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Why researchers pursue an international career

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October 19, 2021

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.” 

International environment

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!”

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