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MSCA projects are life-changing experience. And HERE IS WHY

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Three years already after the beginning of my Ph.D.  In other countries, I should be finishing and defending my work, but in Switzerland, things are different. Here the quality of research is much more appreciated. Therefore, a normal Ph.D. takes over 4 years.  This month we had the last meeting of our MCSA (Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions) project INFRASTAR. So we all met in Brussels to celebrate our work and give feedback about our project.  last beer with the INFRASTAR team Many conclusions were discussed, and further works were recommended. It seems that the fatigue of concrete does not have a ready to use solution, we had, therefore, the opportunity to take advantage of the synergies created by different opinions and visions. But we all agreed on one thing: Only sleep cures fatigue. And we left with this beautiful souvenir: Only sleep cures fatigue ;) Now that our MSCA project comes to an end, I would like to share with you how this project makes me a d

A Horror story in Krakow

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Travel shapes youth, as the saying goes. My travel last six weeks to Poland was full of challenges and instabilities, that broadens my analytical and critical mind. I visited Krakow, the first touristic city in Poland for professional reasons, the last obligatory secondment in my PhD, and my last destination before the end of the INFRASTAR project. Unlike my personal trips, I prepare well my professional travels, by programming and booking the flights long before and by finding a sure accommodation during my stay. I didn’t expect that it would be difficult to find a room or an apartment in Krakow during August and September. I contacted the agencies that were recommanded to me by some colleagues. Unfortunately, they were either not available or for students who rent for more than six months. Under this situation, I opted for Airbnb. I looked in details for all the offers, until I found an apartment near the place of my work, which was available for the six weeks of my sta

Midnight thoughts

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INFRASTAR project is teaching us how to communicate our science and research. It requires sharing our Ph.D. experience in social media ( Facebook   Twitter   LinkedIn , http://infrastar.eu/ ) and our research in open access sources ( https://zenodo.org/record/2553561#.XOCGxcgzY2w ).   Communication makes us visible, makes our ideas and opinions transparent. We spend a lot of time communicating with each other. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable, embarrassed, and sometimes, exited, loved and belonged. You can guess now the topic of my writing: communication and particularly normal life conversations. Lastly, I was discussing with one of my friends how to lead a discussion, and how to make the first step during work or friend meetings to start or change the conversation topic. We were wondering why men lead mostly the discussions during dates and in normal life conversations more than women. Is it a cultural thing, or a men innate skill? In many cultures, we say that ‘a man

Training school, a trip to Nantes

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INFRASTAR  projet took us this time to Nantes. Toward lectures and teaching tools without forgetting the most important part: FUN.   French gastronomy, a tour guide in Nantes and unforgettable dinners with beautiful people.       The training school was a good experience to design exercises that help students retain information and gain real insight in their fields. I learned how to not be afraid of making mistakes, how to deal with students from different fields and how to provide clear guidance for the exercises. I will be honest, I have never liked teaching, but after this activity, I was very excited and happy to see that my ‘students’ could retain some useful information and come to discuss more the topic after. Exercise time People from outside the project join the school to discover our work. It was encouraging to see that many master students, PhD students, engineers and professors from different fields were all curious about  INFRASTAR  project. An

Experiments: Behind the scenes

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Hi dear friends, I hope you are having a wonderful time with your family and friends. To finish 2018, I want to share with you one of the experiences I had during 2018, where I had developed a relationship of hate and love with my Ph.D. It started when I made the decision to install a monitoring system in a Swiss Bridge, in December 2017. I prepared at the beginning of the year the statement of work to ask for funding from my school. I contacted the companies selling the monitoring system in Europe to compare the prices. I submitted a rapport to my school to ask officially for the funding. And I waited for an answer. In June, I got the money, I was very very happy, thinking that it is the end of the story. But, wait it just started. To use the funding I should find at least 2 offers and take the best one for me and for my school It was not easy to decide with different opinions and similar functions, but I made my decision and I have chosen one. In July, we had sent by

Denmark, the world of probability

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My second secondment was in Aalborg, direction Denmark 👉, in one of the best universities in reliability. The research teams there were involved in different fields, including wind turbines, tunnels, buildings, fire security and more. They aim to change the deterministic world of engineers to a probabilistic world!   It sounds like a noble goal. When we apply the rules and the equations given by standards like the Eurocodes, we often think that the result is certain , neglecting the fact that our world is full of uncertainties. In mathematics, it is possible to have a certain fact which will 100% occur, and variables with exact values. However, when we move to reality, nothing is certain or exact. Parameters in engineering fields do not have an exact value because of the uncertainties such as physical, statistical or model uncertainties.   That is why, as engineers, we should not see problems and their solutions as being deterministic but learn how to deal with the as

My PhD in 6 minutes 😉

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