To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the BIMprove project wants to give voice to the women that are implementing the project through a series of video and written interviews that we will be sharing during this month.

The promotion of gender equality and the integration of the gender dimension in Research and innovation are at the core of the European Union  – as underlined by the European Commission in its Communication “A new ERA for Research and Innovation”.

Today, we are sharing a written interview done to Ragnhild J. Eleftheriadism, Research Scientist and a Senior Business Developer EU at SINTEF Manufacturing, one of 6 Institutes in the Research Foundation SINTEF, and coordinating entity in the BIMprove project.

Dear Raghnhild, I hope you are doing great! Many thanks for your time and participating in this campaign with the BIMprove leading women. So, let’s get to it. 

Hello Carmen, Thank you so much for this nice initiative and counting on me to celebrate the International Day of Women in Science. 

What did inspire you to pursue your career? 

I started my research scientist career quite late. With small kids it was easier to be working as an employee in a stable working condition, without too much traveling and long working days. So, for more than twenty years I was working with economic transactions and IT support related to different projects in a large international company.

My basic education is BSc Economics, but I have built on this with a Master Degree (MSc) in Organisation and Leadership, specialisation in project management in the field of Industrial Technology. The economical background has given me the freedom to explore different fields in the industry and manufacturing was therefore a natural field, and by coincidence I stumbled into a position on an Engineering Institute at the University in Trondheim, (NTNU) and here my journey in EC R&D started.

Today, this is more than twelve years ago in the FB7 Framework. The work at the university developed into several proposals and projects in the R&D area, and I built up a lot of experience and a large network in the manufacturing area. After six years at the University it was natural for me to move over to SINTEF, since this is a typical project organisation and the outcome of their projects, in my opinion, are more useful for the society. The Universities can use the research for teaching and learning, but in SINTEF the results of a project is essential for giving the society societal outcomes of the research on different fields. Which also are made visible in SINTEF vision “Technology for a better society”.

How has BIMprove impacted your career and what have you learned from it?

As Lear on behalf of our CEO and SINTEF Manufacturing I have been mentoring most of the people in SINTEF Manufacturing working with EU projects, and so is the case for BIMprove. I was the birth helper when the group of research scientists was making the proposal, doing the GAP and guiding them on how to start the project. Now, almost two years in the project I just have a small eye on the progress and consolidate with the Coordinator if he struggles or needs advice.

The project has not impacted me directly, but there are some learning points on how you run large projects like EC R&D projects.

  • First of all this project is a RIA (Research and Innovation Action), so it has a lot of interesting professional research content. Even if it is not related to your own topic/subject, you can see the relation to Industry 4.0 and Digital Twin solutions in the manufacturing field.
  • BIMprove has also less partners involved, which make it easier to operate with a smaller core group of researchers. However, as PM you need to be more flexible and transparent. This can go two ways, it could make your work easier to collaborate and find good solutions, but it can also be more challenging to solve internal issues.

So from my point of view, there are always some lessons learnt in the PM area.   

What is one challenge you face as a woman in science?

Actually, I have not had any challenges as a woman in science. I think this has to do with a lot of open minded and inclusive colleges at SINTEF.

And not to forget all the friends and collaborators throughout all the projects I have been involved in for the last 12 years. The manufacturing family in research in Europe is amazing. If I should point out one, the EFFRA organisation is doing a great job promoting Women in Science. Of course there have been times you wonder why you do this, should you expose yourself more, but all people have some “down time”, now and then, but I think it has been more Up than down.

What is a skill you are always proud to bring to the table?

Taking the MSc in Project Management, together with the twenty years of work experience gave me a wider opportunities than I expected. When you are running large projects, you need to pick skilled and specialised people. They can be more clever than you, so you need to be open minded to take their view into consideration. You need to make them confident by consider the situation, be calm and build trust, and I think trust is one of the key to make a successful project.

Can you tell who was/is your inspirational role model? 

This is a fun question, by heart I have never had any inspirational role models in my work life. However, in all my work situations here in Norway, I have had the opportunity to grow in my work. Most of my employees have given me space to grow and colleges have given me their experiences to discuss. There are women of my age in SINTEF and in Norway most women are working full time. So did my mother, she did not push me and my sister but said: Be independent, get an education, you will never regret learning, even if you are 10-20 or 50 years old, long life learning was her statement.

What do you like the most about your job? 

As an introvert you do not like to expose yourself, but meeting new people is always nice if you can choose your audience (some old friends, some seen before and some new), it expands your network. Small groups visiting use-case partners, seeing that the project problems and work you provide gain the companies you are collaborating with, is very satisfying. I also enjoy the spirit of these meetings, it is an excitement among the partners to really make a difference. Most people do not like administrative work, however it can be satisfying to see that “must do work” can be closed and you can start on a brand new chapter, this is also one of the nice parts as project manager.


Thank you Raghnhild for your inspiring sharings! It’s been a pleasure meeting you more and discovering things like you were part of the BIMprove founding team.

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