Introduce yourself. What is your current role? My name is Jessica Hayes and I am the PANDEM-2 project manager. My scientific background is in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine and more recently, Performance Psychology. As the PANDEM-2 project manager I am responsible for the scientific and operational management of the project and ultimately to ensure the timely and successful delivery of PANDEM-2 milestones and deliverables.
What does a typical day look like for you? The great thing about my role is that every day is different, but the focus is always on executing PANDEM-2 to the best of the consortium’s ability. Generally, my day involves meeting with different partners and/or groups of partners within the PANDEM-2 consortium to discuss their work plan. This might involve technical meetings around software development, visual analytics, predicative modelling and pandemic indicators to discussions around training exercises, social, legal and ethical issues in pandemic management or communication management in health crises. Given the huge interdependency within the work of PANDEM-2 most of the meetings would have a multi-disciplinary presence so it takes a lot to keep up! The administrative side of my role is also varied and includes scientific coordination of project tasks, reviewing deliverables, tracking project finances, project reporting, interacting with our advisory board and other stakeholders as to ensure the longevity of the PANDEM-2 outputs.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? Research at its core is about problem-solving and I love the challenge of identifying a ‘problem’ and looking for ways to address this. Anyone in research knows however, that any time you may find an answer to one question, 500 others emerge! The great thing about this line of work is that it has real-life impact on people’s health and security.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? My name is Alma Tostmann. I am an epidemiologist specialised in infectious diseases, outbreaks and public health. I am currently working as hospital epidemiologist at the Infection Prevention and Control Unit. My main topic of work is the prevention of hospital acquired infections, detecting and responding to hospital outbreaks and conducting applied research. Since the start of the pandemic, I am actively involved in monitoring COVID-19 infections among our healthcare workers and the identification of potential transmission between healthcare workers and/or patients.
What does a typical day look like for you? Currently the COVID-19 pandemic dictates large parts of my day. A typical day would start with the “morning hand-over” in our IPC unit. We discuss what the main planned activities will be for our unit and divide the tasks. I prepare the overviews for the weekly outbreak management team meeting of our hospital, analyse data of COVID-19 infections among employees and patients, the results of the self-reported self-tests in relation to the PCR-testing results and summarize some in-depth analyses that the researcher of our team conducted. I discuss the report with one of our IPC-experts before we add it to the agenda of the meeting.
At 11:00 I also give a lecture to 3rd year Medicine and Biomedical Science students about infectious disease surveillance and outbreak investigations.
In the afternoon I have time for more non-COVID related work, and I have a meeting with my Research and Master’s students about a project on the detection of outbreaks at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit based on the microbiological screening cultures that are taken weekly.
In the evening I travel to the national broadcasting company studios where I take part as an invited expert in radio coverage of the national press conference. This has been my unofficial but steady role since the end of 2020, and it has been such a pleasure to be able to communicate basic infectious disease epidemiology concepts to a broader audience.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? I enjoy that I can apply all my knowledge and experience to infectious disease challenges that occur in daily clinical practice. The collaboration with different experts in my own institute but also national and international experts is always a pleasure. I have a lot of opportunities to keep on developing my professionals and academic skills. Last year I participated in a leadership program from our university medical centre, where I learned a lot about leadership and further developed my own style and preferences. It makes me happy when I discover enthusiasm for infectious disease in the young people that I teach, train or mentor.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? Hi, my name is Maike Overmeyer and I work as a research associate at the Fraunhofer Institute for Technological Trend Analysis in Euskirchen, Germany. I have a Master’s degree in Peace and Conflict Studies and in the PANDEM-2 project I, together with my colleagues from Fraunhofer as well as our partners at CARR, work on developing guidelines and strategies for pandemic communication.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? The best think about working with so many different partners and in different projects is that I don’t work in just one scientific field but many different ones. While one day might be very focussed on learning about climate change and its effect on wildfires across Europe, other days are spent learning about how epidemiology and its relevance for an organisation like airport rescue and firefighting services. I get to learn something new from experts all across Europe!
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project? For me, working on the PANDEM-2 project means that I can have an active part in improving how we respond to the next pandemic in the future. Having previously worked very briefly for a local public health department in Germany, I can use my personal experience, as well as the knowledge of all our very knowledgeable end-user partners, to work on improving our collective pandemic preparedness and response.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? My name is Chantal Bleeker. I am an Infectious Diseases specialist in the Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. I have specialized in outbreaks of Infectious Diseases and I participate in the PANDEM-2 project as a representative for the end-user perspective.
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project?
I really like the great team effort on PANDEM-2. Everybody has to work on this project in what is probably the busiest time in their careers due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that only increases our motivation to improving pandemic preparedness in this project.
“I think diversity is very important for every team. In research but also in medicine still more women are needed in higher positions. Combining clinical work with research and management is a lot of fun!”
