Interview with Estefanía Callado

Estefania Callado, working at Synapse, Barcelona, Spain; and member of the ERA4TB Project Management Office

What does Work Package (WP) 8 do in ERA4TB?
Work Package (WP) 8 is our Management, Outreach & Sustainability WP. It is an instrumental WP for managing ERA4TB by providing coordination and professional project management capacity to resolve  trade-offs between scope, time, cost and quality to ensure adequate progress and successful completion of the project. Additionally, WP8 aims at developing outreach and sustainability strategies for the long-term maintenance of the ERA4TB platform.

It is indeed a broad WP that gives scientific and management support to the entire ERA4TB structure and is essential to ensure that the ERA4TB platform can be delivered successfully. You may imagine that many people are involved in this big endeavour under WP8, allowing such a big consortium to work in a coordinated manner and ensuring the visibility it merits!

What is your role specifically?
I am involved in many different activities. These include the typical day-to-day management activities such as the co-organization and attendance to the different project meetings (e.g. ExCom, Steering Committee, Pipeline Development Committee, Consortium Meetings), the orchestration and submission of updates in the work plan (project amendments), the coordination and preparation of periodic reports towards for our funders (IHI), and finally budget management and follow-up. The latter task is quite important, considering that there is a large portion of the budget (41M€) which is flexible and is being assigned based on the presentation and approval of new Asset Progression Plans (APPs). Moreover, I am also representing the Project Management Office in the implementation of the APPs. This task entails tracking progress and oversight support, and ultimately, the coordination of the APPs reports’ review and signature which enables the generated data by the labs/teams to be transferred into the DDIM repository managed by our project partner, the Critical Path Institute.

How long have you worked on the project?
I started working on the project in 2021, to represent the PMO in the implementation of the Asset Progression Plans. My involvement in the project has been growing since then and I am now participating in a wide spectrum of management activities.

What do you enjoy most about working on the ERA4TB project?
Without any doubt, what I most enjoy is learning with everyone and being able to help in the development of this important initiative.

What are you hoping the project will have achieved by the end of its funding?
I trust that we will be able to find a few very good candidates against TB, with possibly a selection of a few more interesting molecules with different mechanisms of action that could progress into the anti-TB research. I also hope that this project will contribute with its grain of sand, or several bricks, to meet the goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030.

Can you tell us more about how ERA4TB is planning for its future?
Sustainability is considered a key aspect of this project, and it needs the contribution of key Consortium members. Indeed, WP8 members drafted a roadmap to effectively address the sustainability work during the second half of the project and included this in an initial sustainability plan. As a conclusion of this work, it was identified an initial list of exploitable assets.

For the next steps, it is planned that, at the ERA4TB Consortium Meeting in May 2024, each of the project’s nine Work Package leaders will describe how they currently see their potential value streams moving forward and evolving in order to obtain an updated landscape of the current wishes and hopes. This will serve as a ‘provider’ point of view, which will be counterweighted with the previous work, where potential exploitable ‘products’ were brainstormed.

Going forward, a Business Model Canvassing approach has been proposed as a tool to study the future viability of the value streams. The project’s sustainability plan will be continually updated to reflect these plans.