Impression Research Days

How did you experience the Research Days?


Suzanne – presenter

My name is Suzanne van de Groep and I am a fourth-year PhD candidate at Erasmus University Rotterdam. I study the behavioral and neural development of prosocial behavior in adolescence, and my PhD project is supervised by Prof. Eveline Crone and Dr. Kiki Zanolie.

Why did you decide to sign up for a presentation during the VNOP-CAS research days 2019? What did you hope it would bring you?

Ever since I started my PhD project in January 2017, my colleagues were always so excited about the VNOP-CAS-Research Days, that I immediately signed up for a presentation that year. I have presented at the VNOP-CAS Research Days for the last three years, and it has always been a great experience. For 2019, I expected that my presentation would provide me with the opportunity to reach most of the developmental psychologists in the Netherlands and Belgium and to update them about my work. Also, I expected that presenting would help me with networking afterwards.

What was your general experience with regard to presenting your work during the research days? To what extent did your actual experience match your expectation?

I always love presenting at the VNOP-CAS Research Days. There is always a very supportive atmosphere, but at the same time I always get very constructive feedback on my work. I feel that the Research Days help me to build my network, by giving me the opportunity to connect with senior, but especially also junior researchers. I really appreciate the latter, as these individuals are likely to represent the future of the developmental psychology research field.

To what extent do you feel giving a presentation has contributed to your PhD project?

It has definitely helped me to sharpen my thinking about my own work and to come up with new ideas and solutions. The network-building opportunities have also greatly helped me to expand my network, which not only makes research meetings in the Netherlands more fun because I know more people know, but also probably will benefit me after my PhD.


Hannah – visitor

My name is Hannah Peetz. I am a PhD candidate of the Behavioural Science Institute from the Radboud Univerity Nijmegen. Within the BSI, I am working within the Developmental Psychology Group.

Have you ever attended the VNOP-CAS research days before? What was your general experience of the 2019 edition of the research days?

This was my first time at the VNOP-CAS research days. Overall, I really enjoyed it. I especially liked the first day, in which we could attend the workshop. The workshop was great and I learned a lot. Also the social activity in the evening was nice to really get to know the other PhD’s. The second day was also really informative. The parallel sessions were organized well and I got to hear many interesting talks.

What was/were your favorite part(s) of the research days and why? Could you indicate what you liked about this part specifically?

My favorite part was the workshop (how to present a poster). It was really interactive, structured well and I learned a lot. The workshop teacher was really knowledgeable and able to transfer this to us.

To what extent do you feel attending the research days has contributed to your PhD project?

The research days were a great opportunity for me to get to know other PhD candidates, other research projects that are currently running and also to gain new skills. This was especially important for me, since I am new to the field and am not familiar with all the people and different topics and projects. I therefore think that I benefitted greatly from attending the research days.


Odilia – keynote lecturer

I am Odilia Laceulle. I work as an assistant professor at the Developmental Psychology department of Utrecht University, where I combine teaching with research on adolescent development. I’m particularly interested in the grey area between healthy development and mental health problems.

When you were invited to give a keynote lecture during the VNOP-CAS research days 2019, what made you decide to say yes?

In September I was asked by one of the organizing PhD students. I think I said yes immediately. I feel closely connected to both VNOP and CAS and have been attending their conferences and research days since I was a PhD student myself. The keynote was a really nice opportunity to contribute to the VNOP-CAS research days 2019.

Have you ever given a keynote lecture before? What was your general experience with regard to giving this keynote during the research days?

Not a keynote like this one, but sometimes I’m invited to give talks at conferences or during research meetings at other universities. Giving the keynote was both an honor and a fun experience. It was a pleasure to share some of my work with such a great audience.

As a keynote lecturer, your task is to give the audience an inspiring lecture about a topic you are passionate about. To what extent do you feel you have also gained anything from doing so?

The interesting thing with a keynote, or invited talk in general, is that it usually provides an overview of several findings from a research line, rather than the results of one single study. As such, preparing a keynote requires to think about the connection between different studies, how individual findings add to a bigger picture, and which pieces of the puzzle are still waiting to be explored. So, the preparation itself can already be valuable. But of course, actually giving the lecture, the questions from and interaction with the audience, and informal chats afterwards were a great experience and definitely the icing on the cake.

Organising committee

Child and Adolescent Studies
Utrecht University



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