Another month, another #MeetTheTeam with META Group! This time, we had a chat with our colleague and Project Manager, Frédérique Pannier.
Frédérique has been with the company for 20 years. “My twin daughters were 11 months old, and they are now graduating from university: that is how I realize how much time has passed by!”, explains with a smile. After studying one year in the US thanks to a scholarship, she completed a degree in Applied Foreign Languages at the Sorbonne University. She also holds two master’s degrees: one by the High European Studies Institute of Strasbourg and another one in International Relations by the Graduate Institute of International Studies of Geneva. She finally settled in Italy where she raised her four kids.
What is your job at META Group and how is a typical day for you?
During these past 20 years, my job has evolved, and I had the opportunity to work with many people within the company and outside. Today, I am in charge of keeping a number of projects on track and ensuring we deliver all assigned tasks properly and in due time. This does not mean that I have all the solutions at all times, but rather that if there is an issue that I cannot solve myself, I can go to the right person able to give the answer and ensure the problem is solved.
What is it like working on knowledge valorisation?
It is quite uncommon, particularly for a city like Terni with an industrial history, so people usually have a hard time understanding what kind of job I do. Notwithstanding I have been working in this area for the past 20 years, I still find it difficult to have people really understand what the purpose is of what we are doing. This makes me believe that the market in which META Group operates keeps growing. In fact, a large part of our activities is developed at an international level, but it is nice to see that in the last years we have been able to grow also in Italy. It is rewarding to know that you also have an impact on your own territory, which is also the one where your children are growing and may want to find new opportunities.
What projects or assignments are you currently involved in?
At the moment I am working on two projects in Turkey, one in Cyprus and one in Italy. The two Turkish projects are very similar and dealing with capacity building programs for incubator staff and entrepreneurs, while also supporting them for prototyping, validation, and demonstration in real world conditions, thus helping for wider deployment, scale-up and uptake. Both projects are located in Izmir and their purpose is to enhance commercialization and internationalization of innovative products.
The Cyprus initiative has just been launched and is a bit specific as it is not financed by a European tender, but we are working directly for the Cyprus contracting authority. The overall objective of this action is to boost knowledge transfer and commercialisation of research results from Universities, Research Organisations and enterprises in the Cyprus research and innovation ecosystem.
Finally, the REACT-EU is a technical assistance to Third Mission and technology transfer offices in Italy, to prepare the research organizations staff to thematic such as impact, use of research results, access to funding.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
There are two challenging aspects: the first one is to keep all activities going smoothly on different projects involving different teams. The second challenging part is to work – and have people work together – with persons with different backgrounds, with different approaches and cultural backgrounds.
What do you like the most about your job?
What I like the most is that there is no routine, no repetitive way of working. During the years, I have worked on lots of different projects with different thematic, different experts, involving different countries. This means that one needs to have a flexible mentality, but on the other hand, it guarantees that you will not be bored in your job, even after 20 years.
What are some of the challenges facing the clients, partners, or beneficiaries you work with? How can they be addressed in your opinion?
The biggest challenge is to convince people that working in a different will help them achieve more than they are actually do. For example, convince researchers who have obtained great results that they could not only improve people’s lives but also generate profit. This involves having a different approach and moving to a new world for which they might not be prepared at the moment, but that could provide great opportunities if they decide to challenge themselves and get out of routine and comfort zone.
How does META Group help them? Why is it important?
META Group provides support through specialised and targeted solutions. The company has a large number of experts, both internally and externally, with different backgrounds and experience, that can be engaged according to the challenges that our clients are facing. META Group is also able to integrate services, being flexible and having a network of international collaborations.
What are some of the trends you see in your sector?
I think that the pandemic had an important impact since people suddenly realised that life could change from one day to the other, and that we should not take things for granted. Most researchers do not really need to go to market, they are employees, can ensure a decent lifestyle to their families, and are happy with what they do within their laboratories. But then the lab can suddenly close or run out of funding, and you need to adapt to new ways of teaching for instance, or you may also realise that what you are doing in the laboratory is great but has no real impact on people’s everyday life if you do not go to market.
The fact that a lot of activities are now being performed remotely because the Covid pandemic situation constrained us to move towards new digital tools, also opened us new opportunities and maybe also has demonstrated that in some way, we are able to challenge ourselves and adapt when necessary, so maybe we can also enlarge our opportunities and open ourselves to things we had not previously considered.
Could you share with us a nice METAmemory?
I cannot say I have a specific META memory to share, probably because in so many years there could be more than one. But what I do appreciate is the fact that people in the company are always available to listen and that, as long as you do your work properly and consciously, if you have a unexpected problem, they will always try to help.