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The many faces of Lygature – Interview series, part 1

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The following news stories are dedicated to showcasing the variety of activities our Lygature colleagues are involved in and the value they bring to the projects we provide partnership management services for. They share what excites them the most about working at Lygature, what they find challenging and how they adapted to the new working conditions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tracey Faase works as a Financial Controller at Lygature and has different areas of focus. One of them is taking care of Lygature’s finances as a whole.

What is the focus of your work within Lygature?

I need to keep a helicopter view over the projects and help make sure the financial side of the business is running smoothly. Next to that, I have my own projects that I work on. One of which is ESCulab, a European IMI 2 project, where Lygature is the coordinator. I maintain contact with beneficiaries as a financial coordinator regarding their reporting and how to use the IMI portal. I enjoy helping people with that. However, most of my work is for Oncode Institute where I am responsible for the financial administration. This includes, among others, keeping track of all funding and spending, financial reporting from the partner institutes and to funders, setting up quarterly reports for management and audit committees and setting up new internal financial control processes.”

What do you enjoy the most about your work in the organisation?

I really enjoy the variety of the work and the drive everyone has at Lygature. I also take pleasure in speaking to people outside of Lygature - for ESCulab, for instance. The interactions I have regarding Oncode also keep me sharp. There is so much going on that it never gets boring!

Tracey at her home office
What is challenging about your work?

The diversity of my work can also be a challenge. Being able to switch from my role in Lygature to my role in Oncode can be hard at times. Another example is the complexity for the funding streams for Oncode where all different funders have different reporting requirements. Nevertheless, I love working as part of a team and that gives me energy!

How does Lygature bring value to the wider field of medical innovations in your opinion?

Tracey believes in sharing knowledge and explains that the work she does for Lygature matches her personal values: “The concept of sharing information and the link between the academic institutes and pharma companies, for instance, is an indispensable driver for medical innovations. The idea that we can add something to that is amazing! The feeling that you can actually do something to make a difference, that makes me proud! I love the international environment as well!”

What is the nicest compliment you have received while working at Lygature?

On the personal front, I received a compliment once from one colleague, which was something along the lines of me bringing smiles to people’s faces and being a breath of fresh air. That was nice to hear! From a work perspective, I received a compliment from another colleague during a Lygature General meeting who said that I managed to provide more insight into the figures for Oncode. He said that this helps program managers decide on how to move forward with their research programmes. This is important to me because in this way I know that my work is adding value.

How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your work?

Initially, the combination of home schooling my children next to working from home was challenging in finding the balance between work and private life. I have also been busy with work around the annual statements for Oncode. It is that time of the year, but luckily the work has been able to continue. Using Microsoft Teams and Sharepoint, we’ve been able to work with our accountants without any issues. But, I do miss my colleagues and having chats with them, while at the same time I enjoy the flexibility of working from home. I really miss being able to print documents, and having a monitor though. I don’t have a separate office at home so am working purely on the laptop. Most of the time that is okay but sometimes I miss the larger screen, for example, if I want to compare two documents. Lygature have offered for me to borrow items I may need to use at home and even provided a budget for me to buy the right equipment. I just don’t have a permanent place to put it! Sometimes I work in the living room (as in the photo) but quite often when I’m in a call I am in the bedroom of one of the children at their desk. Either way I think I can be flexible and open to change, which helps under the circumstances.

Do you have a tip for adapting to the current situation of working from home?

During these times of staying at home as much as possible, I find that I need to move more – I tend to sit a lot, so I started giving myself certain time frames to stand up, get a drink or just move about. I also find it helpful to make plans for dinner and thus stop with work. I advise to make sure you limit your working day, as sometimes the line between private life and work can get blurry.

Edmar Weitenberg works as a Project Communications Manager on projects in the field of research data infrastructure. This involves programs such as Health-RI, BBMRI-NL, Personal Health Train and FAIRplus. His day-to-day responsibilities include, among others, writing articles, providing communication advise to program managers, managing communication channels and content creation.

What do you enjoy the most about your work in the organisation?

In Lygature you feel you are working for the good cause. Our projects really make a difference and will lead to scientific progress and will improve healthcare. That really appeals to me. Moreover, the dedicated people in Lygature is inspiring and this is something I enjoy. The projects I work on cover a broad spectrum of topics in the field of healthcare and this makes for a diverse and enriching work.

Edmar working at home
What is challenging about your work?

The field of research data infrastructure is quite complex. It involves many stakeholders and it takes some time to figure out the roles and responsibilities of all the parties in the field. In general, you need to get familiar with many specifics of the topics and have an eye for the details. However, you must also be able to take a step back and look with a fresh eye to see the bigger picture, to identify the core of the issue and not get stuck into or taken away by the details.  

How does Lygature bring value to the wider field of medical innovations in your opinion?

Edmar believes that Lygature brings value to the wider field of medical innovation by identifying opportunities for improving healthcare. Often various parties are working in different ways to improve healthcare, both in the public and private sector. Lygature knows how to fill the gaps between those efforts, he says. Public-private partnerships are essential to advance medical innovation. It enables innovations which otherwise would take much more time. 

What is the nicest compliment you have received while working at Lygature?

It struck someone that in this environment of talented people with strong opinions I do manage to find my own path. And that’s probably because I can be a bit headstrong myself.

How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted your work?

During the COVID-19 crisis Edmar experienced an increase in his workload. Projects such as Health-RI and BBMRI-NL required more efforts in terms of collecting data on COVID-19 related projects and initiatives. With his colleagues Sofie Hansen, Rita Azevedo and Vesna de Jong he worked hard to create an overview of these projects and make them findable and accessible for scientists.

Regarding working from home, he continues: “I do miss going out to work. I miss the face to face contact with colleagues and being able to discuss things in a more natural way.”

Do you have a tip for adapting to the current situation of working from home?

My advice to others for dealing with the present situation would be to not get stuck behind your computer for too many hours. Sometimes you just have to switch off. Schedule a rest in your agenda and go out for a walk. Also, do not open your computer in the evening. Unfortunately, I find it very difficult to follow this advice myself.

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