One of the benefits of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship is the opportunity it gives you to spend part of your research period working with different academic and industry-participating partners. This opportunity grants access to leading industries in your research field, while at the same time providing you with an overview of what kind of job one could find after completion of the PhD.
As an Early Stage Researcher in the CORE Innovative Training Network, one of my secondments took place at the Research and Development department of the French chemical group PCAS (Produits chimiques et auxiliaires de synthèse). Created in 1962 by two determined chemical engineers, this group has grown considerably over the years to become a strong industrial partner of major market-leading global groups in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. The company comprises nine sites in six different countries, and among these, I visited the R&D department in Porcheville, France.
Each day of the secondment gave me the opportunity to learn more and to expand my network of collaborators. I have been working on a topic that is related to my field, yet nevertheless new to me, which made the experience both intriguing and interesting. I could count on the expertise of the Scientific Director, and the support of employees, who were always prepared, professional and willing to share their knowledge. Furthermore, being able to have access to the most efficient technologies currently in use in the field of my research made the experience very valuable. My experience working at the company highlighted business dynamics and tangible issues which a researcher (when closed in the lab trying desperately to perform a successful experiment) does not generally encounter, and it allowed me the opportunity to see what is really required by customers, especially in a sector as competitive as the pharmaceutical industry.
The personal impact of this secondment was as significant as the professional one. I met a number of exceptional people, with whom I was able to experience daily life between experiments in labs, to enjoy Sunday lunches, and to take part in guided tours of beautiful places that I will remember for a long time. My time at PCAS confirmed something which I already knew. The PhD is not only limited to work in labs, but is also about people: those who are here, and even those who are no longer with us.
If you would like to learn more about PCAS, please visit: http://www.pcas.com/en
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems
Otto -von- Guericke University Magdeburg, Germany
Francesca Cascella joined the CORE-ITN in May 2017. She graduated at University of Bari ”Aldo Moro”(Italy) in Chemistry. Now she works in the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems of Magdeburg (Germany) focusing on the Continuous Resolution of Enantiomers by Crystallization, under the supervision of Prof. Heike Lorenz and Prof. Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern.