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 Maastricht Young Academy appointed new members, a new chair and a vice-chair

The Maastricht Young Academy has appointed Christof Defryn (SBE), Adam Dixon (FASoS), Vanessa LaPointe (FHML), Mark Kawakami and Lilian Tsourdi (FoL), Christoph Rausch and Rico Möckel (FSE) , Lotte Lemmens and Francesco Gentile (FPN) as new members of the Maastricht Young Academy. The members of the Maastricht Young Academy are looking forward to the new ideas and experiences that the new members will contribute.

As of 15 January 2020, Katlijn Haesebrouck (SBE) and Bram Akkermans (FoL) have been appointed as the new chair and vice-chair. Both Katlijn and Bram have been members since the start of the Maastricht Young Academy. They succeed Blanche Schroen (chair) and Steven Kelk (vice-chair). The members of the Maastricht Young Academy express their gratitude to Blanche and Steven for their valuable commitment and welcome Katlijn and Bram in their new role as chair and vice-chair. 

The focus of the MYA lies primarily on four thematic pillars:

  • science policy
  • science communication
  • interdisciplinary research
  • internationalisation.

  Read the Regulations and the Rules of Selection of the Maastricht Young Academy.

Top row from left to right: Mark Kawakami (FoL), Jill Lobbestael (FPN), Lilian Tsourdi (FoL), Christof Defryn (SBE), Vanessa LaPointe (FHML), Mariolina Eliantonio (FoL), Lauren Wagner (FASoS), Rico Möckel (FSE), Francesco Gentile (FPN), Paul Smeets (SBE), Melissa Siegel (SBE), Steven Kelk (FSE)

Bottom row from left to right: Christoph Rausch (FSE), Bram Akkermans (FoL, vice-chair MYA), Adam Dixon (FASoS), Katlijn Haesebrouck (SBE, chair MYA), Anna Harris (FASoS)

The following MYA members are not in the picture: Anique de Bruin (FHML), Blanche Schroen (FHML), Federico de Martino (FPN) and Lotte Lemmens (FPN).

mya group photo 2020

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 currently consists of 21 members, representing all faculties. 

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Watch and learn more about MYA member Mariolina Eliantonio and her research.

Click here to watch the video's of the other MYA members.

Science Policy

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.

Science Communication

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.

Lecture by Ionica Smeets
At the invitation of the MYA, mathematician and professor science communication Ionica Smeets gave a lecture on Monday 25 March called Ionica Smeets, Numbers don’t lie, in which she took the audience on a journey of discovery through the world of misleading figures and graphs.
  Read the interview with Ionica Smeets.
 Watch the summary of her lecture (video).

Interdisciplinary research

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.

@MaastrichtYA on Twitter