Michaela Capandová: I Want to Bring a Laboratory Experience into the World of Administration around Science

29 Mar 2023

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We may call her a newcomer at ICS, but she is definitely not a novice in research. She has been intensively devoted to research for many years as part of her doctoral studies at the Faculty of Medicine. Our colleague Michaela Capandová is the holder of the ORION Open Science grant - and mainly because of her experience in scientific practice, she has become a new addition to the EOSC CZ Secretariat team. We were interested in where she sees her potential in activities related to open science and whether, as a female scientist, she has the same conditions and opportunities for research as men.

Míša, I know you are involved in developing cellular elements and biomaterials for tissue engineering. At the same time, you recently became a member of the EOSC CZ Secretariat team. What inspired a scientist in the field of biomedicine to work at ICS?

Short or long answer? I will choose a medium one. I devoted myself to developing cellular elements and biomaterials for lung tissue engineering, mainly during my doctoral studies at the MU Faculty of Medicine before maternity leave.

Already at that time, I was interested in Open Science. And just before I took a three-year maternity leave, I received the ORION Open Science grant. And thanks to the connection of science in the laboratory and open science (firstly) on the paper, I am now here at ICS to bring a little of open science to the laboratories, and especially vice versa - to bring a little of laboratory experience to the paper and the world of administration around science.

There are still fewer female scientists, or rather women, than men at ICS. Do you perceive any factors in this area that affect your cooperation/work with other professionals in the workplace?

Actually, I don't even feel that my gender affects the cooperation with other experts at ICS in any way. I meet about the same number of men and women in the corridors! But it may be because women run to the toilet more often, and my office is literally right next door (laughs).

„I would like to bring a little of laboratory experience to the paper and the world of administration around sciencelittle of laboratory experience to the paper and the world of administration around science.“

What is the significance of EOSC CZ for the Czech scientific community, and what does the secretariat, of which you are part, contribute - or will contribute - to it?

EOSC CZ is of great importance to the Czech scientific community! Above all, it will be when we manage to set all processes in motion and create the entire infrastructure around EOSC CZ and complementary projects.

EOSC CZ mainly deals with data, working with data and its overall management. It perceives data as a fundamental result of scientific work and strives to fulfil the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Once all the data created in scientific laboratories is FAIR, the life of a scientist - and now I am referring mainly to data munging - will change quite fundamentally. The scientist will be able to devote himself more to the research of something new instead of fumbling with untraceable results.

How do you already (after a short time since joining) see the benefits of your work for EOSC CZ?

I perceive a rather large gap between the world of administration and science done day and night in the laboratories. There are many people at ICS who believe that this gap will be reduced to the necessary minimum with enough invested effort and time. And EOSC CZ is here, of course, for science and for all those who do science. And my role, my contribution? Insight from someone who knows the actual lab and what a scientist deals with on a daily basis. This way, I can contribute very instantly.

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What has been your experience with ICS as an employer for you as a mother of a small child so far? Does it accommodate you? And how? Do you perceive this as the standard, or can you say from your own experiences (but also from your surroundings/acquaintances, etc.) that it is often different?

My experience with ICS as an employer has been entirely positive so far. Above all, I like the part-time option. My child did not get into the state kindergarten for capacity reasons, so he attends a children's group only three days a week. And those are the three days a week I can work. And in this, the institute was completely helpful.

There are a lot of working mothers around me, but it's true that most of them also work part-time. So it's becoming quite the standard today. Establishing a balance between work and family life is essential so that both components can run simultaneously - in harmony and to their full potential.

How do you think women in science and technology can be encouraged to be more involved in research and innovation?

This is a rather complex question. I know that some form of support for women in science and technology already exists. For example, I see many grant calls issued exclusively for women returning to science after maternity leave. Furthermore, there are, for example, exceptions to the fulfilment of grants - up to three-year deferrals due to maternity and so on.

„In fact, I have always considered any success the greatest.“

What is your most outstanding achievement in science, and how has it helped you in your next career?

I probably can't highlight my greatest achievement in the field of science. In fact, I have always considered any success the greatest, whether it was a win at competitive conferences or a successful defence of my work. I perceived even the work of my students as a great success. Getting the ORION grant was actually quite essential, as it brought me here to ICS, but I've already talked about that.

The curious question at the end. How do you like spending time when you are not busy with work and family?

I like to spend most of my time outside - ideally with the family and on the rocks. And if it's not on the rocks, then at least on mountains, hills or large enough plains or forests.

Mgr. Michaela Capandová

She is an ORION grant-awarded scientist with a biochemistry and biomedical sciences background. Currently, as an Open Science methodologist, she focuses on developing and implementing the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC) at the national level.

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