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.
(a) you have a personal problem with your PhD / career (we offer free consultancy to early career researchers). We can offer free advice and consultancy to early career researchers.
(b) you would like to host a career development workshop at your institution. We can delegate one of the researchers in our network to deliver such a workshop.
(c) you have some resource useful for early career researchers which you would like to share. We will gladly put this resource on our websites.
Daniel is an expert in Open Science practices and in disseminating science through social media. Welcome Daniel!
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.
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:
 Professional agencies hiring PhDs in industry:
(a) Bright Society (high tech)
(b) Science at Work (pharma)
 Dorina Baltag, PhD: workshops for female researchers shifting to industry
 Veronika Cheplygina, PhD: workshops in open science and community building
 Felienne Hermans, PhD: workshops in leadership skills and social media management
 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) Database of useful articles
 Career columns at academic journals:
 Tools for self-assessment/goal setting:
 Cheeky Scientist platform, dedicated to helping PhDs in transferring to industry. The platform offers a number of free resources, including a free guidebook.
 The Good Life blog: a blog dedicated to self-development in academia
 A blog on personal finances, investing & science by Natalia Bielczyk
Bielczyk, N. Z., Ando*, A., Badhwar*, A., Caldinelli*, C., Gao*, M., Haugg*, A., Hernandez*, L., Ito*, K., Kessler*, D., Lurie*, D., Makary*, M. M., Nikolaidis*, A., Veldsman*, M., OHBM Student and Postdoc Special Interest Group (2019). Effective self-management for early career researchers in the natural 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., Hartgerink, C., Havemann, J., Masuzzo, P., Steiner, T. (2019). Ten simple rules for researchers collaborating on Massively Open Online Papers (MOOPs). Under review.
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
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.
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.
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The information we collect about you:
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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.
Natalia 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 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 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.
Since an early age, Alicja 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.
Daniel 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.
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KvK number: 73055093
BTW identificatie number: NL859336128B01
Account number: NL40BUNQ2208715535
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 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.
Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk
Wednesday 16th January 2019, 17:00-17:45
Collegezaal 3, Gebouw/Building 1, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden
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.
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
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.
Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk
Tuesday 19th March, 2019, 16:20-17:40
Gooiland Theater, Hilversum
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.
Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk
Friday 7th June 2019, 9:30am-11:30am
Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands
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.
Speaker: Natalia Bielczyk
Thursday 13th June 2019, 12pm-1pm
Student and Postdoc SIG Space (Studio Room 3), Auditorium Parco Della Musica, Rome, Italy
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 VeronikaCH.com, 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
 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.
 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.
(a) Organization & productivity
(b) Goal setting
(c) Time management