Benelux, a community working on wider adoption of open science principles in MRI research through talks, discussions, workshops and hackathons.

Stephan and Natalia first met on the Slack channel of Brainhack, an international organisation dedicated to organising hackathons in neuroscience. Natalia gave him few words of advice for the organisation of the first edition of Stephan’s OpenMR Benelux event, and they are friends ever since.


Lara Todorova

Director & Secretary

Lara Todorova is a PhD candidate at the Donders Center for Cognition, Nijmegen, the Netherlands. She is also a member of Language and Interaction Consortium. Lara received her Bachelor title in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics from the Russian State University for the Humanities, and completed her Research Master in Cognitive Science at the University of Trento, Italy. During her Internship at the Donders Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging, she worked on a visual mental imagery project within Prediction and Attention lab by Floris de Lange. In her PhD, Lara investigates how language can influence perceptual decision making using fMRI, MEG and computational modeling. Privately, Lara is interested in facilitating new channels for self-development for early career researchers, and in optimising the publication process.

Natalia and Lara first met in the Donders Graduate School, where they were working hand in hand in the same flex room. They soon discovered that they are both interested in career development, and they have been collaborating ever since.


Alicja Łuszczak


Since an early age, Alicja Łuszczak was fascinated by mathematics, science and technology. She studied at the University of Warsaw and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, graduating with MSc in Computer Science and BSc in Mathematics. She quickly fell in love with the Netherlands after moving here in 2010. Alicja specializes in high-performance distributed data processing systems. She is currently employed as a software engineer at Databricks in Amsterdam, where she works on improving the performance of core components of Apache Spark. Alicja is curious about the situation of researchers in the IT industry. She is also interested in methods for achieving integrity and synergy in working teams, and in how the management and global dynamics within large companies influences efficiency and work satisfaction of their workers.

Alicja and Natalia first met during their teenage years, when they both earned their spurs in mathematical contests.

Advisory board


Daniel Borek

Expert in Open Science

Daniel Borek graduated from Physics at the University of Warsaw, Poland. He is now a PhD candidate at the Department of Data-analysis, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Ghent University, Belgium. His research concerns oscillatory brain dynamics underlying human cognitive flexibility (with a bit of focus on attention and cognitive control). He co-organised two editions of Brainhack Warsaw. He is interested in the topic of productivity and time management for ECRs. His current side-project is about how ideas and influence spread between networks of scientists on Twitter (where he is active too).

Daniel and Natalia have met during Master studies in Warsaw, Poland and successfully organised two editions of Brainhack Warsaw during their PhD programs together.


Patrick Britz

Expert in transfers between academia and industry

Dr Patrick Britz holds a Ph.D. degree in Biopsychology and worked on combining EEG and fMRI as well as on the interaction of emotion and attention. During his Ph.D., he started working for Brain Products GmbH as a scientific consultant and was offered to go to North America to work for Brain Vision LLC. From beginning as a Scientific Consultant, Patrick soon took over more responsibilities and is since 2013 is the President of Brain Vision LLC and since 2017 is the President of Brain Vision Solutions Inc. in Canada.

Brain Vision LLC is the distribution partner for companies of all sizes from academic startup companies to multinational concerns. The partners include Brain Products, NIRx, CGX (Cognionics), EasyCap and CREmedical to name a few. Brain Vision LLC provides solutions to the leading institutes, minds, and companies in North America to drive the most innovative research. Dr. Patrick Britz’s role is also to drive innovation so Brain Vision can offer the solutions you as a customer want to use in the future. Dr Britz perfected the art of predicting where the science will go next.

Dr Britz is a committed supporter of the OHBM International Online Mentoring Program and is aware of the great career options outside academia. Dr. Patrick Britz sees on average 200 applications a year from scientists that want to switch to the industry. He is looking forward to giving insights, tips, and tricks on how to succeed at landing a great job outside academia. As an employer, he is also aware of what PhDs value in their workplace, and how to give them opportunities for self growth.


Chris Hartgerink

Expert in Open Science

Chris Hartgerink is a meta-researcher with a broad interest in how the systems we operate in affect the decisions we are able to make, shifting the balance responsibility from the individual to the system they're in. Integrating meta-research, sociology, and economics, he's building an organization that tries to liberate (research) workers. He has received funding from non-academic sources to do this work, such as the Mozilla Foundation and the Shuttleworth Foundation. He has actively chosen to leave academic institutions behind, because from his perspective, fundamentally changing the system can only truly happen from the outside (more about why he thinks that, here).


