Meet the team - Tijmen Altena

Published at 2023-08-10 by Ana Rodrigues

It was only in 2016 that Paul and Tijmen Altena started to build Impacter. They wanted to help more researchers, and figured they could if they put their knowledge in an application. Here is more about the story behind Impacter and one of it's founders, Tijmen.

There was one problem: we had zero development expertise. We considered hiring someone, but in the end we decided we should build it ourselves if we wanted to be at the core of the company. For me, this meant a big change: instead of writing grant proposals, business cases or reports, I was now writing code. The first months in particular were difficult. And with no small bit of jealousy I now look at how the AI can assist in quickly learning to develop.

My curiosity motivated me to go for a generic degree (Innovation Sciences) as opposed to something more specific and technical. And this broad interest helps me still – because the subject matter of Impacter and our other platforms (Global Campus or ScienceBase for example) is so varied, but always at the academic frontier. So even when the going is technically tough, there’s a great distraction in the novelty and inventiveness of the underlying research.

When I’m looking back at those first years, more than the challenge I now remember the joy and thrill of solving a challenging problem. And today – solving these challenging puzzles is what I still like most about the work at Impacter. I should maybe have realized that this work would be a good fit, as in my spare time I like to play board games. Particularly those with complicated puzzles in a co-operative fashion (for the curious or initiated, my favorite is Spirit Island).

In the future I hope that we will be able to solve ever more complex puzzles with our amazing team, and thereby help academics contribute to society by solving their own research riddles.