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ICECReam Guruview - Prof Raymond Ostelo

All of us are pretty used to the view of the research world from the bottom of the tree and at least some are keen to climb a little higher and try and make a real career out of it. To get an idea of what it’s like for those that have ‘made it’ in research (or at least have a secure) the ICECReam decided to put the interviewer cap on, find some established researchers and grill them with the tough questions.

Guest: Prof Raymond Ostelo

ICECReam: In 25 words or less tell us about your PhD experience

RO: Good fun; great supervision; luxury of focusing on 1 topic only

ICECReam: Which Russian leader best typifies your leadership style:

  1. Putin (strong, vaguely menacing)

  2. Gorbachev (reformer, singer of Russian romantic ballads)

  3. Stalin (strong, overtly menacing)

  4. Lenin (revolutionary, idealistic)

  5. Yeltsin (mostly drunk)

RO: Stalin (strong, overtly menacing)

ICECReam: In casual conversations with normal people (i.e. not scientists), what do you say you do for work?

RO: Usually I try to avoid talking to people (in general) but if so, then I say: research

ICECReam: Complete this sentence: You’ve made it in research when…

RO: you won the Nobel Prize

ICECReam: What is your favourite amusing and/or inspirational quote?

RO: Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.

ICECReam: What are you most proud of so far, career-wise?

RO: Organizing the Low Back Pain Forum in Amsterdam together with my good colleague Maurits van Tulder

ICECReam: Who is the smartest person you know?

RO: Peter Croft

ICECReam: Are your students:

  1. a constant source of entertainment?

  2. challenging, intelligent co-workers?

  3. the reason you wake up in the morning?

  4. the bane of your existence?

  5. Other (please specify).

RO: a constant source of entertainment

ICECReam: What is the best thing about your job? The worst?

RO: Best: freedom to choose own topics Worst: Red Tape

ICECReam: What is the best decision you’ve made in your research career?

RO: To move to EMGO, Amsterdam

ICECReam: What qualities do you look for when choosing a PhD/research student?

RO: Smart, being able to work independently, organised, fine character

ICECReam: Any other pearls of wisdom you would like to give to ICECReam readers?

RO: The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.

Got someone in mind who you think might make an interesting interviewee? Get in touch with one of us here and let us know.

Prof Raymond Ostelo trained and practiced as a physiotherapist before moving into research via a PhD at Maastricht University. He’s got so many publications he stopped counting, supervised a string of PhD students, has received a few million Euros worth of grants and currently works at the EMGO+ Institute at the VU University, Amsterdam. Raymond is a pretty big wheel in the world of clinimetrics and outcome measurement, if you’ve read anything on the topic in the musculoskeletal area he’s probably one of authors. In his spare time he looks after his young kids, plays table tennis and complains about the state of Dutch domestic football.