Anne Lycke presented the CTBT Young Professionals Network (YPN) during the WGB 59 NDC Issues and Capacity Building session
CEO at NORSAR, Anne Lycke, presented the background and development of the CTBT Young Professionals Network (YPN) during the WGB 59 NDC Issues and Capacity Building session on 25 Aug. Speaking from NORSAR’s own experiences, she underlined the importance of creating a smooth generational shift in the CTBT sphere.
Background of the CTBT Young Professionals Network (YPN)
In 2018, the CTBT Young Professionals Network (YPN) was introduced by Norway in cooperation with the Executive Secretary and the PTS. The CTBT Young Professionals Network is a community of young scientists and technical professionals working on monitoring and verification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT).
After 4 four years, including a pandemic, the network has developed into more than 89 scientists and technical professionals from 34 different countries. As such, the YPN is truly global and diverse. The initiative has received great support from state signatories, dedicated mentors, and the young professionals themselves.
The YPN serves as a meeting place for free-thinking where new solutions from a new generation can emerge, and the power of the network is that it holds members with varying expertise within all four CTBT verification technologies. Through the network, the next generation members of the CTBT National Data Centres and the Provisional Technical Secretariat can meet, discuss, and establish relationships to strengthen collaborations within the CTBTO.
Networking and knowledge-transfer
In response to the challenges associated with COVID-19, the Young Professionals Network increased activity on online channels and focused on virtual events. A very popular event series is the almost monthly “YPN Science & Tech Talks”, where members and mentors talk about their work and research, and discuss relevant scientific topics, the IMS, and technology.
The network also arranges more casual events called “YPN MINI-TALKS: Work & Research” and “Meet the Young Professionals”, where members get the chance to learn from others, gather inspiration, and network with their peers from around the world.
These events help young professionals make new connections, increase knowledge and awareness of trends in science and technology, and discover career opportunities. They have also proven to be a stepping-stone for future collaborations and joint projects!
Network members also meet at YPN events in connection with Working Group B and other CTBTO activities. The YPN is grateful that it is possible to arrange in-person events again but will continue with online and hybrid events to include all members. The Young Professionals Network is also looking forward to planning a YPN event during SnT 2023.
In addition to presence on various social media platforms, the Young Professionals Network has its own web portal – a social and scientific networking site that makes it easy for members to connect and share something with each other. The members have created personal profiles and share ideas and research in thematic groups, and the web portal is updated with content related to the YPN, such as interviews with members and upcoming events.
Creating opportunities for scientific and professional growth
Noteworthily, the YPN has created programs aimed at helping young professionals develop both scientifically and professionally. Through the mentor program and the newly launched YPN Pilot Exchange Program, members have premium access to world-leading experts and international work experience. In May 2022, the YPN Exchange Program was introduced. During the pilot phase, three NDCs – NORSAR, ZAMG, and KNMI – will be welcoming exchange requests from members of the network.
The YPN events are rich in content and have received great interest from scientists outside the network. From April 2022, the CTBT Young Professionals Network started offering an associate membership for young students and researchers belonging to STEM fields who might envision a career at an NDC, conduct research with IMS data, or have a general interest in the CTBT verification regime. This will expand the network’s outreach and support one of the overall goals of the network, namely, to ensure that there will be a new generation of experts and leaders to take the work of the CTBTO forward.
To create a smooth generational shift and ensure the future of the CTBT verification regime, the recruitment of highly skilled and motivated younger scientists and technical experts is essential. The YPN is important for the CTBTO and Working Group B, because it enlarges the talent pool and guarantees the recruitment of brilliant people. The network is crucial for establishing relationships that strengthen collaborations within the CTBTO and provides a valuable venue for preparing and enabling the next generation to take on formal positions at the NDCs, the PTS, and the various tasks related to WGB.
We hope that all NDCs and state signatories encourage their younger scientific and technological experts to join the network – it will benefit all!
- Anne Lycke, CEO at NORSAR