FP7 Marie Skłodowska-Curie COFUND Programme
Dr. Ephriem Mengesha, from Ethiopia, is currently holding a position as a Eurotalents Fellow in the Laser Interactions and Dynamics Laboratory at CEA-Saclay. Specialised in physical chemistry, he arrivedat IRAMIS last year for a two-year period.
Read more about him below!
I studied Chemistry at Haramaya University, Ethiopia and Physical chemistry at Addis Ababa University (Ethiopia). Then, I came to Europe for my PhD where I worked at the Institute of Physical Chemistry, in Warsaw (Poland) and at Institut des Sciences Moléculaires in Orsay (France). I joined CEA right after I got my PhD.
Currently, I am working at CEA on a research project entitled "Floppy Complexes (FC)". I attempt to understand the conformation and dynamics of very weak molecular/biomolecular complexes in helium nano-droplets using infrared absorption spectroscopy. Since we are developing the Helium nano-droplets set up in our lab, we are currently in the first phase of our experiments; nevertheless we already have exciting results and some of them were published in PCCP, Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics 18(24) in January 2016.
I really enjoy my stay at CEA. The high level of security can be intimidating at first but my team is very nice and the laboratories have quality equipment. I have everything I need in terms of facilities and equipment and if needed, I have the possibility to buy specific devices through my laboratory.
It's always stimulating to work with people from different cultures, with different mind-sets and perspectives. I think I bring unique experience to my laboratory. To be honest, I went through a cultural shock when coming to Europe and I had to adapt. What stroke me the most is the way European perceive relationships. In Ethiopia, communicating with your neighbour is very simple and automatic, which is not the case in Europe. On the bright side, it taught me to become much more independent.
Here at work I only use English. Even though I speak French a bit, this is by no means a requisite to have a post-doctoral position at CEA.
I think it's a very good opportunity for many people coming from a great variety of backgrounds. This programme enables a mobility which enriches the scientific community in terms of knowledge. I would not have been able to live such an experience without it. Competition is harsh; many smart people want the same positions so having a good mobility abroad is a plus. It is a way to stand out and to get more credit. Here I am learning a lot every day.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my collaborators and the support I got from the CEA-Enhanced Eurotalents programme. Thank you!
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.