May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly (name, nationality, Marie Curie Action, Project, international experience…)?
My name is Axelle Viré. I am Belgian and graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2006. I also hold a Ph.D in Physics (computational fluid mechanics) from the same university. In 2010, I moved to the United Kingdom to become a post-doctoral research associate at Imperial College London. I was also awarded an FP7 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship from 2011 to 2013 to work on the numerical modelling of floating wind turbines at Imperial College. The experience I gained in the UK has been tremendously useful, and I would recommend every researcher to gain work experience abroad. Since October 2013, I am based in the Netherlands, where I work as an Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology. I also received an FP7 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (2013-2017) to grow my activities in this new position.
Why did you apply for the Vice-Chair Person position within the MCAA?
I applied for the Vice-Chair position in the MCAA because I wanted to be at the core of an Association that represents the voice of the Alumni and bridges the gap between researchers and the European Commission. So far, I have worked in three different European countries (Belgium, UK, the Netherlands), and benefited from two different Marie Curie Actions. Therefore, I have a good knowledge of the Marie Curie funding, and have ideas on what could be improved to make researchers’ mobility and international collaborations more efficient. I also hear about recurrent issues faced by the Alumni, and feel that there is a need to make this voice heard. Finally, I am willing to develop support activities between Alumni at a national level as part of the MCAA.
As the Vice-Chair within the MCAA, what do you plan to do first? – or what is the first item you plan to put on the agenda?
My priority is to conduct a survey of the Alumni on their experiences of the Marie Curie Actions. This will provide statistics on what works well and what needs to be improved. The outcome of the survey will be reported to the European Commission. I believe that this is the starting point to make the voice of the Alumni heard and improve the Marie Curie Actions.
What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?
The MCAA should support the Alumni in developing their scientific career in Europe. This includes:
- improving the implementation of the Marie Curie Actions,
- guiding through the funding possibilities,
- providing opportunities for further career development and training. It should make sure that Europe keeps attracting the best researchers and gives them the means to fully develop their potential.
How do you plan to organise your work within the MCAA and especially your collaboration with the other Members of the Board?
I plan to have regular meetings with the other Board Members, for example, through Skype, emails, and face-to-face meetings. I am glad to see that the Board Members are highly motivated and willing to make the MCAA a success. It is important to keep a good team dynamic and coordinate our activities efficiently. For this, we need to prioritise our objectives for the coming two years, setting clear deadlines and discussing progress in well-prepared meetings.
How will your work within the association help build a “community spirit” among the Marie Curie Alumni?I think that communication with the Alumni is the key to building “community spirit”. I will use the MCAA web portal to disseminate my activities and report back to the community. I hope that the survey I will conduct will make the Alumni feel that they belong to a community that supports them and wants to improve their work experience and situation.
Do you plan to meet Alumni? When?
I would like to meet Alumni nationally, in order to present the MCAA objectives and network. This will however take a few months to organise.
What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?
I would like to thank them for trusting me in this new role. I really want to bring together all the Alumni to make a successful and vibrant Association, which benefits researchers worldwide. We need to ensure that research excellence remains a priority in Europe.