Starting a research group: some thoughts for a new paper


It has been 18 months since I started in Berlin to start at the CSB to take over the lead of the clinical epidemiology research group. Recently, the ISTH early career taskforce  have contacted me whether I would be willing to write something about my experiences over the last 18 months as a rookie group leader. The idea is that these experiences, combined with a couple of other papers on similar useful topics for early career researchers, will be published in JTH.

I was a bit reluctant at first, as I believe that how people handle new situations that one encounters as a new group leader is quite dependent on personality and the individual circumstances. But then again, the new situations that i encountered might be more generalizable to other people. So I decided to go ahead and focus more on the description of the new situations I found myself in while trying to keep the personal experiences limited and only for illustrations only.

While writing, I have discerned that there are basically 4 new things about my new situations that I would have loved to realise a bit earlier.

  1. A new research group is never without context; get to know the academic landscape of your research group as this is where you find people for new collaboration etc
  2. You either start a new research group from scratch, or your inherit a research group; be aware that both have very different consequences and require different approaches.
  3. Try to find training and mentoring to help you cope with your new roles that group leaders have; it is not only the role of group leader that you need to get adjusted to. HR manager, accountant, mentor, researcher, project initiator, project manager, consultant are just a couple of roles that I also need to fulfill on a regular basis.
  4. New projects; it is tempting to put all your power, attention time and money behind a project. but sometimes new projects fail. Perhaps start a couple of small side projects as a contingency?

As said, the stuff I describe in the paper might be very specific for my situation and as such not likely to be applicable for everyone. Nonetheless, I hope that reading the paper might help other young researchers to help them prepare for the transition from post-doc to group leader. I will report back when the paper is finished and available online.


ISTH Soccer Match | celebrating NVTH 25th birthday

Dring the ISTH conference which will be held in Amsterdam this summer we will be organising the traditional ISTH Soccer Match (hostland vs the world) on saturday 29th of june in the Olympic Stadium Amsterdam. Before, during and after the soccer Match we will also celebrate the 25th birthday of the NVTH, the Dutch version of the ISTH. More information will follow, but for now I can present you the design of the entrance tickets. Woehoe!

NVTH fussballfest ticket front final

ISTH 2013 Amsterdam

The ISTH 2013 will be held in Amsterdam. This is a nice opportunity for Dutch researchers to really show how a nice conference should be: work hard during intensive debates on good research during the day and relax, drink and meetup with old friends in the evening.

Today I got an email asking me to help in abstract reviewing committee. This is not the first time to get such a request, but being a member of the ISTH and having most of my research n the topic of thrombosis, I feel this is truly an honor.

As a sidenote, I made a remark in an earlier post on the open system of reviewing: should every reviewer relinquish their anonymity?  This is not the case in this abstract selection committee, but there is at least a measure to prevent old boys network bias: all abstract are reviewed and scored in a blinded fashion. This does not prevent that persons can be identified by knowing their previous and ongoing work, but at least it helps to prevent -unconscious- preferential reviewing and scoring.