Beyond the scientist: Tjard Schermer

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Tjard Schermer, head of research, department of Primary and Community Care.

Where and when were you born?

I was born in Ede, in 1967. I only lived there for about six months because my parents moved to Purmerend.

Where do you live and with whom?

In the city of Arnhem, famous for its soccer team Vitesse, the Bridge too Far and the cookies called ‘Arnhemse meisjes’ (girls from Arnhem). Housemates are my wife Nienke, our 18-yr old son Jelte and 15-yr old daughter Wyke. And our four chickens.

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

I have always been an admirer of top professional athletes, people like Michael Jordan (basketball), Wayne Gretzky (ice hockey) and Usain Bolt (athletics). I did not have one particular role model as a kid, but because I used to play basketball myself there were several NBA players that me and my team mates kind of adored.

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Because you get less injuries being an academic.

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

The fact that the research that I have done in the past 15 years has led to important changes in clinical guidelines for patients with chronic respiratory diseases with regard to their diagnosis and treatment.

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

Although I spend shorter periods of time (4-6 weeks) working in universities abroad (Adelaide, Sydney) every other year, I would like to live and work in another country for a longer period of time: Australia, UK, Canada, or maybe one of the Nordic countries. And keep making relevant research contributions to the chronic respiratory disease field in order to improve health care for these patients.

For what can we wake you up?

I am a big fan of desserts …..so I wouldn’t mind at all if you wake me up for a nice piece of hot sticky date pudding with a scoop of quality vanilla ice cream. Or some freshly made sushi, of course.

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

I like to cook, and I think I do pretty well for an amateur.

What is your biggest irritation?

People who enter the train when passengers are still getting off …. I can’t help blocking their way.

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Bill Bryson, a best-selling author of books on travel, science, and other non-fiction topics.


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