How did you end up at LIST?
I arrived at LIST in 2017, after completing my Master's thesis in Switzerland at the Empa Center for Scientific Research. Before that, I studied polymer chemistry in Poland, where I am from. I also worked for a year in the automotive industry where I saw how applied science works. After my master's thesis, I decided to train a little more, and a scientific institute seemed the right choice to me because it acts as a bridge between fundamental and applied science. At first, I was looking for an institute in a German-speaking country, and I stumbled upon LIST thanks to a German recruitment site. It was a good surprise!
What were your first impressions when you arrived at LIST and in Luxembourg?
I joined the Plasma Processing group of LIST: a young and very dynamic team. When I arrived, I had never worked with plasma before. I had to learn everything and I managed to do it thanks to a group of wonderful and experienced people who helped me to understand the underlying theory. LIST helped me overcome this challenge!
As for Luxembourg, it is a small and cosy country where you learn fast, where people speak many languages, so it is easy to connect and make friends. Students come from all over the world. Luxembourg is at the heart of Europe, which offers many opportunities for collaboration: Paris and Brussels are within easy reach. And public transport is free: a real advantage for students!
Can you present your research in a few words?
My PhD aims to form tunable polymer coatings using an environmentally friendly process, i.e. without fossil-based chemicals. The novelty of this coating is its 3D molecular architecture, which is obtained by using the starting materials - monomers - and a new type of treatment - plasma deposition. The invention resulting from my PhD has just been applied for a patent and will soon be published in scientific articles. Currently, in the second part of my PhD, I am working on scaling up this invention. The objective: to improve the application of coatings in industry over the next few years. These coatings may, for example, be used in the medical sector.
What is it to be a woman in research?
In Poland, chemistry is more popular among girls than in other countries where I studied. I have never felt any particular difficulties related to my gender: it has always about my skills. However, it is important for me to attract more girls into science. This is why I took part in the campaigns: “Girls as Engineers!” at my first University and in "Young Nobel" by voluntary service PROJEKTOR with pupils in Poland . Coming to testify about my background in class can give vocations. The key message is: "Look, I managed to do this, and I come from the village next door”.
What are your plans after your PhD?
After my PhD, I would like to stay in applied sciences: working in the research and development department of a private company, or in academia if I find an interesting project to work on. LIST offers versatile career opportunities.
If you had to sum up LIST in one sentence, what would it be?
LIST has all the tools you need for research: It's up to you to choose the right one.