At the beginning of 2020, Bruno César da Silva was very excited. After six months of participating in an international selection process, he had obtained a position as a temporary researcher at a research institute in the city of Grenoble (France). Paid by the French government, he would commit to studying in detail the properties of semiconductor nanowires and some of their possible applications. In fact, these tiny wires may be used in future electronic and optoelectronic devices, but, for that, they need to be better understood and controlled.
In his master’s and doctorate in Physics, carried out at UNICAMP, Bruno had studied semiconductor nanowires, always under the guidance of excellent professors, and he had acquired solid knowledge in the set of techniques required by the post. “Finding someone who has a background in all the topics the job asked for is difficult, but I was lucky, was willing and had the opportunity to gain experience in all these areas,” says Bruno. In addition, Bruno is the main author of two articles published in renowned scientific journals (Nano Letters and Scientific Reports). Despite not having an expressive number of articles, Bruno’s production, generated during his doctorate, drew attention for its quality.
But Bruno’s training in scientific research started in high school, within the Junior Scientific Initiation Program of CNPq (the main federal research agency in Brazil). He then continued his undergraduate studies in Physics at the University of Lavras, where he undertook undergraduate research as a fellow of FAPEMIG (the research foundation in Minas Gerais State). While still an undergraduate student, Bruno had his first international research experience, at a Spanish university, as a fellow of the Science without Borders Program, from the Brazilian government. “My training is the result of public policies and investments,” says Bruno. In fact, at all stages, Bruno had scholarships financed with public resources. He started with less than 100 reais in high school and reached about 3,600 reais at the end of his doctorate with a scholarship from FAPESP, the São Paulo State research foundation.
Sudden change of plans
Bruno had a flight ticket and accommodations booked to begin his life in Grenoble when in mid-March the WHO declared the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result, hiring at the research institute was suspended, and Bruno started looking for other opportunities.
He searched in Brazil and abroad. He sought postdoctoral fellowships and jobs as a researcher or data scientist – a professional area linked to mathematics and computing.
Without opportunities and no income, Bruno, aged 32, returned to his parents’ home in Jacareí (SP). He requested emergency government assistance and pledged to finalize scientific articles based on the doctoral results, while taking online courses to redirect his career.
Finally, six months after the scheduled date, Bruno took on his temporary position at the French research institute. And he has been working with nanowires for over a month, very happy. “Here, we, the newly graduated doctors, are treated like professionals, and we pay taxes like any worker,” he jokes, making an implicit comparison with the situation that young PhD grant holders experience in Brazil.
After his experience in Grenoble, he plans to participate in a selection process to become a research professor at a Brazilian university. However, Bruno says that if the situation of scarce resources for science continues in Brazil, he will continue to build a career abroad. “I think it is important to return the investment in my education to the Brazilian society through teaching and conducting research that can contribute to the development of my country. We are able to do quality science in Brazil, but we need the necessary conditions,” he concludes.
Four members of B-MRS were part of the select group of about 30 young researchers from several countries who participated in two events held in the city of Strasbourg, France, along with 60 other participants. The main subject of both events was material innovation for a sustainable society and a global circular economy (i.e., based on reduction, reuse, recovery and recycling of materials and/or energy). The events were organized by several research societies in materials research, the International Union of Materials Research Societies (IUMRS) and other entities, with the support of UNESCO.
Post-doctoral fellows Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva (currently full-time professor at FURB, after completing a post-doc at UFPR), Gisele Amaral-Labat (USP), Kassio Papi Silva Zanoni (IFSC-USP) and Sedeyeh Parinaz Akhlaghi (UNICAMP) were the young B-MRS members who participated in the events. The four postdocs were selected from 20 candidates in the context of the B-MRS Young Researcher Award. They have earned the right to attend the events (which are not open to the public), as well as travel costs. The award was made in partnership with the European Materials Research Society (E-MRS).
The first of the events was the “Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers 2017,” held on 18 and 19 November of this year at the headquarters of the European Youth Center. The forum brought together different generations of researchers around science and technology for a sustainable world. The event included lectures by senior scientists, poster presentations of young researchers and discussions among all participants. In addition, all young scientists participated in the preparation of a report that was presented at the end of the event.
Then, on the 20th and 21st, the “6th World Materials Summit” was held at the headquarters of the Council of Europe. The subject of innovation in sustainable materials and the circular economy was discussed through lectures by scientists from various countries and round tables.
According to Kassio Zanoni, the discussions of the two events showed an academic, political, social and environmental view about themes related to sustainability, as well as the perspectives of Materials research in this context. According to the B-MRS participants, some of the topics addressed were the conversion, storage and distribution of energy (solar, for example); production of more efficient and less polluting batteries; capture and reuse of carbon dioxide; materials recycling; and many other topics.
The president of SBPMat, Osvaldo Novais de Oliveira Jr, professor at IFSC-USP, represented SBMat in the international committee of the summit and gave a lecture in the forum about nanomaterials and their applications.
Read our interview with the B-MRS young members who attended the events.
B-MRS Newsletter: Briefly tell us about the work you presented in the “Forum for the New Generation of Researchers 2017”.
