Ning Yan, assistant professor of Chemistry

Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS), Faculty of Science

‘I enjoy carrying out curiosity-driven research to explore the unknown.’

Dr Ning Yan

Dr Ning Yan. Photo by Dirk Gillissen.

‘I joined the Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) in 2014 as a tenure-track assistant professor. I am a materials scientist and electrochemist, working on the development of electro-catalysts for fuel cell applications. A fuel cell is an electrochemical device that directly converts fuels into electricity, in a way that is efficient and environmentally friendly.

I chose the UvA because it is one of the largest research-intensive universities in Europe with a great reputation, yet which encourages its employees to maintain a good work-life balance.

One of the ‘positives’ of my situation is my research environment here in Amsterdam, which gives me a lot of freedom to do the work that I am really interested in. HIMS provided excellent support during the start-up phase. Now I have a small group focusing on fuel cell development and its scientific activities are strongly supported by various staff members in the department. I am happy that our work has received attention from the students as well, and we have a number of talented undergraduate and Master’s students participating.

There are many other aspects of my work that I appreciate,  from supervising young students to the frequent discussions with my enthusiastic and brilliant colleagues about the sciences and about life.

One of the challenges in coming here was finding and renting a good place to live in Amsterdam. Some apartments are not affordable for a single person like me, some are too far from public transport, and some have to be shared with too many tenants. I am grateful that the UvA finally helped me out during my relocation.

My advice for an international employee who has never visited the Netherlands before is that it is always good to know a bit about Amsterdam and the local people before your official work starts at the UvA. Go on a bike excursion in the city, try some typical Dutch food in the street or have a nice talk with your Dutch neighbours. This can be extremely helpful during the transition time.'

Published by  University of Amsterdam

15 February 2016