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A call with Annemarie about an online fair in China

Last week Annemarie Montulet and several of our colleagues attended an online fair in China to talk to Chinese PhD candidates. ‘I had some very good discussions with potential candidates. It gives me a lot of energy to do my utmost to find a suitable research position for them in Leiden.’ We have a set regional policy at the University, which means there are three areas on which extra attention is being focused: Indonesia, Latin America and China. Annemarie is our University’s China advisor and coordinator. The fair is a good reason to call Annemarie about the discussions she has had there and her other activities.

Hi Annemarie, l won’t beat about the bush. Why did you attend an online fair in China on behalf of our University? 

We’re there to tell Chinese PhD candidates what our University has to offer future researchers. This fair takes place every year in November and this year it was again completely online. As well as German, English and Canadian universities, embassies and  university umbrella organisations also have a presence at these fairs, and all of them are trying to interest Chinese PhD candidates in their university or country. Chinese researchers are an essential part of the research community in the world and in Leiden. I myself talked to potential candidates who are interested in particular faculties at Leiden University. I had a superb chat with a Chinese lady who had read up completely on landscape archaeology, the specialist field of Jan Kolen, dean of our Faculty of Archaeology. I think it’s fantastic to have a talk like that with someone. This kind of candidate just has to come to Leiden to do their PhD! 

I heard that more of our colleagues were involved?  

Indeed; I don’t do this alone. The Science Faculty is very active and the PhD programme is organised by four of the faculty’s institutes. Most Chinese scholarship candidates end up at the Faculty of Science, with the LUMC being a close second. This year for the first time two Assistant Professors, Henk van Steenbergen and Judith Schomaker, also took part and had discussions with different candidates.

What do you need to bear in mind when you bring Chinese PhD candidates to Leiden?

One of the first things we look at with Chinese candidates is the level of their English, then there’s their master’s discipline and which university they studied at. We have to take the quality of the programme into account and, depending on the discipline, we also have to think about knowledge security. I also point out to professors in Leiden that if we bring Chinese PhD candidates to our university, they are financed with Chinese government grants. The  principle we have to safeguard is that there is a healthy financial balance within the research group they are putting together. This kind of advice is part of my job. I also advise the Executive Board, I’m secretary of the regional group, and members of staff and students can always get in touch with me if they have any questions about issues to do with China.

And lastly, what’s your connection with China, apart from it being a large part of your work?

I studied Chinese, of course, in Leiden and lived, studied and worked in China for fourteen years. I think it’s a super interesting country, and it never ceases to fascinate me! I’ve made a lot of Chinese friends over the course of my life. It’s really inspiring to learn about the way they think and behave. 

A call with

There is a lot happening within Leiden University. The websites are filled with news on a daily basis. In the section 'A call with' we ask one of our employees to tell us more about a relevant and topical subject within the university. The answers give you more insight into the facts, but above all give you more personal background information. What was fun or frustrating? What was remarkable? What was good and what was bad? You can read all about it in 'A call with'.

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