2021 in review

I’m a sucker for end-of-year reflections, and this year brought no shortage of memorable events, unanticipated challenges and new life chapters. So here goes: my year in review, in pseudorandom order of my associative memory.

Good things

  • Survived a global pandemic
  • Kept a small, embodied biological neural network alive, fed and mostly happy. Motor control going well, language will be next
  • Bought a house
  • Awarded a Veni grant from NWO, to pursue my research on neural and behavioral noise in ageing
  • Saw my temporary contract turn permanent, thanks to a new national collective labour agreement
  • Published 9 papers and preprints
    • I’m especially happy to have finally submitted the last paper from my PhD, which I started in 2013. Hopefully 2022 will see it published!
  • Co-organized my first conference: very proud of having made a small contribution to NeuroMatch 4.0
  • Spoke at 2 virtual conferences, 1 summer school and 1 panel, and gave 9 virtual talks.
  • Reviewed 8 papers
  • Started supervising 3 student projects
  • Served as an examiner for four PhD theses
  • Designed and taught my first course

Not so good things

  • Survived a global pandemic
  • Increasingly desperate about the point of neuroscience in a world on fire
  • Spent several months so sleep-deprived I could hardly think
  • Failed to make any meaningful progress on analyzing all the beautiful postdoc data I collected
  • Rarely found time to read in depth
  • Wrote five grant proposals that were rejected
  • Registered for too many virtual meetings that I then failed to attend (or tried to catch up on half-heartedly)
  • Bid on four different houses, each time losing out from someone who put more money on the table
  • Promised to take a proper summer holiday, but got interrupted to write a rebuttal to grant reviewers
Not a bad year! Here’s me with some champagne, celebrating after I heard that I’d been awarded the Veni grant. For completeness, note the background with its mess of drying laundry and toys strewn around.

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