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Pim Overgaauw: ‘As Institute Manager, you are the spider in the web’

Pim Overgaauw is at his best when he can support others. His new position as Institute Manager of the Mathematical Institute is therefore a perfect fit. ‘My main goal is to ensure that our mathematicians can focus on the maths.’

Overgaauw is no stranger to the Faculty of Science. He studied Astronomy and then stayed to work for the study programme for a while. ‘After a year I wanted to do something else,’ he says. ‘Through a career guidance trajectory, I discovered that I wanted to learn more about myself and the University. I enjoy enabling others to do what they do best: conducting research and teaching.’

In the right place

So the position of institute manager (IM) therefore seemed to him a great spot. 'You really are a spider in the web. Your purpose is to facilitate. I enjoy that and it gives me a lot of energy!’ After a few more years of developing and learning at different places within the University, Overgaauw got the chance to start as IM at the Mathematical Institute.

Feeling at home

In March 2022, Overgaauw started as ad interim institute manager. As of September he will take up permanent employment. ‘I already feel very much at home. Of course that's partly because I studied at FWN for seven years. Longer than necessary,’ he jokes, ‘but that was mainly because I had a very nice time at the Snellius with study association De Leidsche Flesch.’

'The staff has welcomed me with open arms'

‘The staff has welcomed me with open arms. There are also all kinds of fun activities, such as drinks or a barbecue. Every Wednesday there is an arts & crafts club. People paint or knit, or play games. There is a very nice atmosphere. So far, I’ve been cycling to work with pleasure every day.’

More support

Overgaauw wants to use the next six months to get to know the institute even better. ‘The MI only has a small team of support staff. So the mathematicians still do a lot of tasks themselves. I would like to change that. I will also be working on project support, application procedures and I want to see how we can support our PhD students even better.’

The subjects of diversity and inclusiveness will also receive a lot of attention, as does the culture within the MI. Overgaauw: ‘Two task groups have been set up, and we are also working on surveys. After the summer, this will be worked out in more detail.’

‘‘We could definitely boast a little more about all we do here!’’

Strong together

A little PR is also on Overgaauw's list. 'Mathematics is an important foundation for all other exact sciences. Our mathematicians do incredibly smart and cool things. I think we could definitely boast a little more about all we can do here! That’s also important in the context of collaboration.'
Overgaauw: 'I think that collaboration is the best way to go. Because I have worked in many different places here, I have seen that we are all one University. Together we must ensure that students receive a good education and that we conduct good research. We are not islands; the faculties and institutes do not stand alone. Especially with the research at this Faculty, we can only strengthen each other.’

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