YESS BSS: Connecting Early Career Researchers

January 2019 we launched a network of Young Enthusiastic Social Scientists at the Behavioural and Social Sciences faculty (YESS BSS). After existing for almost a year, it’s time to introduce ourselves: Who are we, what have we done so far, and what can you expect from us in the upcoming year?

Who are we?

Following the example of The KNAW Young Academy and the Young Academy Groningen, now, our faculty has its own “Young Academy”. Fifteen early career researchers (<10 years after PhD-defense) within the faculty were selected to join YESS BSS. YESS BSS is specifically initiated to organize and connect early career researchers around specific topics that are relevant to those that have just started their careers (and others), such as interdisciplinary cooperation, open science, and personnel policy. Around these topics, we organize events and advise the Faculty Board on faculty policy making.

What have we done so far?

In June 2019, we organized the first YESS BSS network meeting in which personnel policy was discussed with the dean and over 30 early career researchers from the faculty. Questions and concerns were openly discussed and insights gained from this meeting are used to advise the Faculty Board about the tenure track (a career policy for academic staff). This first meeting also served as a network opportunity, therefore, we concluded with a bingo aimed at getting to know each other.

YESS BSS also made a first step towards Open Science at the UG. Open Science can be considered a movement or an approach to science that aims to make science more accessible, reproducible and transparent. In collaboration with researchers from UMCG, we founded the Open Science Community Groningen (OSCG). The OSCG is a UG-wide community that brings together students and staff, and provides advice, support, and training for those who want to engage in Open Science. A recent article by the University Newspaper outlines, among other things, why UG students and PhD students are interested in joining such a community. The OSCG Kick-Off took place on October 22nd at the Van Swinderenhuis (read a summary here), and over 140 UG staff members have already signed up as a member.

Next to organising these initiatives that are open to all (early career) researchers of our faculty, YESS BSS creates opportunities for exchange and collaboration between its members. For instance, we have organised skills workshops on science blogging and public engagement in schools. Furthermore we support each other in writing grant applications and doing interview training.

What can you expect from us next year?

Next year, in addition to continuing our previous work, we will dive into some exciting new topics related to increasing diversity, team science, and lowering stress in academia. These topics align with the vision for science called Room for everyone’s talent outlined by the Dutch public knowledge institutions and funders of research (VSNU, NFU, ZonMW, KNAW and NWO). The vision is a first step, and we will contribute by developing concrete ideas of how our faculty can be at the forefront of implementing this vision.

We currently develop a website to become more visible within the faculty and beyond. However, because we are quite a large group, it is likely that you already know some of us. So please, if you have ideas about topics concerning early career researchers, or want to be involved in our activities, don’t hesitate to contact one of us!

Members YESS BSS (December 2019)

Tina Kretschmer (outgoing Chair, Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Laura Bringmann (incoming Chair, Psychology)
Laura Baams (Incoming board member, Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Gert Stulp (Sociology)
Jasperina Brouwer (Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Rink Hoekstra (Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Vera Heininga (Interdisciplinary)
Maaike Engels (Interdisciplinary)
Namkje Koudenburg (Psychology)
Anne van Hoogmoed (Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Charlotte Vrijen (Pedagogy and Educational Sciences)
Verena Seibel (Sociology)
Miriam Lommen (Psychology)
Anita Keller (Psychology)
Susan Niessen (Psychology)

NOTE. Picture by Marrit Wouda.

Dr. Namkje Koudenburg is an Associate Professor in Social Psychology. She is broadly interested in group dynamics and communication, and specifically on the question how everyday communications may work to catalyze polarization and social change. She obtained her PhD (cum laude) in 2014 at the University of Groningen, working together with Tom Postmes and Ernestine H. Gordijn. In this research, she focused on the role of conversational flow and silences in the emergence and regulation of social relationships. She received early career awards from the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and several dissertation awards, among others by the Society of Experimental Social Psychology (SESP). In 2017, Dr. Koudenburg received a VENI-grant for her research project on the role of communication in social change. For more information, please visit her website.

Selected Publications

  • Koudenburg, N., Kiers, H. A. L., & Kashima, Y. (2021). A new Opinion Polarization Index developed by integrating expert judgments. Frontiers in Psychology. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.738258.

  • Koudenburg, N., Kashima, Y. (2021). A Polarized Discourse: Effects of Opinion Differentiation and Structural Differentiation on Communication. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Doi: 10.1177/01461672211030816

  • Koudenburg, N., Kannegieter, A. Postmes, T., Kashima, Y. (2020). The subtle spreading of sexist norms. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations.

  • Roos, C. A., Koudenburg, N., & Postmes, T. (2021). Dealing with disagreement: The depolarizing effects of everyday diplomatic skills face-to-face and online. New Media & Society.

  • Van Mourik Broekman, A., Koudenburg, N., Gordijn, E.H., Krans, K., & Postmes, T. (2019). The Impact of Art: Exploring the social-psychological pathways that connect audiences to live performances. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(6), 942-965. doi: 10.1037/pspi0000159

  • Koudenburg, N., Gordijn, E.H., & Postmes, T. (2017). Beyond Content of Conversation: The Role of Conversational Form in the Emergence and Regulation of Social Structure. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 21(1), 50-71.

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