Sigrid van Grinsven

Interview to Sigrid van Grinsven – SIAM alumna (2015 – 2020), currently senior postdoc at the Technical University of Munich, leading a project of 5 different research groups

News April 20 2022: Our second interview is dedicated to Sigrid van Grinsven, once talented PhD at NIOZ and now senior postdoc at the Technical University of Munich. She shared with us her past and present work challenges, suggestions and funny memories.

1) During which years did you work for SIAM and why did you originally applied?
I worked between 2015 and 2020 within SIAM, at the NIOZ. I originally applied because the content of the project sounded cool, but also because I liked the idea of being part of a larger consortium, especially because the NIOZ is a specialized and relatively small place to do a PhD.

    2) How would you describe your time at SIAM, both professionally and personally?
It was great! I got the chance and budget to do very cool science-stuff, and because I could also use the facilities of the other institutes, it felt like a huge playground opened up for me, professionally. I also really benefitted in a personal way, I was quite close with the other PhD candidates and had an active role in the group: I was one of the founders of the SIAM PhD committee and the chair for a while.

    3) When was the time at SIAM you said “This finding may be important!”/ How SIAM paved the way to your current job?
The fact that my publications showed I used a lot of different techniques, paved the way to my first postdoc. For my current position, a senior postdoc position, it was very important that I knew how to guide PhD candidates and to work interdisciplinary. My position within the SIAM PhD council, and in general the interaction with so many different scientists during my SIAM time, both helped tremendously for this.

    4) Which is your current position and why did you choose it?
I am now a senior postdoc at the Technical University of Munich, leading a project that consists of 5 different research groups. I coordinate and work with the 5 PIs and 6 PhD students involved.

    5) Which advise would you give to current SIAM researchers in order to build a successful career?
Connect with your peers, with the early career researchers around you that are at a similar stage as you are. Not just for professional networking – there is usually already plenty of focus on that. But for support – the PhD journey can be quite hard at times, and it helps if you have a group of people around you who know the feeling and who can support you. A group of people among who you don’t always have to be the successful scientist, but where you can also be just a human with emotions.

    6) One anecdote/funny story happened during SIAM that still makes you smile
I have super fond memories of a conference Laura Valk and me attended together, I think it was ISME in Leipzig. She and I work on totally different subjects, and we would have never met if it wasn’t via SIAM. I remember very well that we were sitting outside during a lunchbreak, and talked about our future plans, realizing that we were on the one hand were working on different things, but that there were also a lot of things that we shared.  

Sigrid van Grinsven’s LinkedIn profile: Sigrid van Grinsven | LinkedIn