A day in the life

See how we work

From the Lab to Catalyze – Susan Barendrecht, PhD

“My ambition to make a larger contribution to society is why I decided to switch to Catalyze, where I come across impactful solutions on a daily basis and meet ambitious people with innovative ideas from across the world. In this position, I can make direct impact by supporting researchers in the development of their road to success, and bringing in the funding they need.”

Looking away from academia 

Reflecting on her PhD career at the Fraunhofer Institute, Susan highlights the importance of this challenging experience for her personal development:

“I thoroughly enjoyed my PhD, it was an important learning experience which helped me to develop my problem-solving and analytical skills. At times, living in another country and being fully responsible for managing my own project was highly challenging, but it taught me to be perseverant and self-reliant. However, it also made me realize that my ambition to cure Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and have a real impact on AD patients was unrealistic.”

Although making important strides in Alzheimer’s research during her PhD, Susan shares how she became motivated to explore new possibilities, where she could apply her skills and expertise on a broader scale.

Susan says, “Although there is an urgent need to answer critical basic research questions about AD before this devastating disease can be cured completely, I realized this field was not the best fit for me. I was looking for a role closer to the market, where I could have an impact on patient’s lives and on society as a whole.”

Read more about Susan’s transition from the lab to Catalyze.

Business Development: Vlad Grecu

Vlad Grecu shares some insights into what led him to Catalyze and his role and responsibilities as a business developer.

Joining Catalyze
Chemistry. Perhaps the oldest form of science since the inception of the Universe. Science is all about curiosity and the desire to find out how something happens, how something is created. I knew that by studying chemistry I would dive into the unknown and into creating new molecules, which did indeed happen. My past work in the pharma industry showed me how little we actually know about some diseases and how many unanswered questions are still out there.

In parallel, I started developing a deep curiosity about the entrepreneurial world. I took finance and entrepreneurship classes and while these were completely different concepts to science, I felt very attracted to this new area. What are the elements of success for a new-startup? What do you need to do in order to differentiate from others? How do you disrupt markets or even create new ones? Why would someone invest in a young immature company?

Read more about Business Development

Life of a Catalyze Consultant by Carla van Alem

“Carla van Alem, consultant at Catalyze, shares some insights into her usual working day.”

The focus is on building a project that benefits everybody
When I first started as a consultant at Catalyze in 2019, I expected to be writing up grant applications for innovative life science projects for 50% of the time, and spend the other half of my time on client contact, consortium building, and administration. After a while I realized that while submitting a full proposal is the final product, the actual writing only takes about 20% of my time. The bulk of the work is in talking with the client and all consortium partners on how to build a project that benefits everybody and gets the job done. This means asking a lot of questions to all parties involved on their aims for their own company/research, and how they want to achieve this.

When this general concept is built, it’s on to drafting the text, creating graphical elements, going through several internal quality controls, and assisting all partners in completing the necessary documents (budgets, business plans, participant information) on time. In the end, this results in a very varied daily schedule.

A typical working day
Of course, when I started at Catalyze, I went to our office in Amsterdam where I would interact with my colleagues and our day would have natural breaks for coffee and joint lunches. Since the corona pandemic, my daily schedule has altered a bit. For me, this is a typical day:

Read more about Life of a Catalyze Consultant