Interview Snežana Krstić – Chair of the Marie Curie Alumni Association

Snežana Krstić

1. Ms Krstić, you represented the Marie Curie Alumni Association as its Chair at ESOF 2014 in Copenhagen. What were your expectations for this special event?

ESOF conferences have a special meaning for the research community in Europe. They have played an important role in building bridges between scientists, disciplines and different parties, including policy-makers, the industrial sector, journalists and society at large. I believe it is very important for the MCAA, because it has similar goals to our association: in promoting the values of science; in enhancing international cooperation; and particularly in boosting the careers of younger researchers. At the same time, I was aware that it represented a great opportunity to meet our members, to promote our association, and to be of value to the Marie Sklodowska Curie programmes, and to the large and influential audience.
2. In the greeting message from the ‘ESOF2014 Champion’ Klaus Bock, he describes Denmark as having a "deep-rooted scientific tradition and a strong commitment to scientific and technological innovation". Is this what you felt in Copenhagen?

It is. Within the context of deep-rooted scientific tradition, it was interesting to note the attention paid to the human resources and the good conditions within science and career development. Another interesting feature was having good communication with society, followed by raising awareness and public engagement activities.
3. How did you promote the association as the Chair?

I promoted it by organising promotional events and sessions at the main ESOF event and by presenting MCAA at the MSCA Satellite event (organised by the European Commission), which was held before the main ESOF event. The MCAA is a very young association and we could not organise a session within the Science and Career programme, because the deadlines for these applications had already passed before the MCAA was established. Therefore, we decided to take a proactive approach, and owing to great enthusiasm and the kind support of ESOF organisers, we succeeded in organising several sessions beyond these programmes. I invite the readers to read the article that we wrote about what we did at ESOF. Our activities and participating at the ESOF brought many important benefits and the visibility of the association was significantly increased. I am particularly happy that it contributed to the development of the association and its vibrant life, as many of our members were inspired to take an active role in our activities.
4. You gave a speech at the MSCA satellite event (19 to 20 June) about the topic “Why join the Marie Curie Alumni Association?”. How did you encourage the audience to join?

In the first place I would like to say that the MSCA satellite event was a very interesting and useful event and within such an inspiring atmosphere, so it was not difficult to establish contacts with MSCA Fellows and our members. In my speech I presented the benefits of joining the MCAA, our goals, motivation and the opportunities that the association offers to boost the career of researchers. I was particularly glad that I had the opportunity to personally meet our members and other MSCA Fellows. I enjoyed the discussions we had during the breaks. I am happy to say that, as a result, we have many new members who are actively participating in the work of the MCAA.
5. Did the satellite event fulfil all your aspirations?

Yes, it did, and it exceeded my expectations. It was very well organised, featured high quality sessions, and had a positive atmosphere – which is very important in conducting fruitful cooperation.
6. Will you represent the Association at future events? Which?

For the moment I do not have accurate information, but I will be happy to meet our Fellows at future events and to represent the Association, continuing the important momentum that we started with ESOF in Copenhagen.
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