Jef Bergmans, Board member at Young European Associated Researchers

YEAR brings together young researchers in Europe. Researcher Jef Bergmans represents VITO on the networking organisation’s board of directors.

What is your position at VITO?

“I have been working at VITO since 2012 as a researcher for the Sustainable Materials Management unit, in particular in the waste and recycling technologies team. We conduct research into the recycling potential of mineral waste streams. First we see what valuable elements can be obtained from these streams, then we look for outlets for the remaining matrix elements. I am also active in Young VITO, an internal group that organises activities to bring colleagues together. This is how I got to know YEAR. When the previous board member of VITO ended her assignment at YEAR, I was happy to take her place.”

What exactly does YEAR do?

“YEAR is an organisation that focuses on young researchers across Europe. Our work concerns four pillars: networking, training, mobility and representation of young researchers. Research is increasingly conducted in an international context and it is not easy, especially for young researchers, to build up a network outside their own organisation. However, soon they will be required to obtain and lead projects themselves. Which is why we organise activities in which young researchers can meet one another. We also give them training in specific skills such as presentation techniques. And we focus on greater exchange between different research organisations. Finally, we regularly organise surveys on a particular topic. This allows us to formulate a common position that we then convey to policy-makers. For example, we helped initiate the Declaration of Young Researchers, which lists the needs and motivations of young researchers.”


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