22 July 2020

COVID-19: updates for the Oncode research community

Elize Brolsma

At Oncode we would like to wish our research community and other stakeholders all the best during these difficult times. With most labs closing down, we fully understand the new situation will have an impact on Oncode related research activities. If you have any questions, please reach out to your personal contact at Oncode or email our Officer Management support Cora Koehorst via info@oncode.nl


As an Oncode researcher, you might have questions about how we are mitigating the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis on our programmes, projects and funding. Below you will find the answers to these questions, but in case you don’t, please don’t hesitate to contact us at communications@oncode.nl. We plan to update this Q&A regularly.

COVID-19 and Oncode

What measures did Oncode take to help flatten the curve?

Our Oncode office in Utrecht is currently closed and all of us are now working from home. All Oncode team members are available through digital channels. You can contact our business developers, programme managers or other team members via email, videoconference (Skype, Zoom, MS Teams) or by phone. By and large, business continues as usual.

Are Oncode Investigators involved in any way to help tackle this pandemic?

Together with several Oncode Investigators, we are currently looking into the possibilities to contribute with our technologies and equipment to new large-scale COVID-19 screening protocols. We are in contact with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) about this.

Are the Oncode labs still open?

Our latest information is that only essential activities are continued, and in general no new experiments are initiated. The directors/deans of the institutes are responsible for these decisions.


What happens to my funding if my research project gets delayed?

This problem is widely recognized. We are currently working with funders, partner institutes and other stakeholders to find solutions. The statement about the delay of research projects from VSNU, NFU, NWO en ZonMw is available here, and we will certainly inform you once we have more information about this.

I applied for the CPoC / other funding programme. Will the funding process be delayed / affected?

We are doing our best to maintain the usual timelines for review and decision making.


I received funding through the CPoC programme or Technology Development programme, am I still required to send quarterly updates?

Yes, you are. In your quarterly reports, we would like to ask you to inform us also about the (expected) impact of COVID-19 to your project. This is important in order to secure the funding, even for delayed projects.


How is the Valorization team operating at the moment?

All our colleagues in the Valorization team are working from home and are fully digitally connected. You can contact your assigned business developer via email, videoconference (Skype, Zoom) or by phone. By and large, business continues as usual.

I have an existing collaboration with industry and given the temporary closure of my lab, I am facing some delays. Do I need to do anything?

Each situation needs to be individually assessed. The collaborating companies will need to be contacted and revisions to the collaboration agreements may be required. Please contact your assigned business developer to discuss this.

I was in the process of starting an external collaboration. How is this affected?

Oncode is fully capable of advancing collaborations through to final agreements in this new situation. We anticipate that companies may want to suspend discussions until they have more clarity on the impact of COVID on their business. Given the current closure of research labs, the commencement of new projects will be delayed until research operations get back to normal.


I registered for an event that was postponed. Do I have to register again?

If an event is rescheduled, you will receive a new invitation. Following the invitation, you do need to register again, unless specified otherwise.

Are there any online events planned by Oncode now that the restrictions have been extended?

We are indeed looking at different possibilities to move some of our planned events - like Masterclasses - online. We will keep you informed about this. Please know that we are open to any suggestions and ideas, whether you are interested in sharing your latest research findings or other information with the rest of the Oncode community. Please let us know via communications@oncode.nl and we will contact you as soon as possible.

I want to share my research, technology or ideas with the community. How can I do that, given the circumstances?

We would very much like to help you with your ideas. Not just researchers, also technicians and others working in the labs are invited to share their thoughts with us via communications@oncode.nl and we will contact you as soon as possible.

I was scheduled to exhibit a poster/give a talk during the Annual Scientific Meeting. Can we now share anything online?

We have rescheduled our Annual Scientific Meeting to 7-8 September. All Oncode CGC researchers have received a new invitation.

Other News

Kops website
New biosensor measures activity of control enzyme MPS1
Researchers from the group of Oncode Investigator Geert Kops (Hubrecht Institute) have developed a biosensor that can precisely depict the activity of the MPS1 enzyme in living cells. MPS1 is responsible for accurate distribution of DNA during cell division; errors in this process can lead to cancer. Using the new biosensor, the researchers discovered that the MPS1 enzyme is significantly less active in colorectal cancer cells. The results were published in the scientific journal Current Biology on the 3rd of September.
Pre-existing immune-resistant cancer cells identified in melanoma
Researchers at the Netherlands Cancer Institute, led by Oncode Investigator Daniel Peeper with Julia Boshuizen as first author, have discovered a cluster of tumor cells that are refractory to immunotherapy and that exists even prior to treatment. This finding, which was published in the scientific journal Nature Communications, may lead to new therapies that eliminate cancer more effectively.


Elize is part of Oncode’s communication team. She has over 10 years of experience in the com-munication industry, both for commercial and non-profit organisations. After obtaining her bache-lor and master degree in communication at Utrecht University, Elize worked as a communication professional at a research institute, PR agency, law firm and internet company. She has a strong focus on external communications and Public Relations. At Oncode - together with her colleagues - Elize produces the monthly newsletters for Oncode Investigators & Researchers and the Oncode digital magazine. She publishes content for the Oncode website and is responsible for all social media channels. She enjoys discussing science with researchers and support them in their outreach.
11 impact value 1
Convey impact, get funding
In order to give our community hands-on advice on how to improve their grant writing, we hosted a 90- minute interactive webinar: Get Funding: Convey the impact of your science.