“In this organisation, you can really be yourself”
In 2012, Isabel Van de Weyenberg, civil engineer specialised in materials science, switched her job in a production environment for a more research-oriented position with Flanders Make’s predecessor, Flanders' DRIVE. “Instead of solving day-to-day problems, I wanted to perform future-oriented work in an organisation focussed on research and development.” Within Flanders Make, she is now active as researcher and project manager. Isabel coordinates four materials technology projects. As such, she is responsible for the internal coordination of content, communication with participating companies and financial follow-up.
"Two years ago, I did leave Flanders Make for a little while and returned to working in a production environment. But after that, I made a very deliberate choice to start working for Flanders Make again. When you apply for a job with an employer for the first time, the organisation still remains a bit of a black box for you. When I came back, I knew very well which organisation I returned to. The thing I find most attractive about my job is the close cooperation between researchers and companies. The research projects also create close connections with the participating companies. Because of this synergy, we can keep the finger on the pulse in terms of the feasibility of ideas and their practical implementation. It's more than sheer research. We must continuously try to maintain a good balance between innovation and creativity on the one hand and feasibility on the other. We never lose sight of the daily practice. And when, finally, you’ve realised what you tried to accomplish at the start and notice that people around you are satisfied with the results, it gives you great satisfaction.”
“Flanders Make has grown strongly in a short period of time and has moved up a gear or two. Earlier on, Flanders' DRIVE had about 50 employees. Flanders Make now has over 100 employees divided over sites in Leuven and Lommel. And then we’re not even taking into account the various academic research groups. Our working environment is also becoming increasingly international. This formidable growth feels a bit frightening once in a while because the team is expanding substantially and lots of new projects are being started, but time is ripe for this. At the same time, I also notice that the mentality has shifted a bit. You could say that Flanders Make has matured and that the organisation increasingly starts fitting into a bigger picture. The projects that we set up are substantiated even better. It gives a good feeling to be part of this and to help creating added value for the industry. Besides, I truly believe that in this organisation you can really be yourself. For me, this is hugely important: it provides you with the necessary confidence to give it your very best.”
“It gives a good feeling to be part of a growing organisation and to help creating added value for the industry.”