Ali Khatibi

Expert in building resilience and interested in minimizing bullying in academia

Dr Ali Khatibi holds a PhD degree in psychology obtained in 2014 from KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium. He started his academic journey by studying Biology at the University of Guilan, Iran, and then he moved to Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran to study Psychology. After his PhD, he moved to Montreal and was a postdoc at the University of Montreal and McGill University (2014-2015; 2017-2019). He is currently a Senior Research Fellow in Pain and neuroplasticity at the Centre of Precision Rehabilitation for Spinal Pain at the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham. His research interest is the study of chronic diseases and cognitive bias in patients, and he has expertise in simultaneous functional imaging of the brain and the spinal cord in human.

Ali likes to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life in trainees and early career researchers. He also tries to increase awareness about bullying at work and in academic environments (like against those decided to leave academia) and wishes to see more diversity and real equality in academia. His experiences of being involved in several teams and working in different environments help him to provide support for others.


Adeel Razi

Expert in transferrable skills

Dr Adeel Razi and his lab develop data science techniques for brain mapping in health and disease. His research interest is in modelling complex, multi-scale, network dynamics of brain structure and function using neuroimaging. He, with Professor Karl Friston, introduced a new dynamic causal model (DCM) for resting state functional MRI which is now in wide use. Dr. Razi is a Senior Research Fellow, ARC DECRA Fellow and Principal Investigator of recently established Computational and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory at the Monash Institute of Cognitive & Clinical Neuroscience and Monash Biomedical Imaging at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. He is an Honorary Senior Research Associate at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging of University College London (UCL) where he also worked from 2012 to 2018. He received the B.E. degree in Electrical Engineering from the N.E.D. University of Engineering & Technology, Pakistan, the M.Sc. degree in Communications Engineering from the University of Technology Aachen (RWTH), Germany, and the Ph.D. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 2012.

Adeel is also mentoring early career researchers is the OHBM International Online Mentoring Programme, and he participated in the 2019 edition of the Lunch with Mentors at the OHBM Annual Meeting in Rome as a mentor.


Mozhan Soltani

Expert in Equality and Diversity

Mozhan Soltani is a PhD candidate at Leiden University. She has previously worked on the application of genetic algorithms for software crash reproduction. Currently she works on software debugging. She is interested in a wide range of topics including: sports, psychology, and teaching. She also has private interest in facilitating equality and diversity in academia. During the course of her PhD studies at TU Delft, she worked in a competitive masculine research group where most of her values, as a female member, were often violated. She has gained invaluable experience regarding reflection, communication and coping strategies. She intends to transfer her experience to junior PhD students.

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KvK number: 73055093

BTW identificatie number: NL859336128B01

Account number: NL40BUNQ2208715535

ANBI status

Address: Veldstraat 48, 6533CD Nijmegen, the Netherlands

Although we are a public foundation and formally we can accept donations, we would like to offer something in an exchange. Therefore, we offer our knowledge and expertize. If you would like to host a workshop about career development or career switching for early career researchers at your institution, please contact us.

Contact: Mattias Hansson, PhD

tel. +31 617 207 143

Are you looking for a challenging job in a vibrant environment on a new market? Iconic is an algorithmic cryptocurrency investment fund located in the headquarters of the Dutch Stock Exchange in Amsterdam. Iconic is currently a leading fund in the Netherlands in terms of returns, and it is now expanding its team. If you are strong at:

(a) Python

(b) signal analysis

(c) data science

and you are interested in:

(a) working at the heart of the financial markets in the Netherlands

(b) becoming a member of a team of young, highly motivated people

(c) competitive salary

(d) getting a professional training in trading & investing

please contact Imre Molnar. PhDs are highly appreciated!

Bright Society Bright Society is a talent incubator for PhDs in high tech and life sciences run fully by PhDs (based in Eindhoven). Bright Society offers a prestigious 3-year talent incubation program, with only 15 spots opened each year. Within the program, PhDs are employed by Bright Society and placed on projects in companies (which can range from startups to corporations). The goal is to incubate talent so that the new class of future leaders in industry is trained. For this reason, Bright Society looks for multipotentiate candidates, who not only present strong research skills but can also demonstrate high communication skills and formulate independent opinions. Extracullicular activities in the CV are highly appreciated.

Importantly, the Bright Society management stays in contact with the PhDs throughout the program, and makes sure that the direct bosses in their workplaces are also good mentors. PhDs are also given two special cards supplied with a number of tokens: Personal Development Card and Social Responsibility Card. With these tokens, they can choose to spend a number of working hours during the year on courses and on projects for public good, respectively. Furthermore, the employment contracts are very attractive: the salary is benchmarked against leading companies in high tech, and the contract with Bright Society can be terminated any moment without any financial consequences. The vision behind Bright Society is community building, therefore, the management also cares that PhDs employed within the company are know each other, and that they stay in touch with the company after the end of incubation period.

Overally, Bright Society is a young company (created in 2014) but it has already built a reputation and it is a highly recommended to PhDs thinking of a career switch.

Science at Work Science at Work is a talent incubator for PhDs in pharma, based in Amsterdam. The agency has a long history, operating since 1977. Science@Work signs a contract with their PhD affiliates and searches for a permanent or temporary jobs for them within life sciences, food industry, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and (petro) chemistry.

The affiliates can be employed at various positions in the departments such as Quality control, Research & Development, Production, Quality Assurance, Product development, Process Validation & Optimization, Sales and Management.

Interestingly, at Science@Work, the preliminary job interviews are conducted with use of webcam so that the candidates do not need to commute for an initial job interview.

Talk "Sharing is caring - how mentoring and open science come together to equalize chances for career development in academia" at OpenMR event, Leiden, January 16th 2019

Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk


Wednesday 16th January 2019, 17:00-17:45

Collegezaal 3, Gebouw/Building 1, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden

Event description:

In the spirit of Open Science, we tend to increase an amount of shared resources, such as codes and datasets, nowadays. However, what else can and should we share in academia? In this talk, we’ll discuss mentoring as one example of a human asset which also can and should be distributed. It is no longer the case that mentoring can only be received from your direct supervisor; there are multiple other options, and you can actively search out for mentoring advice from researchers at every career stage and independent from geographical location. Within the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group, we are interested in developing new tools assisting early career researchers in accelerating their careers. One of our main initiatives is the International Online Mentoring Programme, which, to date, attracted a few hundreds of OHBM members. After two finished cycles of the programme, we are proud to say we feature multiple success stories: mentees from all around the world getting inspired, finding new jobs and personal grants, and coming back to the Programme as mentors. Additionally, this talk aims to ignite discussion about mentorship as a competence which should be featured as part of a standard research CV and acknowledged on equal terms with other research-related competences i.e. publication record, teaching experience or received grants and awards.

Talk "Open mentoring" at Brainhack Warsaw, Warsaw, March 1st-3rd 2019

Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk


Saturday 2nd March 2019, 15:00-15:20

Auditorium 5, Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw, Ludwika Pasteura 5, 02-093, Warsaw, Poland

Event description:

One of the strongest movements in academia nowadays, is the Open Science movement. Its main postulates are: sharing access to high quality datasets with the general public and setting new standards for research reproducibility, e.g. by sharing codes and pipelines through open-access services such as GitHub. What else can and should we share in academia? Mentoring is one example of an asset which can also be shared between researchers all around the world. Today, it is no longer the case that mentoring experience can only be received from the direct supervisor; one can and should search out for advice from multiple researchers at every career stage, independently from geographical location - especially when there is little opportunity to be mentored in the local research environment.

Within the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group, we are interested in assisting early career researchers in accelerating their careers. One of our main initiatives is the International Online Mentoring Programme. Within the Programme, every member of the OHBM community worldwide can become either a mentor, a mentee or both. In this blitz talk, I will review the lessons we learned after over two years of running the programme, and recommendations we can give to young generation of researchers who are just entering their PhD.

Workshop "Self-management for early career researchers" at ICT.Open, Hilversum March 19th-20th 2019

Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk


Tuesday 19th March, 2019, 16:20-17:40

Gooiland Theater, Hilversum

Event description:

Early career researchers in different disciplines face similar challenges, related to fierce competition and constantly changing landscape of their research fields. Very often, factors independent from the early career researcher (such as, in example, constraints related to low quality datasets you need to work with, or a non-cooperative supervisory team) can cause leverage in pressure and stress levels, and give you an impression that your career development is blocked.

However, regardless of the circumstances, there is a number of every day self-management actions you can take in order to increase your overall work satisfaction, and positively influence career chances in the long run. In this workshop, we will discuss the following aspects:

(a) Goal setting and making one’s own opportunities

(b) Managing your time optimally

(c) Tips on taking care of yourself and creating a positive spin around yourself

(d) Recognising and addressing bottlenecks in your projects

(e) Building a craft

(f) Networking and building long-lasting bonds

(g) Finding the right mentors and mentees

(h) Staying vigilant to opportunities outside academia and building an expertise competitive on the open job market

The workshop will be interactive. We will first go through the material, and then discuss how to cherry pick the advice and tailor to your own needs. There are multiple ways to become a happy researcher. Therefore, the goal of the workshop is to help you discover your own, personal path towards happy research life, and give you tools to develop your own personal style of doing science that will give you the best personal experience.

Keynote lecture "Self-management for early career researchers" at Medical Genetics Center (MGC) workshop, Maastricht June 4th-7th 2019

Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk


Friday 7th June 2019, 9:30am-11:30am

Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Event description:

There is a growing disparity between the number of new PhD graduates and the available faculty positions. Effectively, most of the PhD graduates needs to find jobs outside academia. Yet, there is little amount of services dedicated to assisting early career researchers in discovering their core competencies, in searching for employers and landing their dream jobs in industry. Ideally, one should anticipate the potential future market sectors after completing the PhD, and focus on developing transferrable skills during the PhD on that basis. This however, remains a rare practice in the graduate schools. Therefore, in this workshop, we will assume that you have no prior experience with job market in industry. We will discuss the following:

(a) The demand for PhDs in different branches of industry

(b) Paycheck or entrepreneurship? is a traineeship at a company a good start after a PhD?

(c) Defining your key competences, including both hard- and soft skills

(d) Searching for employers who are likely to search for these competences

(e) Searching for employers who share your personal values

(f) The role of networking in searching for jobs

(g) Restructuring your CV and writing a competitive motivational letter

(h) Preparing for job interviews

The workshop will be interactive: we will debunk certain myths related to the job market with use of polls and quizzes. Sharing personal experience by participants will be highly encouraged. The goal of the workshop is to give the participants the information and confidence so they can further search for relevant information on their own, and take first steps towards finding their dream job in industry.

Talk "The job market landscape for PhDs" at workshop "Looking for Jobs Outside of Academia" at the Organization for Human Brain Mapping Annual Meeting, Rome June 9th-13th 2019

Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk


Thursday 13th June 2019, 12pm-1pm

Student and Postdoc SIG Space (Studio Room 3), Auditorium Parco Della Musica, Rome, Italy

Event description:

Even though the majority of PhD graduates eventually leaves academia, there is little amount of services dedicated to assisting early career researchers in defining their core competencies, searching for employers, and getting their dream jobs in industry. In this workshop, we will discuss how to best position yourself on the market on the basis of all your past experience, including both hard and soft skills. Furthermore, we will discuss the demand for PhDs in different branches of industry. We will also discuss the basics and avoiding mistakes - in job applications, cover letters, phone and in-person interviews.

Workshops by Dorina Baltag, PhD, dedicated to female PhD researchers shifting to industry by Dorina Baltag, PhD (based in Maastricht):

(a) Research, analytical & problem-solving thinking

(b) Leadership & team-work capabilities

(c) Managerial skills

(d) Mentorship & coaching competencies

(e) Presentation delivery

Workshops by Veronika Cheplygina, PhD (PixelDot solutions, based in Rotterdam / Eindhoven):

Veronika is an Assistant Professor of pattern recognition at a university in the Netherlands. She is also the owner of PixelDot Solutions, a one person business bridging the gap between life and academia for early career researchers. Her portfolio includes a Spice Girls website she made in 1996, a blog about her life in highschool in 2003 (built from scratch in PHP) and, a blog about academic life, which she originally started in 2009 as a MSc student.

Veronika's workshop portfolio at the moment, includes:

(a) Developing and managing Open Science tools

(b) General career development

(c) Effective use of social media

(d) Community building

Workshops by Felienne Hermans, PhD (based in Leiden / Delft):

(a) Leadership skills

(b) Effective use of social media

[1] eLife Ambassadors community is a community of ECRs from all around the world, going through a year-long process of online training, aiming at achieving greater openness, collaboration, reproducibility, diversity and funding access in life sciences and biomedicine. The applications are usually open in March.

[2] Science Innovation Union is an international network of academics with entrepreneurial minds. It aims to connect and engage academics and young professionals. SIU publishes editorials inspiring academics to try entrepreneurship and organizes training events. SIU is supported by, among others, NatureJobs and Oxford University. You can apply to become a member of the community through the SIU websites for the whole year. There are also free positions within the SIU team you might apply for.

Individual Development Plan by Science Careers: a self assessment tool which can also serve as a guide for career exploration. It can help the user better understand their personal strengths and weakness given their career plans. It separates between interests and strengths. It is recommended to Postdocs but early career stage ECRs can also benefit from it.

Gallup StrengthsFinder: a commercial program to explore five main personal strengths of the user. It does not necessarily focus on strengths that you are using in your daily life, but also gives an insight on which strengths you can put forward to improve so that they become more prominent for your daily life. It also gives an explanation about the setbacks of certain strengths. This could be used to better understand oneself, be more self-aware and avoid certain behavior patterns.

Transferable Skills assessment: a free assessment tool for identifying competences that we obtain during the PhD programme and to get an overview of what we should improve on for the further career development.

The Good Life blog: a blog dedicated to self-development in academia by Marisha Manahova, PhD candidate at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior, Nijmegen, the Netherlands:


(a) Organization & productivity

(b) Goal setting

(c) Time management

(d) Mindset

Solvism run by a professional recruiter, Jonathan Garcia is a recruitment company which takes a personal approach to a job candidate. If you decide to contact the company, you first meet your personal recruiter, in order to discuss your personality and expectations towards the job. Then, you go through a few-stage process of recruitment in which your personal recruiter is looking for jobs and negotiate deals with you. Solvism specializes in hiring candidates in high tech industry, and accepts PhDs with open arms.


Jonathan Garcia