I am a research master student in the program of Organization Studies and Human Resource Studies at Tilburg University. As part of my curriculum I am participating as a research trainee in different projects relevant to my studies. Since January I am working for Dialogic on a project about interorganizational cooperation in the Dutch education sector. Based on both, network data from secondary and higher education institutions as well as individual student characteristics, I try to shed light on the effects that cooperation and stronger coherence in the education system has on school graduates’ career choices.
Throughout my studies at Tilburg University I benefitted a lot from training in a wide range of methodological aspects of organization studies and developed a particular interest in network analysis and related theory. Now I am going to apply this in a field linked to social policy, which is content wise especially interesting for me, since my academic background is in sociology with a focus on education, social policy and labour relations.
A couple of years ago there was the policy approach to increase the inflow of students into university programs in the natural and engineering sciences in the Netherlands by encouraging education institutions to collaborate more frequently. The program was evaluated by Dialogic and seems to have the desired positive effect on students’ career choices. However, until now there is no further investigation of the actual process through which collaboration enhances student inflow in specific subjects. Therefore my aim is to offer a theoretically grounded explanation of how cooperation in education systems can influence individuals’ choices. The findings in turn will hopefully have practical implications, in so far as they can provide an indication of how to successfully use networking as a policy instrument rather than traditional school-by-school implementations.I am quite confident that this project serves me not only as training in conducting research, but also opens up a thematic field, which will be relevant for my own future practice. Doing this project with Dialogic provides me the chance of pursuing research in a field that has far more practical relevance than those projects I do at university. To compensate for the deskwork in studying and research I like doing sports (running and tennis) as well as travelling and getting to know foreign countries whenever possible.