SkyStories: Meet Guusje Delen, R&D Scientist
How did Skytree catch your attention?
I used to work as a postdoctoral researcher at Utrecht University, where I was responsible for engineering new in situ capabilities for nano-infrared spectroscopy technology, but even if there are so many challenges to tackle scientifically, you can never solve a problem by yourself. Especially, if you want to fight climate change, you need plenty of people with multiple disciplines. What I was looking for myself was a startup that tried to tackle a major issue, and Skytree did that in a very interdisciplinary way. At university, I had already figured out the academic side of chemistry, and now I was looking for a company to become a part of a unique team. As soon as I figured out Skytree had all I was looking for, I ended up there.
What stands out here?
The people. We are a small company, but you see a lot of very different individuals working close together. It is not very usual that an engineer, or a chemist in my case, works so closely together with people from business or marketing, but it is the case here at Skytree. The Research & Development team itself is amazing and I am really satisfied with our ways of working. It is a protected, safe nerd space that allows us to embrace our characters and be ourselves as we are, while also getting a bigger picture when working with other teams.
What challenges you the most at Skytree?
The way scientists and business people make assumptions are very different, but at the end of the day it is a very useful learning experience and it is exciting to discover someone else’s perspective on things – a different way of thinking about exactly the same data. You are used to your scientific ways, the business people have other perspectives, and you just have to find that middle ground, which is a very interesting way of learning and a fun experience, I would say. Since transparency is one of the key values, it is crucial to share disagreements on something that does not work or should work completely differently. I do believe at Skytree there is certainly an opportunity to speak up if something needs a different approach.
What is unique in your work environment?
We tend to have a lot of interns in our office, and we give them quite ambitious projects. The best part is that we have been fortunate to hire extraordinary talent, so when giving them truly ambitious, important projects, we are happy to see it all come together. Because Skytree is a very flexible workplace that genuinely promotes creativity, you get exceptionally great results.
What makes you proud of Skytree?
One can always do things and say “good enough”, but we, as a company, are trying to tackle a major issue, and I am proud that Skytree sees an opportunity to be better in technology and goes for it. We are not scared of work – if we look at something we have done and it is not the best, we start over, change, or do something completely different. We are not scared of change. We are not overly ambitious, and we don’t want to use the fanciest technique – we think practical and we do it wisely. If it needs a change – we change it. It is always tricky, and it is even scarier, but the way Skytree tackles problems does help make us future-proof. We see challenges and we adapt to them. That gives me confidence in Skytree and myself as well.
Read more about open positions at Skytree here.