Interview with Samantha Antonini from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences on her tasks within the EnerSHelF project. She unravels her role as a linkage between project partners, researchers, and donors and the affiliated administrative challenges.
Besides the academic research and technological challenges surrounding EnerSHelF, its administration is central for the smooth progression of the project. Can you explain your role within the project in this regard?
I am responsible for facilitating collaboration across multidisciplinary work packages and reporting the project status to our project leaders and donors. In doing so, my work entails a diverse field of activities: I monitor the progress of research activities, generate the necessary documentation, organize regular team meetings, and assist staff and scientists with creating protocols, reports and many more. I also provide support for operational, procurement and legal aspects.
In the EnerSHelF project, the six work packages are formed by nine partners from industry and academia, which bears coordinative challenges for the administration. What are the major challenges in your day-to-day work?
I suppose one of the big challenges in a project that unites so many disciplines and institutions from all over Germany and Ghana is to make sure that every research group keeps focusing on the bigger picture in order to meet the overall project goals. The individual work packages and scientists are experts in their specific fields and work towards achieving their specialised milestones. In the end, it can be tricky to tie up all the loose ends and to blend jargon from so many disciplines to generate a consistent output.
You are working at the intersection of the project with the funding body – the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Can you describe your interaction with the BMBF?
Our link to BMBF is PTJ (Projektträger Jülich), which acts as an interface between funding body and funding recipients. Ever since the application phase, the team at PTJ has provided helpful advice and granted our applications and requests. Credits also go to my colleagues at the H-BRS (Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences) Department of Finances, who are in direct contact with PTJ and make sure that we meet our financial targets and comply with regulations.
Samantha Antonini is a project and research manager at the International Centre for Sustainable Development (IZNE) at Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences in Sankt Augustin. Samantha holds a PhD in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Bonn, an MSc in Environmental Diagnosis from Imperial College London, and a BSc in Geography and Environmental Sciences from Sussex University. Her research background and interests are wastewater treatment, nutrient cycling from wastewater and Ecological Sanitation Systems.