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? My name is Carina Pussnig and I work as a project manager for the Department of National Disaster Management and Research at the Headquarters of the Austrian Red Cross in Vienna. I hold a Master’s degree in Global Health, so the projects and activities I’m working on are mostly related to the field of health.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? What I like most about working in science is that I am constantly learning and discovering new things. Each project is so individual, which allows me to dive into multiple new topics and themes and have discussions with people from various scientific backgrounds. I am passionate about interdisciplinary research and working on such innovative projects to find solutions jointly is certainly one of the most enjoyable parts of my work.
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project? For me, the PANDEM-2 project is a wonderful opportunity to work on a global health issue within a team of experts from different fields of science. Each partner contributes with highly valuable knowledge, and I truly enjoy learning from my colleagues’ expertise whilst providing input from an end-user perspective. Moreover, the variety of countries represented in the consortium allows me to gain deep insights into national responses to the current COVID-19 pandemic across Europe. I believe the output of the project will be highly valuable to help us being much better prepared for future pandemics.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? My name is Stephanie Rahill. I am Registered Nutritionist with a PhD in public health nutrition. My current role is as a Public Health Research Analyst with Trilateral Research Ltd. My role involves working on public health related projects to explore the social & ethical issues and establish potential solutions to mitigate them. My role within the PANDEM-2 project is to specifically identify and explore ethical, social & privacy that may arise during the course of the PANDEM-2 project and tool development but also to adopt a more forward-looking approach to ensure that the tools developed during the project do not unintentionally contribute or cause any issues during when deployed.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? I enjoy working as part of team to solve complex problems that are having a negative impact on society. By working in science, I am helping provide the most relevant and recent evidence that will enable those in the relevant professions to create policies or make decisions that will either eliminate or reduce the impact of the problem being researched.
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project? Working with a broad range of experts in fields ranging from technology development to public health to communication, ensures that the PANDEM-2 project is adopting a wholistic approach to pandemic preparedness. I enjoy working with a wide range of experts in the field of public health as it allows me to understand the complexity of responding to a public health outbreak and to understand the technology that is currently available and/or being developed that can be used to ensure that as many lives can be saved as possible.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? I am Omnia Zayed, originally from Egypt but have been living in Ireland for more than 5 years now. I started my adventure to study natural language processing and informatics back in 2011 between Egypt, Germany and Ireland. Having a background in Biomedical Engineering, my passion has been always to work on something that connects medicine, engineering, programming, and science. Currently, I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Unit of Natural Language Processing (UNLP) at the Data Science Institute (DSI), National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG). I am also an Adjunct Lecturer at the same university.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? I believe that science is our way to make life better and somehow easier either for us or for the next generations. It gives us the ability to understand things around us and the potential to change and evolve.
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project? That it has a direct impact on humans’ life. It gave me the ability to help and to feel that I can offer something in the wake of a crisis. And I could see the reflection of what I do on the spot.
“I believe in the necessity of having a “why to live” and helping people is one of the elements of living a worthy life. So, thanks to PANDEM-2 for giving me such a chance!”
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? Hi, I am Renata Guarneri. I am a telecom engineer with a PhD in Design and I work as a consultant in research projects for diverse organizations mostly in areas involving the application of technologies for digital transformation. I have recently joined the Italian Red Cross, where I am involved in the PANDEM-2 project working on how to best exploit the project results for management of emergencies and of course ensuring that our requirements as users of the system are fully considered in the process. I am looking at which data are needed, how they are exchanged and who is involved in such exchange to make sure everybody has the right information in the decision process.
What does a typical day look like for you? My working day is mostly in front of a PC looking at documents to read, writing stuff for the projects I work on and since the COVID-19 pandemic talking to people at the other side of my screen. I have two main projects I work on, very different from each other. One is PANDEM-2, where I have mostly a technical role, the other is a project on Social Innovation, where I do mostly project management and planning. As I also love the next thing, part of my time is spent in developing new ideas and new projects, generally in the area of digital health, where my scientific background can contribute to innovation in a field with great impact on people’s wellbeing.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? Doing always the same thing bores me. I love working on the next thing and I look for opportunities to learn something new in all my activities. Combining innovation and creativity with a solid technical background is my thing. In time and with experience, I have moved from very focused activities in my science field to understanding the cross-relations among different fields and working on projects with an interdisciplinary approach, which makes things really interesting. For these reasons I really enjoy working in research in an international and multidisciplinary environment: it is never boring. And the people you meet are great and it is always a learning and rewarding experience to exchange views and opinions.
Introduce yourself. What is your current role? Hi, it’s Sarah! I have been working for almost 10 years as researcher in health domain at the National Council of Researchers. I specialised in project management in the non-profit domain and now I am a project officer at the National Committee of Italian Red Cross.
What do you enjoy most about your work in science? I can focus what I am interested in & I can work from anywhere.
What do you enjoy most about working on the PANDEM-2 project? To be part of a large international consortium and to contribute to the implementation of a product that will produce an impact on EU citizens.
Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science to all our colleagues, collaborators, and stakeholders.