EATRIS meets Piret Pajula

Tell us a bit about yourself

I am Estonian but lived in all corners of the Netherlands on and off for 10 years. As of 2022, I am back in my hometown in Estonia contributing to the EATRIS communications efforts from the (currently) snowy city of Tallinn. In contrast with the majority of the EATRIS C&S team, I have focused on the humanities in my career so far: BA in Cultural Theory at the University of Tallinn and in 2020 I earned my MSc in Communication Science from the University of Amsterdam. I come from a family of medics and I grew up wandering the corridors of the hospital, where my mother and grandmother worked. During my studies, I worked at Elsevier and I have had my small translation company with media and tourism customers for five years now. With small acting parts in theatre and TV and voiceovers for films, I feel I have always situated between media and medicine.

What is your role within EATRIS and what does a typical week look like for you?

As the Junior Communication Manager in the Communications kitchen of EATRIS, I work closely with Dr Jake Fairnie, Head of Communications. A lot of our work is in tandem, but I focus on keeping a great online presence: such as writing social media posts, designing events graphics and keeping the website up to date. Additionally, I collate the EATRIS communications analytics and present these to the Communications team on a monthly basis, and use other research methods (questionnaires, content analysis etc) that help us figure out how to best communicate with EATRIS stakeholders. Another portion of my time is dedicated to our projects such as EATRIS-Plus and ENRIITC, and employing my graphic design and video editing skills there.

What has been the highlight of your EATRIS experience so far?

I thoroughly enjoyed designing the brochure for the EATRIS-Plus Summer School 2021, which you can see here. Overall, I have enjoyed myself the most when I have the creative freedom to make educational guide materials, in video, infographic or book format. It combines my experience as an internal trainer with a visual storyteller passion.

What is translational research for you?

To me, translational research is joining forces and working on solutions together across institutional affiliations and outside of the borders of disciplines.

Why did you decide to work in the translational medicine field?

Translational medicine chose me in a way: after graduation, I aimed for a career in a European medical institution and my fellow Estonian Eliis Keidong, EU Project Manager at EATRIS happened to know an institution looking for a comms person. It has been a great arranged marriage and I have learned a lot about the necessity of the field and the amazing potential to change patients’ lives.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Know your worth and then add tax. Also, wear more sunscreen.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

I am a passionate knitter and a shameless fan of period dramas. Overall, you can often find me at an independent cinema.

If you were a drug, vaccine or diagnostic, what would you be and why?

I would be an imaging nano-robot: young in the field and science fiction in some people’s eyes; seemingly small and insignificant, but with great potential and visuals 😉

What would surprise people to know about you?

I know my car inside and out and do my own maintenance.