The curiosity and enthusiasm about a specific topic can drive scientists halfway across the world. Joana Brás Gomes Nunes’ interest in cell metabolism brought her via Portugal and the United States to Leiden. And she is certainly not the only one: The LUMC has researchers from over 70 different countries employed. What drives them, and what is the advantage of such an international career?
Joana Brás Gomes Nunes, originally from Portugal, has been researching cellular energy management and metabolism for more than ten years. In those years, she has lived and worked in three different countries. Her international ambitions were already fueled during her studies, when she left for Spain. “There I realized how much I loved going abroad, broadening my horizon and getting to know new realities.”
And she is certainly not the only one. “Research groups are becoming more and more international. As an example, I’ve worked in a lab consisting of researchers from 14 different countries.” Joana thinks that one important reason for this is that valuable international collaborations are crucial for impactful research, and that is what pushes researchers to move. In addition, an international environment has many advantages. “In international research groups, there is a higher diversity in ways of thinking and skills which result in discussion and exchange of knowledge, and that is what drives science. On the other hand, it is also a good way to improve your English. Last but not least: it is a lot of fun!”
Long have we awaited the moment that we could welcome international students at the LUMC again. Due to COVID, all student mobility was cancelled for over 1,5 years. And despite still having regulations in place, especially during the first semester of the academic year 2021-2022, it was refreshing to cautiously welcome international students again. We’re so pleased to see that the students who came to Leiden had a fun, meaningful and above all, educational experience. In a questionnaire, they’ve given us an insight into how they experienced student mobility during these strange times.
Twice a year, the Research Mobility Fellowships of the European Joint Programme on Rare Diseases (EJP RD) from the European Reference Networks (ERN) get awarded to prominent researchers or MDs to develop new skills and expertise in a European institution specialized in research on rare diseases.
On May 30th, international experts and politicians gathered in Leiden to discuss global health issues during the Global Impact in Health Symposium. Lively discussions were held on matters concerning equal worldwide access to vaccines and diversity within clinical research. New scientific insights were also shared, including on vaccine response differences between African and European populations. Missed the event? Check out the after movie and get in touch!