Nowadays, international experience is no longer an advantage, but almost a prerequisite for most career paths. In scientific areas of work, scholarly exchange and international research collaborations are often important requirements for attractive post-doctoral employment and long-term careers. However, most early career researchers feel that they already have enough on their plate, be it teaching courses, managing projects, writing papers or proposals, or trying to balance one’s personal life at the same time.
In addition, going abroad requires meticulous preparation, including time, and of course, money. Although we hereby do not promise an ideal solution to all issues related to scholarly exchange, we want to encourage you to take the first step.
During the 9th EUSPR conference and members’ meeting this October, Prof. Laura G. Hill and Prof. Louise Parker (Washington State University, Department of Human Development) discussed exciting opportunities for scholarly exchange of early career researchers in the field of prevention. Both have longstanding experience in hosting early career researchers, and are well-respected within the Society for Prevention Research, the US equivalent to the EUSPR. In an inspiring discussion, they presented several opportunities for (European) researchers interested in working in the United States:
- Fulbright – in over 160 countries, the Fulbright Program offers opportunities for scholarly exchange, for a period of 3 to 6 months. Currently, there are programs for Master’s students, PhD students, lecturers, and professors
- Society for Prevention Research – the Society for Prevention Research offers manifold opportunities for international researchers. The website informs about online trainings, job offers (mostly on a postdoctoral level), and travel grants for the annual SPR meeting, which should be of particular interest for all early career preventionists working on prevention of substance or drug abuse
- Institutional grants – many universities (e.g., University of Colorado Boulder, University of Miami, Washington State University, University of Oregon) offer support for international exchange (usually up to 4 weeks), which is perfect for a first get-together to plan a proposal for the next, more extensive study visit
- Faculty grants – in addition to institutional grants, there are also grants at the faculty level, which eliminate the competition from other faculties, and allow researchers to work more closely on a specific task or project (in fact, such a grant is currently in development at the Department of Human Development, Washington State University)
In any case, researchers within a research system are the most reliable experts regarding opportunities and requirements of exchange programs. Therefore, there is no harm in taking the first step and asking, once you have identified a topic you are passionate about and would like to work on. If you would like to know more – or if one of the topics Laura and Louise are working on is close to your heart – feel free to reach out.
Professor, Chair of the Department of Human Development, e-mail: laurahill[at]wsu.edu
Prof. Laura G. Hill’s research interests cover many different areas. From a methodological perspective, she is interested in prevention science, i.e. research on the translation, implementation, evaluation and scale-up of prevention and health promotion programs in real-world settings. Regarding specific topics, she has a particular focus on the development and testing of brief interventions (e.g. training in values-based decision making) that support students transitioning to college, and also parent-child relationships in adolescence and young adulthood.
Professor, Extension Family Development, e-mail: parker[at]wsu.edu
In her Extension role, Prof. Louise Parker seeks to connect the research interests of department colleagues and other interdisciplinary prevention researchers with extension faculty and programs based in communities across the state. Moreover, she is a Co-Investigator on prevention projects focused on family interventions to childhood obesity, and a prevention project to develop and evaluate a parent education program focused on improving the capacity of Latina mothers in helping their children cope with stress.
About the author:
Dr Samuel Tomczyk is a postdoctoral researcher on prevention of mental illness and prevention in civil protection at the University of Greifswald, Germany. Samuel completed his doctorate in Psychology at the University of Kiel, focusing on multiple substance use in adolescents. In addition to his research, he has worked on the development, implementation, and evaluation of school-based prevention projects. His main interests include health across the life span, prevention technologies, and methodology in prevention research. Samuel is the new EUSPR ECF Lead and began his duties in September 2017. You can contact him at samuel.tomczyk[at]uni-greifswald.de .