Niels Hintzen is a Senior scientist for fisheries advice in the Marine Research subdivision of Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands.
How did you first get involved with ICES?I got involved right from the start of my career. I went to ICES Workshop on Herring Management Plans (WKHMP) in February 2008, just 6 months after beginning my contract with IMARES (former WMR). Mark Dickey-Collas, my colleague at that time and herring expert, guided me through the work I had to prepare and present at the meeting. It was my first encounter with the herring experts that I continued to work with for the next 12 years!
I've been most active in ICES expert groups - such as the Herring Assessment Working Group (including chairing it for 3 years) and all sorts of management plan evaluation workshops that were related to herring. I joined the multi-species working group for several years (WGSAM), co-chaired a workshop on stock structure, was reviewer of ICES benchmarks - as well as chairing one, and participated in several advice drafting groups.
I have also been an instructor. For 3 years, I have taught participants of the ICES training course on the analyses of VMS and logbook data for fisheries science.
Unfortunately, I've only been to two Annual Science Conferences (ASC) as it usually clashes with other meetings I have to attend. In my early career, I spent a lot of time in meetings (15–16 weeks annually), of which the majority were ICES meetings.
Working in ICES for me meant getting training (on the job) by THE experts in their respective fields. I learned so much with all the help I got from the international experts. I expanded my international network which allowed me to publish peer-reviewed articles with a large group of scientists.
In my case, international colleagues were more than supportive. They helped me understand the nitty gritty details of fisheries management, how to technically approach it myself and how to put it into a biological context, as well as giving me perspectives on what approaches usually work and do not work.
In terms of continuing my training as a fisheries biologist, my participation in ICES was crucial. In terms of scientific output, the chances I got to expand my network and collaborate with scientists all over Europe has been very beneficial. Even today, the people I worked with in ICES meetings are the ones I collaborate with in for example EU Horizon 2020 projects.
I have gained a lot of friends and an extra set of colleagues through my participation in ICES. This makes work even more fun. The learning opportunities are excellent as there are many "teachers" around, all happy to share their ideas, their work, and even their scripts they used to analyze their data.
There are many ways to become involved with ICES:
In addition, each year, ICES organizes events for early career scientists at our Annual Science Conference (ASC).
Niels Hintzen, Wageningen University and Research.