What has been your career path?
After getting my chemical engineering degree from the ENSCR school of chemistry in Rennes, I worked for a little over a year as an adviser in a contracting business specialized in soil decontamination. Then I joined Arkema to write my thesis and that is how I was able to enter the R&D sector, in which I hope to pursue my future career.
What is your current role in Arkema?
I am currently in the second year of my CIFRE PhD program. This thesis is the result of a partnership between the catalysis and solid-state chemistry unit (UCCS laboratory) at the University of Lille and Arkema's Lacq research group (GRL).
What exactly does your role consist of?
I am working on optimizing supported catalysts for the direct synthesis of methanethiol from CO/H2/H2S. In simple terms, let's say that my job consists of optimizing a simplified synthesis of methanethiol using gases that we want to give new value. In this way, our ultimate goal is to pave the way for this process to be developed at an industrial scale.
Why did you choose Arkema?
Arkema was company that I had known for a long time, and I wanted to join it because of its leading position in innovation in the field of chemistry. Also, writing a thesis in Arkema is clearly an advantage, partly because I am in the CIFRE program for industrial agreements for training through research: the complementarity of the academic and corporate settings is a huge advantage; technically, financially, and in human terms.
What difficulties have you had to overcome?
There are many challenges to overcome, but for me the first thing I had to do was manage to absorb the complexity of the subject. Understanding the academic requirements on the one hand and meeting the industrial demands on the other is, for me, a major challenge. Nevertheless, in more general terms, the biggest challenge in writing a thesis is managing your schedule just right and constantly seeking to optimize your activity so that so that you do not lose precious time.
What do you like about this placement?
I really like being at the intersection between all the teams, it is very rewarding to be able to talk with everybody about the different aspects of my subject. That's not to forget the confidence that my thesis directors have shown in my abilities. That has really spurred on my development in this project.
What challenges do you like to take on?
I like constantly getting interested in new and original ideas. I think the turn I have taken in my career is evidence of the urge to discover that sums me up.
What are your career plans for afterwards?
Ideally, I would like to pursue my career in Arkema's R&D department and maybe work in another country—why not!