Name: Gerwin Evers
Master’s degree: Innovation Sciences at Utrecht University
PhD degree: Innovation studies at Aalborg University
Current position: Science, Technology and Innovation policy Consultant at Technopolis Group
During my research master’s I enjoyed both the theoretical part of discussing innovation literature and the part of applying these using a variety of research skills. This made me want to pursue a career in which I could use my research skills to answer questions related to science and innovation topics.
I have always taken it one step at a time and was interested in making an impact with the things I work on. Yet, working in a research environment means that it is likely that you have to deal with the imposter syndrome, and are susceptible to struggle with the doubts that your work will not have the impact that you are striving for.
Although I enjoyed my PhD research, I missed real opportunities to get my academic work to be used by policymakers. At academic conferences I met researchers who made the move to policy consulting. This seemed to me an ideal way to both use my research skills and provide insights to policymakers – contributing more directly to impact. A few months before defending my PhD I sent an open application to Technopolis and joined them shortly after my defense.
Within Technopolis we conduct evaluations and studies to provide evidence-based insights to public sector clients. These clients include the Dutch ministries, the European Commission and a broad range of global, European, national and regional public stakeholders in the area of science and innovation policy. While working for clients, we conduct our work independently and collaboratively with knowledgeable colleagues across our international offices. Our reputation, expertise, independence and international coverage are important reasons why our clients choose to work with us.
I appreciate the freedom that my current position as Consultant offers me to develop a profile that best fits my personal strengths and interests. Currently, I have both a thematic focus on science policy and a methodological focus on data science, which aligns very well with my expertise and interests. As no individual is the same nor enjoys the same kind of work, consultancy offers the flexibility to work on a wide range of projects and tasks that best fit your profile and development trajectory.
We work in a market environment, in which the studies we conduct are responding directly to current questions and needs of policymakers. Therefore, our work is directly contributing to current societal needs, but also in competition with other consultancies and research organisations. This means that we need to provide high-quality and well-managed projects, in which we bring in our expertise and independent and critical perspective.
I also appreciate many of the similarities that exist between policy consulting and the academic sector: I am still collaborating with an international group of smart people that always strive to deliver high-quality insights. While striving for quality, we tend to be a flat and informal organisation, in which social cohesion and work-life balance are key values.
Make sure to find an organisation where your research skills and expertise are an added value. Also consider the amount of flexibility you want in developing your own profile by working on a broader range of projects. For me policy consultancy provided that environment.