2022 draws to a close, and what a year it has been! We have made great strides in terms of science, showing our excellence through multiple high-quality publications and important grants and prizes awarded to our talents and fellows. What made this year special and recognizable was the fact that we came out of the COVID crisis, and could start to revive the community side of the Donders Institute. This has been more difficult than initially anticipated; the new reality has us being more selective in choosing events to join in person. We will have to be creative in organizing events, adapting to these new ways. At the same time, events like the Donders Poster Session, the Thirsty Thursdays, and the Donders BBQ were extremely popular, and Donderians very much enjoyed their real-world interactions.
We could fill several pages with 2022 advances we can be proud of as Donderians, but will focus on two that touch on aspects beyond our science: Firstly, 2022 brought the official start of the Citylab @ muZIEum in March, and very recently, Sabine Hunnius kicked off the Citylab Lecture Series. The Citylab is an important and novel opportunity to increase the societal impact of our research. Secondly, Paul Verschure joining the Radboud University and the Donders Institute in 2022 accelerated the development of the NeurotechEU European University project, and we are currently building an active Neurotech community across the Nijmegen campus. NeurotechEU strongly increases our opportunities to educate the next generation of brain, cognition, and behaviour researchers.
Looking at our Donders Team, we also had several changes, especially with Dirk-Jan Melssen being appointed as our Outreach Officer. At the level of the Donders Board, Janna van Belle joined us as policy advisor DCMN, Stephanie Forkel became our new Theme 1 Speaker, and Erik Storkebaum started as new DCN Director. Several additional changes will occur per 1-1-2023, when also new directors of DCCN and DCMN are appointed.
What will 2023 bring the Donders Institute? Lots of exciting science and fun things to look forward to! At the Donders Network level we will finally implement the new governance structure! We expect to announce the new Scientific Director in February, and Barbara will transfer the Institute ‘reins’ into their hands. Stay tuned for more news…… but for the coming weeks, do take a break and enjoy private life, so that we can see each other again healthy, relaxed, and energized in the new year!
Wishing you happy holidays and an excellent start of 2023, Barbara Franke and Femke Maij