Policy advisor Ilse Schenk believes it is important that employees really feel at home in Rotterdam

I was given a lot of space and trust, and the department was incredibly welcoming.

Ilse Schenk

Policy advisor internationalisation at HR

"EUR is an attractive university for scientists from abroad, and that’s something we can be proud of. But if you attract staff from abroad, you also want to empower them as much as you can. This involves a broad range of topics. Take someone from China or Canada who moves to the Netherlands to do research; this person will encounter many practical obstacles. Administrative hurdles, for example, are unavoidable. We want to provide them with excellent support in dealing with these obstacles. Complex cases are like a puzzle that we need to solve, and that is a part of my job which I really enjoy.

It is very important that employees feel right at home here in Rotterdam and the Hague. We organize various monthly activities, such as city walks and skating clinics, to help people settle in. I believe we should not only attract adventurers, but also people for whom moving is a big step. If we don’t pay attention to this second group, we will miss out on a lot of talent. Something I am particularly proud of is the Dual Career Program. Some of our researchers want to settle down in the Netherlands with their families. In a situation like that, it is essential their partner also feels at home here – and finding a job makes a big difference. Ninety-five percent of the partners who participated in the program had a job within a year. I think that’s an incredible score.

“The research topics are close to peoples’ lives."

What appeals to me about my current role as International Policy Advisor is that there are big steps to be taken to improve our services further. I was given a lot of space and trust and the department has been incredibly welcoming. We have grown from 2 to 3 FTE as a team since I joined and are increasingly working proactively instead of reactively. This means that we provide information and support on subjects where we anticipate problems. A good example is the corona pandemic and travel restrictions: we proactively support EUR researchers going abroad for fieldwork.

The kind of research that is done at EUR really appeals to me, too. The research topics are close to peoples’ lives – that way, you can quickly achieve impact. It’s great to be part of a university where there is room for research into what drives people in their work and how they can flourish in that setting. Working here, especially now that the Erasmus Medical Center is featured in the news so frequently due to Covid, feels like something special. I’m in touch with people from virologist Marion Koopman’s team, and it fills me with pride to be part of this organisation."

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