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Henry, PhD Student

What has been your career path?

After three years of prep school, I went to the CPE engineering school in Lyon. I got my degree in chemical engineering in September 2014.

What is your current role in Arkema?

I am currently in the second year of my CIFRE PhD program in Arkema. I study the interfacial properties and performance of gas hydrate anti-caking additives. The objective is to improve our understanding of the interactions between the additives that Arkema supplies and gas hydrates. That will allow Arkema to develop and offer more efficient and robust products to oil companies.

What skills are required for your job?

To do a PhD, you need to be autonomous and have a high capacity for work. I work every day in the lab to bring my research project to a successful conclusion. So, you need to have a taste for experiments. You also need to be thorough and quick to adapt. Lastly, you have to know how to work across different disciplines and present your results in English.

How did the process of your recruitment to Arkema work?

Arkema is partnered with my engineering school so I already knew the company. But I still had to go through the recruitment process: a phone interview with HR, then another with the scientific project manager. I then spent a day visiting and doing interviews at the host university laboratory at the University of Pau. Once I was selected by the company and the laboratory, the CIFRE funding application to the French ministry of research was compiled and then validated.

What are the advantages of writing a thesis in Arkema?

Writing a thesis in partnership with an industrial company makes it possible to obtain funding for a three-year PhD, and Arkema provides technical and material support by supplying the products. Another advantage is that I have employee status as well as student status (admittance to the works council, a good salary, and so on). And lastly, I've made some great contacts among the research managers in Arkema.

What do you like about this placement?

The variety of experiments that I conduct to bring this project to a successful conclusion. I'm not confined to a single procedure, which means that each working day is different.

What are your career plans?

I want to pursue my career as a research engineer in R&D. In Arkema if possible, if the opportunity arises.

What are your qualities with respect to your job?

I am unrelenting and passionate about science and research.

What challenges do you like to take on?

"Although it can be difficult, I like finding solutions to things that pose a problem or that don't work."

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