Winner SURF Research Support Champion Awards 2023: Silvie van Dam
Silvie van Dam is manager Research Development and Support Office and Senior Research Policy Advisor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). Among other things, her proactive attitude and talent for thinking in solutions won her one of the SURF Research Support Champion Awards 2023.
Research Support Champion Awards ceremony on 23 May 2023
On 23 May, Silvie van Dam was awarded the Research Support Champion Award 2023. Watch this celebratory moment below. You can read more about Silvie and why she won the award below the video.
Within research support at TU/e's Faculty of Architecture, Silvie knows how to connect everyone: scientists, management, IT advisors, but also departments such as legal affairs and HRM. She knows a lot of people and can put herself in many different worlds. This is important because the Faculty of Architecture has a large number of different disciplines, from civil engineering to architecture, from human behavioural research to artificial intelligence. These all have their own needs for support. Serving all these different people and disciplines well is quite a challenge, but Silvie seems to succeed effortlessly. This is partly because she is truly service-oriented: she sees solutions where others see problems.
Pro-active and future-oriented
Another special feature is that Silvie is very knowledgeable about content. She is involved in choices about research at all levels: from the government, TU/e and the faculty. She then knows how to assess what these choices will mean for research and researchers, and she initiates the processes that anticipate this. In this, she is very proactive and future-oriented.
It is also great to see how Silvie has expanded her Research Development and Support Office team. The team initially consisted of three employees, but is now so well liked that Silvie has expanded it to no less than eight people within a year. A handsome achievement. Her team has one top priority: excellent support. With her humour, sense of proportion and open attitude, she gets the best out of her people so that they can actually provide that excellent support.
Silvie also plays an active role in TU/e's PhD network, where young researchers are updated on the latest developments such as open science, FAIR data, privacy and security, lab technicians, the ethical and medical review board.
What does the jury say about Silvie?
Silvie is a true supporter. She is a connector who thinks along and does a lot of work behind the scenes. She knows how to connect people and groups.
This is exactly the kind of work that has impact but often goes unnoticed because it does not lead to direct 'output'. However, it is precisely incredibly important work, which we want to reward through this award.
As a jury, we also find impressive the way Silvie guides faculties within TU/e that want to store data according to the FAIR principles. These are principles for making digital assets more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. It is now a widely applied guideline framework for data management.
How does Silvie hope to inspire others?
Silvie: "Being able to connect people, processes and policies is very important. It is primarily about the people, in my case the researchers. They must be able to do their work well, and good processes and policies must serve that purpose.
So it starts with a genuine interest in what people need. So that you also find out, for instance, that something no longer works when policies change. Then you have to come up with a workaround together with the researcher, so that she can do her job properly and still be compliant with policy and legislation.
My tip: truly form a team together with the researcher, so you can come up with the best solution together."