After the MSc – a PhD?

TU Delft is hosting a ‘PhD Open Day for MSc students’ on November 4, an event aimed at attracting talented PhD researchers, like Aleksandro Grabulov, from Serbia, whose PhD studies at TU Delft led to his involvement with Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing team.

Why did you choose for a PhD degree?
”My passion was to be involved in industrial projects where I could see the clear link between science and industrial application. This was inspired by my internships in Slovenia and Japan, where I worked on multinational projects while still a student at the University of Belgrade.”

What role did technology play in your decision?
”Being involved in developing cutting-edge technology was a main reason for considering a PhD as the next logical step forward in expanding my knowledge. This led me to my most exciting and challenging job: working in the Materials Innovation Institute (M2i), together with SKF Company, on the nanoscale fatigue process and improvement of steel properties for bearings used by Ferrari’s Formula 1 team. Who’d have thought when I embarked on my research that I’d be involved with Formula 1 racing! And as a PhD I get paid for all this fun work.” 

Why TU Delft?
”The choice for TU Delft was easy. I received three offers for PhDs in Europe and the USA, but preferred to focus on project-based industrial application. I wanted to combine experimental work with exploring potential applications, which TU Delft, with its state-of-the-art labs, is famous for. Then I saw the ideal research project for me at the Faculty of Applied Sciences’ (AS) High Resolution Electron Microscopy Group. The great thing about research at AS is the freedom you get. In addition to your main project, you spend time on exciting subsidiary experiments that bring you into contact with other research groups throughout the university.”  

Has doing a PhD contributed to your personal development?
”Definitely. I developed additional skills like managing and planning my own four-year project, working both independently and as part of a team, and writing scientific papers. I’ve also travelled to many international conferences to present my research and meet leading researchers from all over the world. And through constant collaboration with different companies, I also finally understood the business aspect of research.” 

How will a PhD degree enhance your career prospects?
”A PhD is a unique intermediate step between a Master’s study and choosing your final career path. It opens many doors: either continuing your academic career, conducting research at research institutes, or entering industry with unique expert knowledge in your field. Nowadays, most PhD graduates choose to continue their careers outside academia. The special skills they bring are increasingly sought by innovative, cutting-edge industries. I’d encourage all MSc students to seriously consider PhDs if they’re driven by a curiosity to discover new things and tackle new challenges.” 

What about a PhD’s social life?
”Everyone who thinks PhD study is only about labs and scientific papers is wrong! My TU Delft years have been full of fun activities, playing sports and travelling with my international colleagues. I’m also a board member of PROMOOD, which represents TU Delft’s PhD researchers and organizes many social activities.”   

’PhD Open Day for MSc students’ is on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, from 15:00 to 20:00, at TU Delft’s Faculty of Applied Sciences (AS). To register to attend this event go to: www.tnw.tudelft/nl/phd. Send any questions to: phd-tnw@tudelft.nl

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