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Interview: Culture switch

Image: Gabriella Bocchetti, University of Cambridge

Karen Stroobants talks about her role in pushing for positive change in research culture

Five years ago, Karen Stroobants (pictured) abandoned the chemistry lab at the University of Cambridge and set about trying to reform research culture. “I realised I preferred working with people over working with samples, and I had concerns about how some people in the research environment behaved to one another,” she recalls, saying she had also reached a ceiling of support for professional development.

Stroobants switched to a career in research policy and has become one of the key players behind a pan-European agreement on research culture that could have major consequences for research careers. “I come with a perspective where I have been an active researcher, but also have experienced how things are done in other sectors, having made that career transition from academia into the policy sector,” she tells Research Europe.

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