Koen Schelkens , Advisor Business Management
What exactly does your role entail?
"As an advisor business management, I work on various projects and partnerships. Among other things, I am responsible for the partnership between Belnet and the regional authorities. In addition, I manage relationships with the pan-European research and education network GÉANT and coordinate Belnet's participation in GÉANT projects.
Along with a number of colleagues, I am currently developing an innovation unit at Belnet. We want to focus more on innovation projects in close collaboration with our research and education community in the future, for instance to develop new network and data technologies. The EOSC Focus project is a good example of that. We have also recently become involved in a large-scale project to roll out the first quantum communication infrastructure in Belgium, funded by Europe."
What was your prior journey within Belnet?
"In 2001, I started as one of the first Account Managers. I was given a lot of latitude to fill that position and build things up myself. In time, I advanced to the role of coordinator of the Customer Relations team.
After some time, I was keen to take on a new challenge within the organisation. For example, from 2016 to 2021, I was project manager for our FedMAN customers and WAN services. Simultaneously, I started to build up our collaboration with GÉANT. Today, I am particularly involved in the creation and maintenance of these kinds of new, innovative, collaborative initiatives where Belnet can take on its important role as a National Research and Education Network (NREN)."
How do you find working in an international context?
"The exchange with colleagues doing the same work in other countries means that you can learn from each other and then take that knowledge to Belnet and our users. It also allows us to keep our finger on the pulse of new developments and technologies. This, of course, also benefits Belnet's customers. We could never have offered services like eduVPN or eduroam to our community if we did not work in this international context."
Why should someone apply for a similar position at Belnet?
"What particularly appeals to me within Belnet is that you can be continuously learning. You are constantly challenged to try new things and that gives me great satisfaction personally. For someone who is eager to learn and likes to work together (inter)nationally, this is the perfect job!
Moreover, at Belnet you can help shape your own role and generate new opportunities. Responsibility and autonomy are in the DNA of our organisation, so to speak. Those looking for a job with a social dimension will also feel comfortable with us.
Finally, I would like to add that Belnet brings you into a close-knit team where everyone knows each other and is aiming for the same goal."
How do you make a difference with your work?
"For all Belnet colleagues, almost everything we do directly or indirectly advances research and higher education in Belgium. This allows our clients to focus on their core business.
The same goes for the numerous government services we work for. With our service provision, we ensure that they have a high-performance ICT infrastructure that evolves along with their needs and requirements."
What do you definitely still want to achieve?
"My ambition is to help ensure that Belnet becomes a point of contact for researchers and evolves into THE knowledge and competence centre for network technology and data infrastructure.
Furthermore, I want to continue to enthuse my colleagues within the other teams to participate in innovation projects. It would be great if Belnet could develop a new service in the future to be used by the entire European research and education sector!"