Arnout has been working as a data scientist at VITO since October 2007. He first started full-time at the Health unit, after which he divided his time equally between the Health unit and setting up the Data Science Hub. Today, he is full-time leading the Data Science Hub.

IT professionals are an important link in the success of research projects. In 'Make IT happen' we let our IT experts talk about their job at VITO.

A first interview for 'Make IT happen', with Arnout Standaert.

Connecting people through the data science hub

As ICT and data technology in the various units began to play an increasingly larger and more important role in research, the need arose to coordinate and streamline these technologies and knowledge across the units. After all, much of this so-called "data science" expertise is generic. Before the existence of the Data Science Hub, it could sometimes happen that different people in different units were each working on their own analysis, each within their own specific research domain, but they were using the same analysis method or technology without knowing it from the other. Now, we are trying to get to know centrally that shared knowledge and experience in the units and to connect those people with each other. In this way, I also learn a lot about what all the units are doing and I get a broad view of the diverse projects. Being able to make those links, that is how I build bridges. I like to immerse myself in it, also in my spare time. For a nerdy collection of blogs and articles, you can always approach me. 

Data from all over the world

For example, we are currently working on a large-scale EU project on human biomonitoring, and VITO is responsible for data management. We want to be able to coordinate and analyse data from biomonitoring projects throughout the European Union. This concerns data such as urine samples, blood samples, hair samples, ... All countries have this kind of data, but there are differences in, for example, the chemical substances in the samples, the terminology and the type of measurements. We are going to gather all these data and harmonise them, so that we can analyse them without comparing apples and oranges. This is still in its infancy and we are taking the first steps, but it requires an enormous amount of coordination.

The more I learn, the more I realise I know nothing

The best thing about my job is that I learn more every day. The more I learn, the more I realise that I actually know nothing. But that is what makes it interesting. VITO is a container full of knowledge that you can continue to draw from. Within the Data Science Hub, I also work with all sorts of different people with different expertise. Precisely because we are dealing with such complex material, it is important that you look at it from different angles. And that's how you learn so much from each other. You can update your knowledge anywhere.

Interested in an IT job at VITO?

Today, we have around 100 colleagues fulfilling a diverse range of IT roles across our business units and the central IT department. IT capabilities are of vital importance to our research projects. As part of a multidisciplinary project team, you will have responsibility for all IT aspects within our research projects.

Do you want to work as an IT professional at VITO? Scroll through our vacancies.

+32 14 33 51 34