OrganoVIR Through the Eyes of Our PIs and Partners

Previously, we have shared a video featuring our Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in which they described the OrganoVIR consortium and the many lessons that they have learned throughout their time in the project. This time, we thought that we should take a different approach to show what the OrganoVIR project is about. We asked our Principal Investigators (PIs) and partners to share a few words about the OrganoVIR consortium.


The New Way of Learning & Working

Despite having to postpone or cancel several of our plans and activities due to the pandemic, we could still carry on with our projects and build a strong network between our labs. We continued to have meetings over ZOOM and for the very first time last year, used Gather Town for a progress meeting. “This taught me something new about PhD studies. I was really attached to the idea that you go to a lab and you do your PhD there. But this is not the case here. You are a PhD in a project, and not just in a particular place. I think this is the way it should be” said Krzysztof Pyrc, our PI from Jagiellonian University, Poland.

Adding to his statement regarding the consortium’s ability to build a network during the pandemic, Kris also spoke about the multicultural aspect of OrganoVIR. “I really enjoyed working with people from a different cultural background than my own. Here in Poland, we have our own culture, but when you have an ESR from Colombia and another from Indonesia, it really changed one’s perspective about working in a team” he said.


The Beauty of Networking and Collaborating in Science

Our partner from KU Leuven, Dirk Jochmans highlighted the advantages of building a strong network in the science industry. “This network that we have created by the people we’ve met through this project is very important – sharing protocols, sharing reagent, and having someone that you can call when you have a (scientific) problem is really crucial in science” he said.

On the other hand, our PI from Charles River, Ludovico Buti, highlighted how the collaborations within the OrganoVIR consortium has helped him learn new skills. “When we first started this project, we were not experts in virology. However, we learned by collaborating with the people in this consortium to cultivate viruses, and we learned everything from the beginning. We took baby steps, but here we are now – it was definitely an enjoyable and nice learning experience”.


We’re Going Beyond Science

OrganoVIR aims to deliver to society the next generation of scientists; scientists who are confident and resilient human beings and who have an entrepreneurial mindset. “I think OrganoVIR is an example of how broad you can get in a project because it does not just focus on science, but also on the non-scientific aspects of the project” said Saskia Aan, our partner from DsRAT (Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing or Proefdiervrij in Dutch). Kim Benschop, our PI from the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) also agreed with this. “I am glad that this consortium has put the effort to teach PhDs to be more resilient through the Personal Development Program (PDP). Even though I did not exactly follow the PDP, I learned a lot about it from Ingrid Valks, the PDP coach, and by being involved in the teaching committee.” she said. “I enjoyed learning beyond science and also looking into the entrepreneurial aspects of the project, for example through the OrganoVIR Pre-MBA programme” Kim added.