Personal story: from PhD to University of Applied Sciences

Rémon Saaltink
28 okt ’21

Are you figuring out what you want after your PhD?

To help you and your fellow researchers find your career path, we developed a new platform: AcademicsConnected. Here you can explore six research focused career journeys, get expert advice and read personal stories from other researchers.

Today we share Rémon's personal story. After his PhD graduation, he started working as a lecturer at a University of Applied Sciences.

Name: Rémon Saaltink
Master’s degree: Environmental Sciences (Utrecht University)
PhD degree: Smart Ecosystems: Marker Wadden (Utrecht University)
Current position: PhD graduate lecturer Environmental Innovation (HAS University of Applied Sciences)

“Don’t look for advice, but for information. If you have gathered enough information, you don’t need advice.“

Ambition: What was your ambition in terms of career perspective, during your PhD?

I loved the combination of research and teaching. As such, I had my contract changed to 40% teaching and 60% research. It took me two years to obtain my Teaching Qualification (BKO), which turned out to be a huge benefit later on when I was applying for a teaching position at a University of Applied Sciences.

At the start of my PhD, I actually didn’t know what my ambition was; the truth is that I don’t know my ambition at this moment either. But, the love for teaching told me to apply for a vacant teaching position at HAS University of Applied Sciences. I don’t regret that decision!

Difficulties: Which uncertainties did you face?

Because you have such a wide range of career possibilities after your PhD, it is difficult to make the right decision. For four years I was pondering on the question of what to do next. At the end of the PhD, I decided that if I liked teaching so much, that would be my primary goal.

I knew it would be hard to find a position, because there are three Universities of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands where I could fit in with my background and the competition is tough. I considered myself very lucky that a vacancy opened three months before ending my PhD. I applied for it, got the job, and started the first day after my PhD-contract ended!

Helping hand: What helped you in taking the career step?

Talking. Meet with people who are teaching at Universities of Applied Sciences. Ask them what they like about the job, what they don’t like and with what kind of activities they fill a typical week. This helped me a lot.

When I told the interviewers during my job application of this endeavour, they immediately became enthusiastic about it. It turned out that both my Teaching Qualification (BKO) and my conversations with teacher-researchers were important aspects for them to select me for the job!

Personal growth: Why does this job fit you?

What I like most about my job is enthusing young people about making sustainable choices and caring for the environment. I truly have the feeling that I am part of the solution (how small as it may seem). I guess everyone wants to work in an environment where they have the feeling of doing something useful. At this moment, that environment is at a University of Applied Sciences for me.

The takeaway: What can others learn from your story?

Very simple: don’t look for advice, but for information. If you have gathered enough information, you don’t need advice.

Want to read more personal stories from researchers in other sectors? Navigate your career on AcademicsConnected and be inspired!

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