About Our Organization

YEAR is the network of young researchers in Europe. We aim to be a common channel for trainings, networking, consulting and mobility for young researchers in Europe.

Our network brings together a potential of about 4,000 young researchers in European research.

Who are we?

YEAR (Young European Associated Researchers) is a non-profit international organization which gathers professionals from European Research and Technology Organisations (RTOs). If the organisations are the members of YEAR (that is to say that there is no individual membership), the young researchers and early-stage career employees are the core of our network.

What is our vision and mission?

YEAR vision is to enhance the potential, capabilities and competitiveness of the European Research Area (ERA) by increasing the exchange of ideas and contacts at researcher level.

We strongly believe that early-stage researchers of today will define our future. Thus, our mission is to create opportunities to support the development of young researchers’ career by helping them to extend their professional network and gain new skills in an international environment.

YEAR develops its activities on three main pillars:

How to become a member?

Who can become member?

RTOs and Research and Development departments of industrial organisations are considered as potential YEAR members. There is no individual membership. YEAR is aimed at organisations and departments of larger organisations that are established in member countries of the European Union or European Economic Area, which are managerially independent and which provide research and development, technology and innovation services as their predominant activity.

Is there an age limit?

YEAR is meant for early-stage career and young-minded people; therefore, there is no age limit to join our activities.

What does it cost?

The amount of the membership fee depends on the number of employees in your organization. The fee is 5 € per employee with a minimum of 800 € and a maximum of 6,000 €.

A 15% discount to the subscription will be given to each organization that has an internal young employees’ association linked to it.

A formalized network of young researchers within a participating organisation is not a requirement for membership. However, to set up an internal network of young researchers will help your organization as a whole – we can offer you help on building up such a network.

If you are interested in joining YEAR, please contact us at contact@year-network. Your time is very important for us; thus, we have reduced the bureaucracy to the minimum.


Officially founded in 2007, our current members are:

  • AICIA Asociación de Investigación y Cooperación Industrial de Andalucía, Spain – www.aicia.es
  • AIT– Austrian Institute of Technology, Austria –  www.ait.ac.at
  • RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Sweden – www.ri.se
  • SINTEF, Norway –  www.sintef.no
  • TNO Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research, The Netherlandswww.tno.nl
  • TYNDALL Tyndall National Institute, Irelandhttps://www.tyndall.ie
  • VITO Vlaamse instelling voor technologisch onderzoek, Belgium – www.vito.be
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland – www.vtt.fi


Colm Mc Caffrey

Colm is a Senior Research Scientist in Sensors and Integration at VTT (Finland). He holds Doctor of Science in Electrical Engineering. His main research interests include wearable, environmental and industrial sensor technologies with a focus on power autonomy, sensor interface, radio communications and intensive miniaturisation for seamless sensing system integration. He joined the board in 2017.


Secretary General

Caitlin Huotilainen

Caitlin is a Senior Research Scientist in the Nuclear Reactor Materials team at VTT (Finland). She holds a PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse. Her current research focuses on ensuring the safe and long-term operation of existing and future nuclear power plants. She joined the Board in 2018.




Anahid Jalali

Anahid is a scientist in the department of Digital Safety and Security at the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT). Her research includes the application of Machine Learning technologies, specifically deep learning with a focus on predictive maintenance and explainability in ML. She joined the board in 2019.


Vice President

Jef Bergmans

Jef is a Research Scientist in  the unit Sustainable Materials Management at VITO (Belgium). He works in the field of Recycling Technologies for inorganic waste streams (e.g. metallurgical waste, construction and demolition waste, fine-grained sludges). He joined the board in 2014.


Activities Officer

Behrooz Sangchoolie

Behrooz is a researcher in the Dependable System section at RISE Research Institutes of Sweden. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Chalmers University of Technology. His current research interests include dependability assessment of computer systems as well as safety and security interplay analysis using fault and attack injection. He joined the Board in 2019.



European Affairs

Michela Vignoli

Michela is Junior Scientist at AIT, Austrian Institute of Technology, where she gained expertise in Open Science, Open Access, and Open (Research) Data. As YEAR board member she considerably contributed to consultation activities with the European Commission and to the organisation of YEAR events. Earlier this year she was nominated member of the EU high-level advisory group Open Science Policy Platform. She joined the board in 2013.


European Affairs

Salvatore Tedesco

Salvatore is a Senior Researcher – Team Leader at the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. He joined Tyndall in 2012. His research interest are focused on wearable technologies for healthcare and well-being, human movement analysis in sports and clinical populations, motion sensors, signal processing, data analytics and machine learning. Salvatore joined the board in 2019.


External Relations

Cansu Birgen

Cansu is a Research Scientist in the department of Energy Research – Thermal Energy at SINTEF (Norway). She holds a PhD degree in Chemical Engineering and has worked in the area of environmentally friendly energy processes since 2012. Her areas of expertise include bioenergy, sustainable energy systems, mathematical modelling including machine-learning methods and data analysis. She joined the Board in 2020.




Mike Wilmer

Mike is a junior scientist at TNO, The Hague. He has a Masters degree in Electrical Engineering from the Eindhoven University of Technology. He now works at the department of Data Science on the explainability of machine learning. He joined the board in 2019.




Technology Manager

Simon Gunkel

Simon is a scientist and innovator at TNO, The Hague. He received a Master of Science degree in 2012 both from the Technical University Berlin in Germany and KAIST in Daejeon, Republic of Korea. His ongoing research efforts cover a wide range of topics in multimedia such as Virtual Reality, multimedia communication, video conferencing, and Quality of Experience. Simon joined the board in 2017.



Jennifer Carreiro

Jennifer is a Research Scientist in the Wind Power Technologies team at VTT (Finland). She holds a Masters in Aeronautical Engineering from the Uiversity of Glasgow. Her current research focuses on aerodynamics of wind farms and the different environmental factors affecting turbines (icing, erosion). She joined the Board in 2021.



Ghazal Etminan

Ghazal Etminan is an internationally experienced urban development and economic planner working for AIT´s Center for Energy in the Business Digital Resilient Cities. Ghazal graduated as Dipl-Ing in ‘Building Science and Technology’ at the Technical University of Vienna and holds a MSc degree in “Engineering and Construction Management”. She joined the board in 2020.