Tilburg Young Academy

David Peeters

Assistant professor in the department of Communication and Cognition at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences

Can you introduce yourself?

Hello! My name is David Peeters. I am working as an assistant professor in the department of Communication and Cognition at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences. I investigate aspects of human language and cognition, including the hand gestures people make when they speak, how bilinguals and multilinguals manage to express themselves in more than one language, and how new digital technologies are used in works of literary art. I live in Den Bosch and in my spare time I very much enjoy reading novels and going for long hikes.

David Peeters

Research and education are two important pillars of academia. What do they mean to you?

Before moving to Tilburg, I have worked in research institutes for many years, where focus was almost exclusively on doing research. That was a great privilege, as it allowed for really taking the time to come up with new ideas, and developing and answering curiosity-driven research questions. Nevertheless, as a researcher one has the responsibility to pass on newly acquired knowledge, not just to international colleagues via research articles and presentations, but also to younger generations of students via teaching. Being able to do top-class research at Tilburg University while at the same time sharing the latest research insights with groups of motivated students is a great way of spending my time on this planet.

You are now one of the initial members of the TYA. How is that like?

It is wonderful to be part of the first generation of Tilburg Young Academy members and I feel very honored and privileged. There are many aspects to Dutch academia that could be improved, and I hope that the TYA will be able to positively contribute to changes that will make academia a healthier environment. What has struck me most during the first meetings we have had, is how nice it is to get into contact and exchange ideas with people from different Schools. And in general it is of course very nice to be part of a group of people that are called ‘Young’.

I am sure you all have topics that are important to you. What is your main focus in the TYA?

I would like to advocate for more *time* for Early Career Researchers. The degree of efficiency that we as young researchers need to have to simply survive in the current system is way too high. This has led to a situation in which there is hardly any room for important academic activities such as critical thinking, fundamental theoretical discussions, in-depth reading of classic and more recent work. I hardly have time to carefully read any article published by my international colleagues! We need at least one day a week for reading, creative thinking, theoretical discussions – the things that not directly lead to an extra line on your CV. In addition, I hope to contribute to promoting more diversity in the university’s teaching staff, such that there will be clearly recognizable role models available for all students

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