ttopstart’s collaborative journey with the Erasmus MC Viroscience Department

Over the past year and three months, ttopstart consultants Martha and Sigrid provided hands-on support to the Viroscience department’s project office at Erasmus MC, overseeing various EU and national projects. In addition to grant writing support, ttopstart can provide support for project management. 

About the Viroscience Department at Erasmus MC

The Viroscience Department at Erasmus MC is an international centre of excellence for multidisciplinary, basic, translational and clinical research of viruses and virus infections at the molecular, patient and population level. The department is led by Head of Department Professor Marion Koopmans, also director of the WHO collaborating centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, scientific director for Emerging Infectious Diseases of the Netherlands Centre for One Health (NCOH) and scientific director of the Pandemic and Disaster Preparedness Centre in Rotterdam/Delft. Marion is currently involved in over 15 running EU and national funded projects. The Viroscience Department bridges basic and clinical virology, linking medical, veterinary, public health, and ecological expertise to be able to meet to tackle common and newly emerging viral diseases.

Involvement in projects

ttopstart has provided project management support in various ambitious projects at Erasmus MC, of which some of the main projects are listed below.


DURABLE, an EU funded project co-funded by HERA, is a strong network of world class basic and translational research institutes and public health centres across Europe with an outstanding track record in public health support with global reach. The project is led by Jean-Claude Manuguerra from Institut Pasteur (IP) and Marion Koopmans (Erasmus MC). There are 19 partners involved, across 15 different European countries.

Within DURABLE, ttopstart supported IP, handling project management tasks and overseeing communication efforts. This included the setup of a dedicated project website, producing an internal newsletter, creating standardised document templates, including PowerPoint and logo designs, and developing promotional materials such as brochures and flyers.


VEO, the Versatile Emerging infectious disease Observatory is a H2020 project that started in 2020 and will run until December 2025. The goal of the project is to build an observatory for the generation and distribution of evidence-based early warning, risk assessment and monitoring of emerging infectious diseases. The project is coordinated by Marion Koopmans and Frank Aarestrup from Denmark Technical University (DTU).

ttopstart closely supported the project manager from DTU and helped with project management related tasks, such as preparing the technical and financial reports towards the EC, preparing the amendment, monitoring the progress of deliverables and milestones, organising face-to-face meetings and supporting with any ad-hoc tasks.


OHPACT, a national research collaboration focused on mosquito-borne diseases, started in 2020 and will run until November 2025. The project is funded by NWO and brings together experts from various disciplines across the Netherlands (and Spain). The main goal is to gain a systemic understanding of mosquito-borne diseases and how their emergence and transmission is influenced by major environmental and social changes. The consortium is made up of 17 different institutions, with a total of 26 PhD students and one post-doc actively engaged in the project.

ttopstart’s contributions facilitated smooth coordination among the diverse stakeholders. From organising (face-to-face) meetings and connecting with the advisory board on project related matters to ensuring timely technical and financial reporting towards the NWO.

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The pandemic had impacted our research organisation, with many new short term projects and frequent reporting deadlines that greatly increased the burden of work when managing them.  Martha and Sigrid came to support us. I am impressed by the calm, friendly, professional manner by which they managed to take charge in managing this complex portfolio.”

– Professor Marion Koopmans, Head of Department of Viroscience 

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