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Eveline Crone appointed as Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in Society in Rotterdam

Professor of Neurocognitive Developmental Psychology Eveline Crone will leave Leiden as of 1 April 2020. She has been appointed as Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in Society at the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB) in Rotterdam. For Crone, this is a new step in an impressive career. ‘It’s a fantastic opportunity for Eveline, but we in Leiden are going to miss her desperately,’ said Rector Magnificus Carel Stolker.

Stolker continues, ‘Eveline has done so many great things in Leiden and achieved so much for us. In the 15 years that she has spent in Leiden, she has won almost all the prizes and grants that there are, including many KNAW awards and the most prestigious prize of all, the Spinoza Prize. It is thanks to her that research into the development of the adolescent brain has gained such a firm foothold. But the Netherlands is small, and Eveline isn’t leaving academia. We will most certainly meet again, and our researchers will carry on working with her, most probably also within the Leiden Delft Erasmus (LDE) partnership, in which, as three universities in the Randstad conurbation, we have joined forces in our research and teaching. Eveline is a born team player, but what I will probably miss most are our Saturday afternoons at Barrera café on Rapenburg, when we found a moment to catch up, and our fun WhatsApp sessions. Anyway, we shall see. I’m pleased at least that her new university is the University of Rotterdam.’

We asked Eveline three questions about what she has achieved in Leiden and about her future in Rotterdam.

You have an extremely impressive track record, and during your time in Leiden received many national and international awards and prizes, such as the Spinoza Prize in 2017 and two large European Research Council (ERC) grants. You have also written various popular-science books (The Adolescent Brain and Hersenen in de groei) and have only recently taken up an important post on the ERC. There is too much to mention here. What are your plans for your new role in Rotterdam?

‘I am really motivated to enrich and improve scholarship as a method, and want to explore whether closer links to societal perspectives will make this possible. This could mean co-creation, citizen science and living labs as a breeding ground for knowledge exchange. In these times of societal challenges and increasing scepticism about academia, it is more important than ever to encourage society to participate in scholarship. It is my firm conviction that this is an international trend that cannot be halted, and I find it very interesting to give this shape. This is my ambition for my new job in Rotterdam. I want to take my research into the adolescent brain to the next level, and plan to achieve this through citizen science from the very moment at which we give shape to the research, thus improving the interpretation and application.’

You were appointed as professor in 2009. You and your team have achieved an incredible amount in your time in Leiden. How do you look back on those years?

‘I don’t feel as though I should be looking back at all. The Leiden research is and always will be part of my DNA. I am unbelievably grateful for all the opportunities that I have been given here to grow as an academic. Leiden is a fantastic place for free research! Brilliant people work here. I’m certainly not planning on leaving this collaboration behind. I’m convinced that you achieve more if you work together with others, and that we have to keep on broadening our horizons. My motivation for going to Rotterdam is driven by my ambition to become a top academic, and because I want to seek out innovation in my work. But how great would it be if we could achieve this by working together?’

And then a personal question: what are you looking forward to most in your new job and what least?

‘What I’m looking forward to most is the innovation, starting something that no one else is doing. The missions of Erasmus University really appeal to me. I think it’s great that they want to tackle societal challenges by having several disciplines throw their weight behind it. I love these missions because they bring people together. What I’m least looking forward to is that I know I’ll miss my current colleagues. We’re obviously full of good intentions to Skype a lot, but that’s different from bumping into one another at the coffee machine.’

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