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Investing in capacity building pays off for the Resilience Engineering community

Friday, 27 January 2023

Developing your own vision as a tenure tracker is key to success

The DeSIRE research and capacity-building programme invested in 17 tenure track positions in the past five years. The results show that a substantial part of the tenure trackers taking part in this programme have built their scientific careers, successfully taking next steps.

Sharing expertise across the borders of disciplines

Joanne Vinke-De Kruijf has been involved in the DeSIRE research programme from the start and has experienced what a dedicated capacity-building programme means for her own career and that of her fellow colleagues. Joanne: “I have learned to put my own research in a broader context and to exchange with researchers from other disciplines. This sounds obvious, but the 4TU.DeSIRE programme enabled me to develop this skill. Looking back, the 4TU.DeSIRE programme has had a greater impact on my tenure track than I anticipated for. It enabled me to experience the advantages of working together across disciplines and I could set an example of what research in the field of Resilience Engineering has to offer.”

Writing research proposals successfully

How to leverage the advantage of investing in collaboration across disciplines is another lesson learned. An investment in collaboration can be time-consuming, without an obvious outcome. However, in the long run these seemingly undirected efforts pay back in visibility and new collaborations. Joanne comments: “To have an overview of what is playing a role in other disciplines, you are able to strengthen your own proposal, especially when you are writing proposals for larger-scale programmes. Strategizing, storytelling, and addressing the viability of research is key to successfully prepare for national and European research fund applications.”

Developing your academic career

In addition to developing a vision in your field and across disciplines, Joanne points out that to get to know your fellow tenure trackers has intrinsic value. While not all tenure tracks are alike, an exchange across faculties and universities helps to understand how the tenure track system works and to put things in perspective. Actively reaching out, co-organizing events and writing research proposals together is a good way to continue learning from each other and obtaining fresh ideas.

The role of 4TU

When it comes to the role of 4TU specifically, the funding for the 5-year 4TU.DeSIRE programme enabled involved tenure trackers to raise their visibility within their universities and with external partners. Taking part in such an activity leads to new invitations for other activities, and with it our visibility develops positively.

 Joanne: “This might not be top of mind when you start as a tenure tracker in a 4TU research programme, but it has served the Resilience Engineering community well. For example, when the Minister of OCW, Robbert Dijkgraaf paid the University of Twente a visit in March 2022, DeSIRE tenure trackers were given the floor. We were able to talk about our expertise in the domain of Resilience Engineering and participated in “Recognition and Rewards” discussions.”

The future of 4TU.DeSIRE

The funding of 4TU.DeSIRE programme has meant that we were able to build a strong infrastructure supporting collaboration and communication. This legacy of the 4TU.DeSIRE programme helps us to build and develop the Resilience Engineering community even further in the coming years as current global events clearly show the importance of resilient systems and the urgency to do research in this area.