Selene De Sutter started her PhD at ETRO in 2019. Since childhood she suffers from Diabetes type 1 and she received an insulin pump for treating this. The choice of following the Master Biomedical Engineering was obvious, so that she could develop technologies that would help people with medical conditions, like the insulin pump did for her. If Selene did not choose for am Engineering training you could have met her on stage, as she was hesitating to follow a Jazz training. Now she combines Engineering Sciences with music as a hobby.
The program creates lots of possibilities so that you have a lot of options. It starts general and you can choose options along the go according to your interests. It does take some perseverance though!
Biomedical Imaging was the course Selene liked most in the master Biomedical Engineering. A very visual kind of programming that showed its usefulness in practice immediately. It also became her topic for her PhD which is her next big goal. What will happen after the PhD is not clear yet, but she wants to work on something useful and enjoy what she is doing.
A golden tip from Selene: Working hard is important, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself at the university!
Tobias Birnbaum (Germany) started a PhD @ ETRO in 2016 after watching an Interview with Peter Schelkens about SoA in Holography. He chose the topic because he is fascinated about this topic, although he was also interested in a Doctoral degree in Mathematics, but ETRO offered research in applied Math in the context of digital holography.
Strengths of the program are facilities, training options, international teams, traveling grants and usefulness/applicability of the work.
Weaknesses of the program are too varied to understand what everyone is doing, therefore often missing out on collaboration opportunities in the same building. I met a team member a researcher in Salt Lake City at a conference that worked exactly on what we needed. As we exchanged contacts, we found out he worked at ETRO one floor above us. Also, all university communication is Dutch, while Brussels is mostly French and speaking and courses can be held in English.
The collaboration with fellow students was truly excellent and enriching. Without it, it would have been a much harder struggle.
Personally, it turned me into a more connected and seasoned researcher. I am confident about attempting research in new teams and publishing as main author.
A golden tip for the future generation: Start assembling bits and pieces of the thesis in a loose structure already from year 1, and don’t only collect text chunks until the last year.
My ideal future looks like leading a team working on a green-technology problem using the knowledge obtained during the PhD.
Abel Díaz Berenguer (Cuba) joined ETRO in 2017 and obtained his PhD in 2021. His father was a Civil engineer, and during his childhood, he spent a lot of time with him in construction works. This triggered his curiosity to build and create things. Since Abel was a kid, he wanted to study ¨something¨ with computers and never had any doubt about studying engineering in informatics sciences.
The PhD program made him feel thoroughly responsible for your research project. Advisors progressively introduce you into the research environment and educate you on digging deeper into fundamental theories by promoting critical thinking. Abel noticed a lack of motivation to participate in dissemination activities that promote science communication. Students also did not feel the need to communicate and to encourage more collaboration between other fellows working in the same or different fields.
Abel enjoyed the Writing Bootcamp of the doctoral Training program very much. The three days course about writing scientific articles offered mainly many good tips about approaching the scientific writing process, which was a great help during the PhD.
Abel has great memories of chats, coffees, and plenty of amusing moments with colleagues. Those moments allowed him to overcome challenging days. The collaboration with close colleagues has been outstanding. Research is a process of knowledge sharing and co-creation with excellent colleagues that became family that stood by my side on long working days and nights.
Abel grew during his PhD into a person with more critical thinking towards solving any problem in life. Be enthusiastic and passionate about your research. Enjoy the learning process with perseverance, dedication, engagement, and curiosity for innovating. Push boundaries and never give up share knowledge and be a team player.
Abel wants to land in an academic environment, help others learn and learn from them. In a position to benefit society, share knowledge and contribute to building a better world for our children.