I find more often than not that cooperation is more important than competition

Dr. Alina Weffers-Albu PDEng

Dr. Alina Weffers-Albu PDEng, Philips Research - Chronic Disease Management, Senior Scientist and member of our External Advisory Committee

For a number of years prior to joining the Software Technology program I have worked as a project manager and software architect. Despite enjoying my occupation at the time, as a young professional I had always considered resuming my studies at some point. While I pondered a number of options, I chose eventually the Software Technology program in view of the curriculum it provided, the team oriented program culture that aimed to reproduce within the academic context the industrial experience at large, as well as the rating and reputation of TU/e in Europe and internationally.

Growing professionally

Despite the conventional thought that you should prepare most during your studies for the type of job you plan to pursue after graduation, I was less worried at the time with chasing a specific job profile. I tried to grow professionally (knowledge & experience) as much as I could within the space of the program, expecting that that inherently would enable me to qualify successfully for any position I would be offered later on.

My expectations were more than met. I loved the program and learned indeed a great deal. In hindsight even courses that at the time I viewed as less consequential proved to be of great help in my later academic and industrial experience.

The importance of teamwork

On reflecting on the benefits the program has to offer its trainees – quite a few aspects come to mind. The content and quality of courses (and the program in general) were excellent and the international practice that comes with such a program provided useful insights for my later experience of work and coordination in transnational partnerships. Nevertheless, in retrospect, one of the most relevant aspects the program teaches its trainees is teamwork. In every significant, long-term project there is no one particular expert that "saves the day", but the whole team. It’s important to recognize that early on, learn how to work in a group, and build on each other’s skills. I find more often than not that cooperation is more important than competition.

Technology with focus on patient needs

Following my graduation from the Software Technology program (in 2003), I continued with my PhD and subsequently built a career at Philips Research Laboratories Eindhoven, as project manager and senior scientist. Finding ways in which technology interweaves naturally with thoughtfulness and compassion is probably the focus of any professional that works for healthcare, whether in an industrial or academic context. I hope to be able to use my skills to do that, towards creating intelligent, aware and supportive healthcare environments that address patients’ needs, regardless of the (larger) economic eco-system.