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Maastricht Young Academy
The Maastricht Young Academy (MYA) is a group of early-career scientists from Maastricht University. Their aim is to operate as an independent - and, when necessary critical - platform within the university.
The focus of the MYA lies primarily on four thematic pillars:
- science policy
- science communication
- interdisciplinary research
From left to right:
Anique de Bruin
Steven Kelk (vice-chair)
Blanche Schroen (chair)
Federico De Martino
The MYA provides solicited and unsolicited advice concerning these topics to bodies across the university, including the Executive Board and the Board of Deans. In addition, it organises activities on these topics within and outside the university, for academics and for broader audiences. First and foremost, they represent the interests of young academics at the university.
The MYA is also aware that academic institutions simultaneously have a local, regional, national and international role. The members find it important to engage in debates on all these levels when relevant to Maastricht University and, more generally, to the citizens of the province of Limburg. Indeed, the MYA fully endorses the proud tradition of Maastricht University of contributing actively to local and regional well-being.
The MYA is now in the start-up phase and currently consist of 12 members, representing all faculties.
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The MYA aims to be the voice of early career academic staff members. The members focus on policy issues at the level of Maastricht University, but also seek to contribute to debates and policy at local, regional and national level. This relates to policy on academic education as well as on research. The science policy sub-group addresses topics such as career development of early career academics, and the specific challenges faced by young academics in an increasingly stringent academic labour market. As MYA also seeks to build bridges between academics at different stages of their careers, they also advocate policy changes beneficial to academics of all ages and at all levels of seniority.
The MYA believes strongly that researchers should do more to contribute to society than simply advancing their own individual agendas. Outreach and good communication are an inherent part of this. Their aim in these outreach activities is to convey their passion about the work that is undertaken at the university to the public and to raise awareness about the value and role of science in society.
The MYA promotes science communication and outreach from several perspectives including (but not limited to):
- engaging with local newspapers, radio and television
- facilitating high school activities that bring students and university researchers in closer dialogue;
- organising public lectures and events.
To understand the complex problems of today, there is a need for perspectives from different disciplines. True scientific and methodological innovation requires pushing the boundaries of specific disciplines. Because of its interdisciplinary composition, the MYA offers many opportunities to stimulate interdisciplinary research. The MYA members are involved in interdisciplinarity in two ways; first, by promoting interdisciplinary research, and second by actively engaging in interdisciplinary research.
For the MYA internationalisation refers to the concept of seeing the world as the space in which they work, and promoting the benefits of connections between students, staff and other people in that space. Concretely the MYA will advise on matters such as: how to better attract and retain international staff and to make them feel welcome, how to enhance the international profile of the university, and the creation of strong, international alumni networks.