Eduardo Neiva: I presented a poster about my postdoctoral work, whose theme involved the application of graphene nanocomposites in the construction of energy storage devices.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: My panel discussion consisted of activities that are currently being developed in my postdoctoral fellowship. The work is based on the use of pulp and paper industry waste, crude black liquor, in the synthesis of porous carbon foams in the presence of nickel, for direct ethanol fuel cell applications. The synthesis form used generates a product with a greater amount of residues, besides the low cost when compared to the electrocatalysts used in the current market.
Kassio Zanoni: I presented a poster of the work I am developing in the postdocs, on ways and concepts for energy conversion and sustainability.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: I presented my postdoctoral work (referring to the years 2015-2017) at UNICAMP (Institute of Chemistry), still in progress, as well as part of the work developed during my doctorate (2010-2014) at the University of Waterloo (Dept. of Chemical Engineering) in the form of a poster titled “Preparation and Characterization of Novel Nanomaterials for Biomedical Applications.”
B-MRS Newsletter: How did your participation in these events contribute to your development?
Eduardo Neiva: Unlike other events, I had the opportunity to participate in discussions involving topics of global importance. My participation in this event will also result in future international and national partnerships, where in the event, I and the participant Gisele conceived projects to be developed in the near future.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: Undoubtedly, participating in these events was extremely important for my academic background, first due to the type of event, in which a common theme is discussed by two different communities, academic and business, enabling me to know different global views of the subject. Secondly, it created the possibility for collaboration with other research centers, including young and senior researchers, national and international. Furthermore, the event allowed getting to know the work of the other young Brazilian researchers, and a possible collaboration with Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva is in progress. The objective is to synthesize sustainable carbon materials for application in the area of energy storage, taking advantage of the expertise of both of us.
Kassio Zanoni: The event provided the opportunity for meetings with several researchers, increasing our networks of collaborations. It was very interesting to hear the different views and this brought a great deal of professional growth. It really was very productive, perhaps the most productive meeting I’ve ever attended.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: I believe that my participation in these events was one of the most rewarding and most influential experiences in my career as a researcher and as a human being. I was affected in an extremely positive way by being in the presence of young researchers like myself, as well as experienced scientists, shaping my worldview (and my future), my ambitions and desires in the academic career. Being in the presence of scientists that I have admired for so long and being able to exchange ideas with them was very rewarding in several aspects. All the discussions were profound, passionate and motivating. It was certainly an experience shared by the other young scientists.
B-MRS Newsletter: What most attracted your attention in the events?
Eduardo Neiva: The direct and prolonged contact with renowned researchers.
Gisele Amaral-Labat: I was delighted with how receptive the senior researchers were with the young researchers. Moreover, the event showed a relevant multidisciplinarity of the professionals and the works presented.
Kassio Zanoni: The different views on the same theme, which vary widely between different countries.
Parinaz Akhlaghi: What at first could have been a barrier, soon proved to be extremely pleasurable. Despite the age difference between the main scientists (some older than 70) and the young researchers (some 25 years old), the exchange of information flowed naturally. On both sides there was passion when talking about science (as a whole), as well as new paths and alternatives for a more hopeful and better future.
B-MRS (Brazilian Materials Research Society) announces the list of winners of “Young Researcher Award” (YRA), an award from the Society bestowed on postdoctoral fellows, this year in partnership with E-MRS (European Materials Research Society).
The winners are:
Gisele Amaral-Labat (USP – Department of Metallurgical Engineering and Materials)
Seyedeh Parinaz Akhlaghi (UNICAMP – Institute of Chemistry)
Kassio Papi Silva Zanoni (USP – São Carlos Institute of Physics)
Eduardo Guilherme Cividini Neiva (UFPR – Department of Chemistry)
The prize winners will participate in two invitation-only international events: “Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers 2017” (Strasbourg, France, 18-19 November 2017) and “6th World Materials Summit” (Strasbourg, France, 20-21 November 2017). They will have travel expenses covered.
SBPMat is grateful to all the candidates participating and congratulates those selected, wishing them a fruitful participation at the events.
The winners were selected from 20 postdocs who submitted their applications by March 31 of this year. The selection of the YRA winners considered the eligibility criteria explained in the edict, the evaluation of the abstracts of the work to be presented in the events and the evaluation of the CV.
SBPMat thanks the judging committee, consisting of Professors Christoph Deneke, Iêda Maria Garcia dos Santos and Newton Barbosa.
The application submission for the “2017 Young Researcher Award” is open until March 31. The award, launched by SBPMat, is now in partnership with E-MRS (European Society of Materials Research).
Postdoctoral fellows, SBPMat members with paid annuity fees, who defended their doctorates as of 2010 can apply. Up to four postdocs will be selected. The winners will be announced on May 15.
The award winners will participate, with lodging expenses paid, in two invitation-only international events: “Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers 2017” (Strasbourg, France, 18-19 November 2017) and “6th World Materials Summit” (Strasbourg, France, 20-21 November 2017).
In the Forum for the Next Generation of Researchers, the SBPMat award winners will be part of a select international group of young researchers and will interact with each other and with world-renowned senior scientists. The program includes activities developed by pairs of young researchers from different countries, their poster presentations and talks from senior scientists.
The World Materials Summit is an event that in addition to the young researchers, brings together representatives of science, business and politics, invited by the event organization to discuss social and economic challenges that Materials Science and Technology can help solve. The theme of this edition will be “materials innovation for the world economy and for a sustainable society.”
More information about the award, in the announcement, is available HERE.
Information on how to pay SBPMat’s 2017 annuity and the advantages and reasons to join, HERE.