May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly (name, nationality, Marie Curie Action, Project, international experience…)?
I am Snežana Krstić (Serbian nationality), a chemical engineer, with broad professional interest in issues at the intersection of science, society, innovation and policy. I worked on my Marie Curie project at the CERN School of Computing. I have been active In European research and higher education policy activities since 2004 and have had the opportunity to cooperate with many respected organisations – at European and global level. I was also very active in networks of researchers, promoting the values of the research profession and working on issues related to human resources - mobility, training, research integrity, professional development.
Why did you apply for the Chairperson position within the MCAA?
I still remember when I received my Marie Curie grant how honoured I felt to benefit from such a prestigious European programme. The establishment of the MCAA aroused a similar type of excitement, as we had the opportunity to become part of an excellent team composed of all the researchers who have benefited from this respected programme. I applied for the Chair position as I was truly motivated to contribute to the development, growth, visibility and reputation of the association and I believed that I had the experience and achievements to make the ambitious goals and the aims of association come true. I was particularly inspired by the character of the association - organised within European settings, but with a truly international character, fostering cooperation among Members from different countries, sectors and scientific disciplines.
As the MCAA Chairperson, what do you plan to do first? – or what is the first item you plan to put on the agenda?
As the MCAA is a new association, a number of activities need to be taken in parallel in order to enable it to develop fast. However, strategic planning is an item that deserves full attention at the moment. I am also going to put on the agenda for the first Board meeting the various aspects of strategic plans related to the development, growth and achievement of aims defined by our Statute.
What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?
I think that our priorities should be activities contributing to the realisation of the association’s aims. At the moment our priority is to develop a suitable structure for collaboration, establish Chapters organised on a geographical basis (national, regional or international) and organise thematic Working Groups. In parallel to structural development, we need to work on our growth, having in mind that the association is open to all researchers who benefited from the Maria Curie programme. Another important priority is good communication - both internal and external. I am finding it vital to establish and foster good relationships within the worldwide research and innovation community and, on the other hand, within our association, to foster a positive cooperative atmosphere, based on mutual understanding and respect, regardless of our diversity.
How do you plan to organise your work within the MCAA and especially your collaboration with the other Members of the Board?
I see MCAA at the first place as a team and work of the Board as a team work with different responsibilities for individual Members. Aside from my duties coming from the Chair position, I am not going to neglect other activities which I practiced before I was elected for this responsible position. It is very important to have direct contact with Members and I will try to provide ample space for bottom-up ideas or initiatives. Collaboration with the Board Members has already started within our group and we are planning to have the first meeting, probably the next month.
How will your work within the association help build a “community spirit” among the Marie Curie Alumni?
I think that a “community spirit” has already taken shape within the MCAA - that was particularly visible at the General Assembly. However, we still need to work a lot. I think that enthusiasm and commitment to the aims of the association, where the needs of the individual Members are also respected, are the best way to build a “community spirit”. In addition, good communication, integrity and open-mindedness also play an important role.
Do you plan to meet Alumni? When?
As much as we are used to virtual communication, personal contacts are crucial and I will be happy to meet Alumni as often as possible. We are still in the planning phase, but I hope that aside from the General Assembly, there will be an opportunity to meet them at different events, including those that we might even organise ourselves. I will be glad to meet the local Alumni when I am travelling in different cities, as well as when they come to mine (Belgrade). Moreover, I will do my best to accept invitations for visits or events that might come from our geographical Chapters or Alumni's institutions.
What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?
Those who elected me in the first place, I would like to thank for their trust, particularly as we had excellent candidates for the Chair position and I am aware that it was not easy to take a decision. Every beginning is difficult, particularly in today’s economic climate. However, based on the initial enthusiasm, I believe that within a year we will already have significant results, succeed in creating a strong foundation and taking pioneering steps toward building a highly respected association. This is an association comparable to the EC programme from which we all benefited, and worthy of the renowned name that it proudly bears.
Finally, I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to wish a very happy and fruitful New Year to all our Members, colleagues and friends, current and future, and invite them to join us (if benefited/benefiting from the Marie Curie programme) or cooperate with us.