MCAA Ordinary Board Member – Francesco Sanna

Francesco Sanna - Ordinary Board Member

  1. May I ask you to introduce yourself briefly (name, nationality, Marie Curie Action, Project, international experience…)?

    I was born in Sassari, Italy, in 1987. In 2006 I finished high school (classical studies) and I started my bachelor degree at the faculty of Aerospace Engineering in Pisa. I was awarded my bachelor degree in December 2009 and I decided to continue my studies, taking a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering with specialisation in Fluid Dynamics. During my Master years, I went to the San Diego State University in California for an exchange and my Master thesis involved an internship of 6 months at the Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert at the University Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). I was then awarded my Master Degree in April 2012. I always wanted to have an international career. For this reason, I decided to move to the Netherlands. Here, I work for the Department of Fluid dynamics of the Dutch Organisation for Applied Scientific Research – TNO, located in Delft. For this position, I received a Marie Curie Grant, which enables me to be not only an employee of TNO, but also a Ph.D student of the Université du MaineEurope. My European Project is called FlowAirS (, grant no. 289352), a project based on collaboration between 14 Ph.D students and 4 PostDocs from universities and other oganisations.

  2. Why did you apply for the Ordinary Board Member position within the MCAA?

    First of all, I did not feel ready for being a Member of the executive Board, being just 26. Since I am in the second year of my Ph.D, I thought it could be important to provide the point of view of a Fellow currently involved in a Marie Curie Project. That is why I decided to apply.

    During my speech, I explained which my priorities are. These relate to the concept of information – before, during and after the Marie Curie experience. Concerning the “past”, usually Marie Curie Fellows do not know anything about Marie Curie grants before being hired. This was my case and is what I’ve also heard from other Fellows. For the “present”, during my first year I discovered that there are similar projects, often on exactly the same topic. The problem is that these projects don’t interact with each other. Students are not aware of courses which they would probably be interested in and, more importantly, they don’t build a proper network, losing out on the opportunity to exchange knowledge and start collaborations. For the future, Marie Curie Fellows (especially those at university) are alone and completely lost after the end of their Ph.D. Because of the prestige of these grants, it is important to organise events to give them the opportunity to find a good (the best) position before the end of their Marie Curie experience.

  3. As an Ordinary Board Member within the MCAA, what do you plan to do first? – or what is the first item you plan to put on the agenda?

    Honestly, my plan is to meet the other Members of the Board and try to explain my ideas:

    • Capillary information on the opportunities provided by Marie Curie grants, at university, during job meetings, at events related to the research. This should be done in each country. Competition between students needs to be higher so that the best are selected for these grants;
    • Network of students per field and area, informing people in the same field about courses, either technical or not;
    • Link between companies/universities/research centres and students, creating job meeting events so that people are not lost after the experience.


  4. What do you think the MCAA’s priorities should be?

    MCAA’s priorities should be:

    1. Create objectives,
    2. Make a plan for each idea (past, present and future),
    3. Realisation of these points.


  5. How do you plan to organise your work within the MCAA and especially your collaboration with the other Members of the Board?

    Soon we will have a meeting to discuss different objectives. The collaboration already started with a forum “intra nos”. The first step should be to know each other better and to create subgroups. By the way, I had a really nice impression during the assembly. They seem to be extremely (pro)active and full of energy for the association.

  6. How will your work within the association help build a “community spirit” among the Marie Curie Alumni?

    As I already said, my objective focuses on the student. I want to involve people and amplify the voice of other Marie Curie students. About the Board, I am sure that each Member has different points to develop. We will find links between points and, collaborating, we will give the proper power to this association.

  7. Do you plan to meet Alumni? When?

    Yes, of course. First we will have a meeting and later I can start creating events, first in the Netherlands, because I live here, and later around Europe. In order to do that, we need subgroups in different countries.

  8. What would you say to the Alumni, especially to those who elected you?

    First, thank you for the trust. It is an honour to be elected as a Member of the Board. The assembly gave me a lot of energy and I will do my best to build this organisation together with you all.

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