May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly (name, nationality, Marie Curie Action, Project, international experience…)?
My name is Anett Kiss, I am originally from Hungary but now working in the United Kingdom. I graduated in biology in 2003 from the University of Szeged in Hungary and studied for my Ph.D at the University of Sheffield, UK, as a Marie Curie early-stage researcher within the INTRO2 Research Training Network. This was followed by a Marie Curie European Re-Integration grant (LHC-REL) at the Umea Plant Science Centre in Sweden. During this post-doctoral period I developed a keen interest in supporting other researchers in grant applications and parallel to my research job I became a part-time Marie Curie Grant Advisor at the Grants Office of Umea University. Having found the role very rewarding I diverted my career towards a professional support role and now work full time as a Research Development Officer at the University of Sussex, helping academics at different career stages with grant applications and securing funding for their research.
Why did you apply for the Ordinary Board Member position within the MCAA?
The Marie Curie Actions mean a lot to me; they have paved the way for my professional career from an early stage. I find them to be an excellent and unique mechanism supporting scientific excellence and personal development and having great impact on researchers’ careers. I feel strongly about supporting other Fellows and about extending the impact of the Marie Curie Actions beyond the project lifetimes and have already been involved in the work of the Marie Curie Fellows Association over the past few years.
I hope that my diverse experiences in research, professional advice, and research administration and management will be of benefit to the MCAA. I have a keen interest in supporting people finding their career path and passion; and hope to be able to provide support and mentoring to those who are thinking of making a career change but are unsure or hesitant.
As an Ordinary Board Member within the MCAA, what do you plan to do first? – or what is the first item you plan to put on the agenda?
One of the first tasks of the Board will be to define the role of its Members, which was not discussed in detail at the General Assembly. The Board will need to form a strong, functional group and outline the major goals that the association will be working towards.
What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?
I believe that the main priority of MCAA should be the benefit of the Fellows and to listen to and work around the needs of the Fellows, which may differ between Fellows currently undertaking Marie Curie funding and people who benefited from the actions in the past.
How do you plan to organise your work within the MCAA and especially your collaboration with the other Members of the Board?
The elected Board Members are from various different countries and from diverse professional roles, which will surely present its own challenges. However; where there is a will there is a way and I believe that despite the geographic distance, the Board will be able to manage its work through modern communication technologies. All the Board candidates who presented themselves at the General Assembly displayed great enthusiasm and determination to support the work of the Association and this will be a key to the successful collaboration of the Board.
How will your work within the association help build a “community spirit” among the Marie Curie Alumni?
Within the MCAA I am hoping to represent Fellows who building on their research experiences choose a different career path from academic research; be it in commercial settings, in academic institutes or other career options they may encounter. With the opportunities for Ph.D education increasing, it is inevitable that more and more people will chose alternative career paths and I believe that this could be a very interesting and resourceful group within the association.
Do you plan to meet Alumni? When?
Plans for larger scale Alumni meetings will of course need to be planned by the association but I will be more than happy to meet Alumni, as personal interactions are often the most valuable. With the large geographical span of Alumni there may be the need for regional groups which would make the meeting of Fellows from similar locations easier.
What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?
I would like to say a huge thank you for the support during the election; this is a fantastic opportunity to work with the association. I hope that the values and experiences I am bringing to the Board will be to the benefit of the Members.