Autumn is the season of leaves falling down. Streets, meadows and trails are covered by the leaves. Time to blow these away. A perfect time to focus on the job of a trailblazer. It has some similarities with project management, but it deviates as well considerably, as you may read in this Newsletter. Enjoy your reading.


The major task of a trailblazer is to set up a new entity inside, or outside, an organisation. The task results from a shortcoming detected in the organisation. Something ‘new’ should surpass the shortcoming. This ‘new’ is, in general, vaguely described by the task provider. It may be, a laboratory, a collaboration, a research programme, a new service, and so on. In addition, execution of the task should be done independently of existing interests within the organisation, or organisations, to guarantee success. Trailblazing is, in general, outsourced to guarantee this independence.


A trailblazer is a person who is able to be both, a soloist and team player, depending on the specific situation. She, or he, thinks out of the box and is goal-oriented blazing the trail to the final goal. A trailblazer needs to be an optimist to cope with all the potential reluctances among stakeholders. Something ‘new’ makes people anxious, including the job provider itself. The trailblazer has to come up with a plan, despite the uncertainties about many components of it, like the budget. He, or she, needs to take, informally, the lead, whenever needed, while returning to the background, as soon as possible. A trailblazer has no hierarchical authority. All in all, trailblazers are flexible, tough, and enthusiastic personalities.

Jobs Jos Frantzen

The first job of trailblazer dates back to the period of being a postdoc. A new plant ecology group needed to be established at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. No office, no laboratory, no growth chambers, no field plots, no supporting staff. Nothing was available at the time of arrival. It was really pioneering.

The set-up of a men’s health clinic at the Radboud University Medical Centre in Netherlands was the next job being a scientist. It was followed by the set-up of a research office at the department of Urology of the Free University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, as a research director. 

Three trailblazer jobs have been executed on behalf of Driehoek Research Support. One, the preparation of a new research unit for an international company in the agrobusiness. Two, the set-up of a European research infrastructure directed to sustainable crop protection. Three, arranging a solid collaboration among four parties, which is directed to higher education in life sciences.

Do you like to have a maximum of return of your research money? Does your research belong to the Life Sciences? Just contact us for more information, on paper, by way of a presentation, or an exploring chat.