Working on innovation that matters

Working on innovation that matter

Arjan van Heusden

Arjan-van-Heusden-aan-het-werk

Arjan van Heusden has been working as an electronics system architect for imec at OnePlanet since May 2021. He enjoys contrubiting to innovation that matters, and according to him, “pref-erably with a group of passionate and creative people.” Within imec at OnePlanet, he has found his ideal working environment, working hard on new solutions within a team while also having time for connecting meaningfully with each other.

“After high school, I went to university to study mechanical engineering, but that didn’t suit me. So I opted for higher vocational education in electrical engineering, and worked for a year after graduating. But university beckoned, and I returned to my studies, this time in electrical engi-neering at the TU Twente, where I obtained my master’s degree.”

Exploring Risks
“At TU Twente, I discovered how I wanted to engage myself within my work: finding new solu-tions to abstract problems, together with motivated people. I started working as a design engi-neer for an engineering firm, but that job turned out to be too one-sided for me and the com-mute was too far. Spending time with my wife and three young children is important to me, so it was great to find a job closer to home.”

“In my next positions, I worked on developing commercial products, which was fun but not chal-lenging enough for me. And challenging work is exactly what imec at OnePlanet has to offer.”

“Hence my choice for the research world, which is completely different from the one I knew: there is an inherent risk in doing research here. We are here precisely to explore risks and look for solutions. The industry handles risks completely differently.”

Creativity through diversity
“If you told me a year and a half ago what I would be doing now, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’m currently working on an electronic pill, for instance. After a person swallows it, the pill col-lects all kinds of data until it leaves the body again, sending the information it collects and stor-ing it for later analysis. My part of the work is on the infrastructure needed to receive the data, store it, and make it available for future research by data analysts, among others. It takes a significant amount of creativity to do that.”

“We work together on a team with people from diverse backgrounds, and I am learning a lot from this dynamic. It’s just good for my vocabulary. I’m learning how the gastrointestinal tract is put together and what goes on there. I get an inside look at the role of the gastrointestinal sys-tem on human health.”

“In the lab, my colleagues develop the sensors, do the measurements and work with all kinds of chemicals. The fact that I contributed to a piece of electronics that they use to validate these sensors, I think, is really awesome. I enjoy the interplay between sensors, electronics, soft-ware, and the human body.”

‘Gezellig’
“You really feel that imec at OnePlanet is moving ahead. It is growing, and I am growing along with it. I want to continue playing a role in enhancing this technology so it can be deployed on a larger scale.”

Arjan also enjoys making time to chat with colleagues. In addition to hard work, there must be room for pleasantness. Arjan explains: “I like work also to be ‘gezellig,’ to use a Dutch expres-sion. I like to discuss the content of work in front of the whiteboard. That way, we can under-stand each other better while drawing in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Even though Arjan lives forty kilometers from work, he commutes on a racing bike once a week. Arjan elaborates: “It’s good training for this year’s planned quarter triathlons. With nice weather, it’s great to cycle. There is also a cycling club within OnePlanet that cycles on Mon-day evenings. So if it works out with things at home, I’m happy to pedal along for a lap or two.”

Who: Arjan van Heusden
From: The Netherlands
What: Electronics System Architect at imec at OnePlanet
Since: May 2021