Strategy is the main focus of our Executive Board at Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC): “After we have established a corporate strategy, it is my job to enable employees to utilize their strengths”, says Pancras Hogendoorn, vicechair of the Executive Board and professor of Pathology.
If you attract the right people and enable them to use their strengths, it is unnecessary to watch their every move: “It is not up to me to tell a chef how to cook a meal.” The same applies to the researchers: “I need to make it possible for a researcher to realise his dreams; that he can excel within the strategy of the LUMC.”
Enquiring, curious and passionate talents
In his international search for the ideal researchers, being a scientist is not the most important factor: “No, what is most important is having an enquiring, curious personality. That you have a desire to work in an environment in which we want things to be different today from how they were yesterday.” This means that researchers should not be afraid to walk new paths. It is not without reason that ‘enquiring’ is one of the core values of the LUMC.
This enquiring personality has to go hand in hand with a passion for one’s field of expertise, or as professor Hogendoorn puts it: “Medicine in its entirety is practiced with the mind, heart and the body. If one of these elements is lacking, you should not practice medicine.” It is this mindset that fits with a researcher who hopes to make a difference in his focus area; a researcher who continuously asks himself questions as to why and how things are and who has an urge to come to new ideas. “It is our job to stimulate and improve this curiosity”, says Pancras.
The goal of research and education
At the LUMC, improving healthcare and the health of patient is the main focus: “With research we aim to contribute to a better understanding of diseases and to the creation of new, health care improving therapies.” Therefore, professor Hogendoorn wants to create an environment in which employees strive to get the best out of themselves, and who aspire life-long learning.
Research and education are indispensable for the progress the LUMC aims to achieve: “The human anatomy will not change. Everything surrounding it, however, is endlessly developing. The field is constantly changing and improving.” Thus, it is important that new discoveries get embedded in education and training to new generations of scientists. We are engineering the medical doctors and researchers of the future.
It is little things in life that create genuine moments of happiness
Also in his role as professor of Pathology, professor Hogendoorn experiences great happiness from the valuable and important moments with and of his students: “I can get tremendously excited about reading a well-written paper from one our students. Or what about the moment someone obtains his/her master’s or PhD degree? The pride of the family, the genuine happiness. These are the special moments. We tend to focus on the larger things in life, but sometimes, we have to appreciate the small moments in life that create happiness.”
The LUMC strives to find the ideal mix between research, education and patient care. In the end, all employees work together towards creating innovations that cure people: “It is crucial to keep an eye on how all these different backgrounds of our employees contribute to this common goal. The varying notes of all these employees must blend into one chord.”
Moreover, at the LUMC you work in an increasingly more international setting: “We are able to offer people from all over the world a stage on which they can put their passion into practice. We have a unique setting with a state-of-the-art infrastructure. Here, you can do the ‘fancy’ stuff.” The international recruitment of PhD and master students is supported by the LUMC Graduate School, with the aim of recruiting the best candidates for the LUMC. The Graduate School also collaborates with multiple other organisations, Leiden BioScience Park and the Leiden University: “All these aspects ensure a very attractive ecosystem at the LUMC.”