PhD Day is an annual event organized by P-NUT, the PhD Network of the University of Twente, but this year the organizers are doing things a bit differently. They have achieved the highest number of participants of all PhD Days so far, expecting over 130 people to come. It’s also the very first time PhD researchers from other Dutch technical universities are joining the event.
‘We wanted it to be a really big event, because – compared to other universities – PhD’s at the UT are not very active in P-NUT,’ says Koen de Koning, president of P-NUT. ‘We therefore wanted to make it more attractive and high profile. We flew in a great keynote speaker from the U.S. and we invited PhD students from TU Delft, Eindhoven and Wageningen to also promote networking.’
The keynote speaker
The keynote speaker at the PhD Day 2017 will be Björn Harink: a scientist, an entrepreneur and a UT alumnus who will talk about his post-PhD life and his adventures in The Silicon Valley.
‘You need to know how to promote yourself’
Networking indeed fits into the theme of this year’s PhD Day, which holds the title ‘Professional Career Development – your PhD as a stepping stone in your career’. ‘We have prepared a unique set of workshops that should help people to achieve their career goals, whether they want to stay in academia or find a job within the industry,’ clarifies Davood Baratian, one of the organizers and the head of P-NUT SPM Team.
Some workshops will cover, for example, communication or authentic personal branding. ‘Regardless of your career choice, you need to know how to promote yourself convincingly. And PhD’s are often very good in research, but not that good in selling themselves and their ideas,’ adds Baratian. ‘Which is why we want this event to provide them with a toolset on how to realize their dream job. Because in order to succeed in the future, you have to invest in yourself today.’
‘Indeed, people shouldn’t forget that doing a PhD is also a part of their career and they should remember why they chose this path, what they want to achieve. And this isn’t specific for people at the end of their PhD research,’ thinks De Koning.
Highlighting various career opportunities for PhD’s isn’t the only goal of tomorrow’s event, though. ‘We want to build bridges,’ says the P-NUT president. ‘Today’s challenges ask for a multidisciplinary approach and cooperation among scientists. That is why we invited PhD researchers from other technical universities. We all do great work, but it is even greater to do it together. PhDs do most research, and so it’s important to start with them and bring them together.’