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“Without doubt the two years of FAME were probably the most dense experiences of my life so far – and this is a very positive sense.”
Christian Schäfer — FAME 2015-2017 alumnus
FAMEAIS: What was your specialisation in the FAME Master and what year did you graduate? What is your current position (PhD, job)?
Christian: I specialized in Micro- and Nanotechnologies (Grenoble INP, Year 1) and Nanomaterials and Hybrids (Universidade de Aveiro, Year 2), and graduated in 2017. Currently, I am about to finish my PhD at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, Barcelona), where I have worked on the large-scale synthesis and integration of 2D materials (MoS2, graphene) for flexible electronics. Soon, I will start a new position as MOCVD Engineer in industry (Zürich, Switzerland).
FAMEAIS: How did your experience at FAME Master help you find this position?
Christian: The FAME Master educated me well in the fields of nanomaterials and -technologies and especially sparked my interest in thin film deposition techniques and characterization. Moreover, the mobility was a maturing and mind-opening experience helping me to adapt quickly to new environments. Therefore, the jump into another European country was an easy step to take for me after FAME.
FAMEAIS: Has FAME contributed to your personal development?
Christian: Without doubt the two years of FAME were probably the most dense experiences of my life so far – and this in a very positive sense. Besides the adaptation and self-organizing aspects it has taught me (looking for accommodation, internships, intercultural competence etc.), the mobility has definitely made me more outgoing and communicative through the many interactions I had. Naturally being more introvert, this has added positively to my soft skills. I am proud to have improved my foreign languages (English, French, Portuguese…and preparing me for Spanish after finishing FAME), having applied them in everyday life and conversations to make new friends. All in all, FAME has been very enriching for my personal development.
FAMEAIS: According to you, what are the particularities of the FAME Master?
Christian: The mobility is for me the central aspect of this programme. On an academic level, the FAME Master allows to specialize in materials science and engineering disciplines based on your personal preferences – you can choose from a wide range of lectures and practical courses covering from theory and simulation to experimental. Another thing to mention would be that FAME provides well-funded excellence grants to which it is worth applying.
FAMEAIS: What did you most like about the FAME experience?
Christian: In my opinion, the highlight is the mobility aspect allowing to stay in two chosen countries during one-year time frames. Although the study plan is demanding and should not be underestimated, this Erasmus Mundus programme gives more opportunities to explore European countries than the rather short, < half-year “conventional” Erasmus stays.
Furthermore, I would like to mention that selecting Grenoble as the first year specialization brings you in touch with a unique research environment – the GIANT campus with several internationally renowned research institutions (CEA, MINATEC, ILL, ESRF etc.) offering plenty of internship possibilities, in particular, for material scientists. Myself, I completed an internship at CEA and also had the opportunity to work for some time at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) at the surface & interface beamline BM32. Later, upon a proposal during my PhD, and already knowing the equipment, I returned to the very same beamline to carry out an experiment. This is a good example of how the connections made during the Master could help you in your future research career.
FAMEAIS: How would you describe the FAME Master in 3 words?
Christian: Interdisciplinary, Mobility, Network
FAMEAIS: Do you have any pieces of advice for new students?
Christian: Of course, plan your stays well in advance (accommodation etc.), but more importantly, be curious and be open-minded to all the unplanned that will happen along the journey. If you face it like this, you will be surprised how many doors will open up to you, about the many friends you will make, the network you will create, and future job opportunities it will bring! You are young and this is your time to discover!
FAMEAIS: Any additional comments on your experience as a FAME student?
Christian: If you have any specific question about the programme or just want to have a chat when making your decision, just contact me on my LinkedIn. I am happy to get in touch with you and share my experience with you.