Hi, I’m Simona.
Nice to meet you!
I am a consultant within the programme leadership team, which means that I participate in project management of the consortia. I help with exploiting and making sure that the innovations are sustainable over time and get implemented.
How/When did your passion for life sciences / innovation / research start?
I chose to follow a master’s in strategic management, hoping to be able to shape companies and their strategies and learn how to steer them in the right direction. Throughout my studies I got to work on student consultancy cases with two companies, which, coincidentally or not, were both within the healthcare sector – one dealing with mental health issues, the other being an oncological clinic. While we had to treat these firms as regular companies, there was always this delicate aura hanging in the air – patients’ lives and health were at stake. I became motivated by having to work with the idea of patients being the end-users. I realized that any advancements within life sciences are advancing society not by one, but by two steps every day. The inequalities and insufficiencies within the healthcare sector are among the most alarming, which became a driver for me to join these forces.
Considering that I am very passionate to learn about new technologies, I started to realize the immense opportunities these could provide. I decided to write my thesis about additive manufacturing and its imitation among companies, modeling it by proprietarily using a model that’s been mostly used to track the spread of epidemics. Innovation and new technologies lie at the heart of life sciences. There are genius scientists out there that work days and nights to bring them to life. However, without implementing and commercializing these innovations, not much would be changing. This is where I realized I could step in and contribute.
What are the main challenges for researchers and innovators in life sciences and health, and how would you like to empower them?
After the brilliant ideas get their funding, which is already an incredibly competitive ground, the researchers are facing yet another challenge, which is for the consortium of partners to work out and for the idea to actually live on after the development phase. Firstly, like in any relationship, there are struggles and challenges with coordination. Being sunk so deep within the scientific hurdles, the partners need their struggles alleviated by proper project management. Secondly, there is that on-going pressure on scientists to bring their innovation to life and implement it in practice after the funded period is over. This is incredibly complex, due to the variety of stakeholders that you are touching with your innovation, but also whose help you need to bring your brilliance to life. Both of these arenas are where ttopstart’s programme leadership team can help.
What are your credentials/experience, for working in your position?
I have a degree in Strategic Management, which has trained me in thinking about how firms’ strategies are created and devised. This is useful when it comes to bringing new innovations to the market and commercializing them. I have worked on 2 student consultancy cases within the healthcare sector. These taught me to always put the patient on the pedestal, which is an important pre-requisite that can be leveraged in any project management related hurdles. In my previous job at the university I collaborated with professors, I got to know the backstage of academia and learn the ropes, which is coming in handy within the consortia.
What is your role and added value at ttopstart?
I am a consultant within the programme leadership team, which means that I participate in project management of the consortia and that I help with advising the consortia on sustainability plans, i.e., what will happen after the funded period is over and how can we make sure that the intended impact is realized?
In my role as a project manager, I become a true sparring partner of the consortium members, but especially the coordinator. I build trust by delivering quality work and advice and I try to make the consortium feel supported and comfortable with the EU-funding rules. I add value by providing structure to the scientific work done, ensuring that the project is implemented properly through monitoring the various workstreams, making the group feel connected and preventing them from having to deal with the administrative side of receiving EU-funding. As a consultant for sustainability, I strive to actively listen, provide structure and dive into exploring the different options with the client. I add value by being able to translate the abstract and technical details into accessible words and visualizations and by building trust that makes the client feel supported along the path.
What do you like most about working at ttopstart?
ttopstart allows me to collaborate with the greatest minds in their respective field. It’s incredible to be able to walk along with these great researchers and scientists as they change the healthcare landscape, but also to get to know them on a personal level. In our team, ttopstart also allows me to travel and participate in project meetings across Europe. I love that there are opportunities behind every corner. We get the chance to explore what we enjoy doing. There are no strict boundaries between the teams and so when needed, we can help each other out and try out different tastes of assignments. The cherry on the top of the cake is the people at ttopstart. Your colleagues are there for you, and that’s a given. We are all very solution-driven, eager to discuss and brainstorm and will always offer a helping hand when needed. Besides that, we also have a lot of fun together.
The ttopstart values are Teamwork, Taking Ownership and Passion, how do you personally relate to these values?
At ttopstart, there is rarely ever anything you do on your own. All that we do and achieve is a result of teamwork. We are a diverse group that brings in different skills to the team, and that’s what I love. Our work is challenging and having a sparring partner is very important. It works on two levels – teamwork within the internal team, and teamwork with the client. Working together in a team, we can rely on each other, hold (onto) one other in heavy situations, and celebrate together. Working together with a client, you build trust and a strong relationship and this for me is at the core of any collaboration.
We take ownership in what we do. All fun aside (and we have a lot of fun), our promise starts first and foremost with the great work we deliver – we know the field, we are professional, we are there for the client, we are reliable, and we will finish what we started.
Lastly, it boils down to passion. You sense it when you work at our office, you can grasp it when you hear us talk to our clients, and you see it in the quality of the work we deliver. We are good at what we do because we believe in the power of science and innovation. We resonate with the current market inequalities and gap. We feel for the patients. We hope to support those that can make changes and move the healthcare field forward. The passion we share makes our teamwork tick and allows us to take ownership. It all simply starts there.
One of the challenges for the consortium and its partners is for the idea to work out and to actually live on after the development phase. The ttopstart’s programme leadership team can help with this.
+31 (0)6 – 83 16 72 19
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