Administrative Foundation By Marianne Bom

Profile of the CFO

Elena Pachkova has been Head of Administration and CFO at DHRTC since 2015. She has an international background, having been born in Russia, brought up in Germany, and studied in Denmark leading to a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Economy (Cand. Scient. Oecon) and a PhD in productivity analysis from University of Copenhagen.

Throughout her career, Elena has been fascinated by the financial and strategic perspectives of management and organization as well as improvements in internal processes. In her earlier career, she was Head of Business Support R&D at Carlsberg Breweries, Business Controller at the chemicals company Diversey A/S, and as CFO at the business planning provider WPA Mobile ApS, among other jobs.

How to operate with excellence

Four years ago, the DHRTC-administration began activities in an empty building with no comparable network-based research centre to emulate. Today, industry partners rate the financial planning as “impressive”. Four hundred contracts have been produced, and 50 financial controllers ensure that researchers can run their projects efficiently.

The administrative staff in the DHRTC-network of research institutions does not have a slogan. If they had, it could be: “Probably the most efficient academic administration in Denmark”.

“Operational excellence is our main focus. We form the essential foundation in order to utilise the donation as effective as possible for the benefit of society, industry and academia,” says Elena Pachkova, Head of Administration and CFO at DHRTC. The administration is in charge of financial planning and controlling; the legal operations; the common data and IT security management; the construction and running of the laboratories at DHRTC; communication and daily administration.

These activities create the operational foundation of the centre. The scientists would not be able to do their jobs efficiently if the technical and administrative staff were slow, incompetent or unwilling to suggest innovative solutions in the complex context of five research institutions and several industrial partners.

Positive feedback in evaluation 

“The 250 researchers in the DHRTC-network need a flexible and agile administrative system. They do not want to sit and wait a long time before we tell them whether they have the money to start an urgent project that is important for their mission. They also want contracts to be swiftly set up and signed,” says Elena Pachkova.

In 2018, an evaluation of DHRTC performed by OTM Consulting took place. It shows that Elena Pachkova and her 11 colleagues at DHRTC, in collaboration with a total of 100 controllers, technicians, lawyers, and other administrative personnel at the five partner research institutions do a remarkable job.

The administrative processes are rated “strong”, and the industry partners as well as DTU Management consider the financial planning and management process “impressive”, according to the evaluation.

“Four years ago we began activities in an empty building. We met five research institutions each with their different administrative management traditions that we needed to integrate, and we could find no comparable network-based research centre with a best-practice to copy,” says Elena Pachkova.

Sharing a passion for excellence

“It has not been an easy task. The institutions saw each other as competitors, and we asked them to change their attitude and become fellow players. At the same time nobody wants people from the outside to instruct them how to do their job. So for us it was not an option to go out and tell our colleagues in the network how to do their job,” says Elena Pachkova.

Instead, she and her colleagues entered into a dialogue with their partners to define the issues of common interest, and what the partners  wanted to achieve together.

It turned out that once a personal relationship was established, Elena Pachkova and colleagues met a lot of highly competent people sharing a passion for operational excellence.

”In reality we asked them to worker harder, as we were laying out the rails while the train was running, and I want to express my gratitude to all who participated,” says Elena Pachkova.

Profile of the CFO

Elena Pachkova has been Head of Administration and CFO at DHRTC since 2015. She has an international background, having been born in Russia, brought up in Germany, and studied in Denmark leading to a Master’s Degree in Mathematics and Economy (Cand. Scient. Oecon) and a PhD in productivity analysis from University of Copenhagen.

Throughout her career, Elena has been fascinated by the financial and strategic perspectives of management and organization as well as improvements in internal processes. In her earlier career, she was Head of Business Support R&D at Carlsberg Breweries, Business Controller at the chemicals company Diversey A/S, and as CFO at the business planning provider WPA Mobile ApS, among other jobs.

Main focus

“Operational excellence is our main focus. We form the essential foundation in order to utilise the donation as effective as possible for the benefit of society, industry and academia,” says Elena Pachkova (…)”

Achievements

Financial planning and management

More than 50 controllers have succeed in establishing and running a process to budget and forecast expenditure, time, and human resources needs for projects. Every quarter the controllers produce 150-200 reports, providing a forecast deviation of five to six percent, which is excellent in an academic environment considering the complexity of the centre. This shows that the available resources are effectively spent in DHRTC. On top of that, it helps DHRTC to ensure that the donation is invested in the best possible way.

Legal operations

The DHRTC has set up legal compliance standards for confidentiality, publications, contracts, and 3rd party agreements. The network has delivered 400 contracts over the years. In average that is more than three contracts every five workdays.

Data management/IT

To share data openly while at the same time comply with confidentiality rules, DHRTC has established a common data storage, and is a frontrunner in secure data management, utilising two factor identification, encrypted hardware, and electronic lab notebooks. Additionally, all meeting rooms are equipped with video conferencing to facilitate collaboration within the DHRTC network.

Labs

DHRTC has established fully equipped state-of-the-art laboratories in Lyngby including reservoir fluid characterization, core flooding, CT scanning, and SEM equipment. A broad group of researchers and technicians are running more than 500 experiments on the site per year and the experimental activity is rising. Going forward, the plan is to open up the labs even more to the network.

Communication

A shared communication and branding platform has been developed for the entire partnership. Social media presence has been established with more than 500 followers of DHRTC on LinkedIn and almost 15.000 unique visitors on the website annually. Annual reports have been published in print and on the website every year to share results and knowledge. An important aim of the DHRTC communication is to help people network and share knowledge, information, good practices and to socialise. . A major annual event is the DHRTC Technology Conference with more than 270 participants.

Operations

The administrative operational team is the backbone of the effective handling of various daily tasks from purchasing, planning and organizing events, payments and welcoming new colleagues to DHRTC.

A passion for excellence

“It has not been an easy task. The institutions saw each other as competitors, and we asked them to change their attitude and become fellow players. At the same time nobody wants people from the outside to instruct them how to do their job. So for us it was not an option to go out and tell our colleagues in the network how to do their job,” says Elena Pachkova.