Biochemist Daan Swarts has been appointed EMBO Young Investigator, which means that he is now part of a group of promising young scientists within molecular biology. This announcement was made yesterday by the EMBO organisation. Together with 23 other junior researchers, Swarts will receive financial support, resources and other forms of support for the next four years so that he will be able to establish himself as a leader in the field.
Swarts’s group conducts research into the immune system of bacteria and, according to organisation EMBO (European Molecular Biology Organisation), the group has the potential to make a major impact in its field of study. It is for this reason that the organisation appointed Swarts as Young Investigator for the next four years; his group will receive €15,000, with the option of applying for an additional €10,000 each year. Swarts is free to spend this money in any way that he sees fit. What’s more, he will be given access to a large network of scientists and extra facilities.
The facilities that have aroused Swarts’s interest are the particle accelerators in Grenoble and Hamburg. These will allow him to make digital 3D images of the building blocks (or proteins) that are found in the immune system of bacteria, which will enable him to gain a deeper knowledge of the subject matter. He will then be able to discuss his findings directly with his fellow scientists, because as a Young Investigator he will be allowed to participate in EMBO meetings. “The EMBO Young Investigator Programme is like a networking fellowship where junior researchers are able to raise their profile and build up a more extensive network,” says Swarts.
Courses and networking
The biochemist plans to use the money from EMBO to invite scientists to Wageningen to present their work and exchange ideas. Swarts also likes the idea of organising a retreat with the group so that they can do some team building and hold scientific discussions. “During the retreat, I’d love to discuss career perspectives and to this end, I’d like to invite other people to join us, such as researchers who work outside the academic world.”
In addition to this, Swarts aims to develop himself as a group leader by attending a leadership training course that is offered by EMBO. “I’ve taken leadership courses in the past, but I’m now in a completely different phase of my career, and it’s one in which I’ll be managing a group of researchers,” says Swarts. The other scientists in the team will also have the opportunity to take courses.
What will the next four years bring for Swarts, who is one of EMBO’s newest Young Investigators? “We’ll have to wait and see, but above all, I hope that I’ll eventually be able to establish myself as a leader in the field and I’m looking forward to meeting other EMBO members and being inspired by them,” Swarts said.