A Promise for Young Talent

By Victoria Stern A Promise for Young Talent University of Groningen: #4 (International) This year, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands made its first appearance on the list of Best Places to Work in Academia, taking fourth place among international institutions. The distinction was a long time in coming. Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen is the second oldest university in the Netherlands. Without the star power of universit

Victoria Stern
Oct 31, 2009

A Promise for Young Talent

University of Groningen: #4 (International)

This year, the University of Groningen in the Netherlands made its first appearance on the list of Best Places to Work in Academia, taking fourth place among international institutions. The distinction was a long time in coming. Founded in 1614, the University of Groningen is the second oldest university in the Netherlands.

Without the star power of universities like Oxford and Cambridge, Groningen attracts and retains top researchers by making an effort to promote from within. The university has implemented a rigorous Master’s and PhD track program to train their students for faculty positions at the university, says Franjo Weissing, director of the Graduate School of Science and a theoretical biologist at University of Groningen, in an email. “We scout and nurture our own scientific talents.” Between 10 and 20 percent of faculty members studied at the university before being hired, estimates Jos Speekman, a communications officer at Groningen.

Groningen also makes an effort to attract female researchers through the Rosalind Franklin Fellowship Program, a tenure-track program geared to the advancement of women in science. The fellowship thrives because of a mentoring program that matches a senior researcher with a junior one. The awardee receives advice and guidance on how to establish and run a research group and how to publish in the top journals, says Melinda Mills, a professor of social and behavioral sciences who went through the program and now runs her own sociology and behavioral science lab.