The early-career researchers that I met while being part of the Global Young Academy, and later the Hungarian Young Academy, have had a lasting impression on me. Not only have they allowed me to learn a lot about areas of science outside my own expertise in neonatology and immunology, they have given me insight into how various areas of policy are implemented around the world. But perhaps the most inspiring thing has been the people I’ve been able to work with as part of the young academies.

Besides being leaders in their own area of expertise, they are brought together by the common goal of bringing about positive change in society. I admire their dedication and energy on an individual level and find the things groups of such dedicated people can achieve truly amazing.

After being elected in 2016 as the first Hungarian to join the Global Young Academy, I helped to formulate a declaration on the guiding principles of Young Academies and coordinated a major survey on the issues affecting early-career researchers in Hungary. These included job stability, diversity and inclusion, work-life balance and international competitiveness. The findings of this survey helped form the basis of several projects that led to policy changes at the national level. It also played a direct role in the subsequent establishment of the Hungarian Young Academy in 2019.

I’m now a senior lecturer at the Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, in New Zealand. My involvement with Young Academies has allowed me to learn a lot about science policy and the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. I was glad to experience the engagement of more established experts and “senior academies” with early-career researchers.