On 25 October 2016, the first Early-Career Day (ECD) was organized at the Space Pole in Uccle, the main idea for such an event - bringing together the Early-Career staff members of all three institutes - being to improve the network of the Space Pole. Soon, an organization team of eleven EC staff members formed, composed of 5 representatives from ROB, 4 from BISA and 2 from RMI. For the first ECD, 38 participants (19 female and 19 male) registered, and several non-EC staff members joined in addition for the evening reception. The participants came from the Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB), the Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA), the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), The Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven).
The ECD began with an introduction game, where participants already started to get to know each other personally. During a speed-networking event, all participants talked with each other about their work and current projects. For this, everyone had to bring a conversation starter along (a book, a part of an instrument, a picture of the lab etc.). In the afternoon, we organized a tour of the three institutes with the help of the outreach representatives of the institutes, visiting the weather park, two telescope domes, the clean rooms of RMI and BISA, and the B.USOC.
After the tour, participants could choose between two 1.5h workshops. The proposal and project management workshop, held by Caroline Kussé from ROB, gave an overview of how to write a successful research proposal, and how to manage larger projects. The second workshop was on publications and was organized as a panel discussion, with esteemed scientists from ROB and BISA (Véronique Dehant, Ozgur Karatekin, Jan Janssens, Viviane Pierrard and Norma Crosby) with different backgrounds in publishing, reviewing and editing. The day ended with an evening reception, which was open to all staff members of the Space Pole.
The day was a big success. This became also clear during a short feedback session, when participants were asked about what they would like to change for a future ECD, and how they would like to see the network built up. Based on their feedback, several suggestions were retained for future ECDs.
We are looking forward to organize more networking events in the future, and would like to take the opportunity to thank all three institutes ROB, BISA and RMI for their support, and to thank the IUAPs Planet Topers and CHARM for their generous co-hosting of the evening reception as well as all personnel helping with the organization, which made the first ECD such a successful and rewarding event.
With best regards,
The Early-Career Group of the Space Pole
Gaël Cessateur (BISA), Charles Delvaux (RMI), Elke D'Huys (ROB), Romain Ingels (RMI), Graciela Lopez (BISA), Dries Nicolaes (ROB), Lena Noack (ROB), Jérémy Rekier (ROB), Bart Vleminckx (ROB), Jonas Vlietinck (BISA) and Minqiang Zhou (BISA)