Becoming a BioImplant ESR: Let the adventure begin: Martina Bernini (ESR 7)

Among the biggest events I went through last year, there was the beginning of my job as a BioImplant ESR at the National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG).

My journey to NUIG begun in January 2019, a few months before my Master graduation, when I applied to this position and went through the interview processes. A few weeks later, I was offered the role and in August I gathered up the courage and made the big leap of moving to Galway.

Moving to a new country has its own challenges, such as finding accommodation and making friends, however, I was fortunate to meet two other PhD students in the BioImplant project that started with me, who have been a reference point since the very first days.

Despite all the challenges, the warm welcome received from supervisors and colleagues set us up for a good start; and now that I have been working here for 6 months I can really state that what I love most about NUIG university is the international environment and the coexistence of ancient tradition with the need of innovation, as testified by the presence of the quadrangle building (below left), now used primarily for administrative purposes, and the Alice Perry Engineering Building (below right), where my office is placed.

The first weeks in my office, as for all the other PhD students, have been revolved mostly around literature review and training for using the experimental facilities, both essential steps to set the basis of my PhD work. Nevertheless, being part of an Innovative Training Network (ITN) requires also that each PhD candidate attend quarterly meetings held at one of the host organisations.

Indeed, last 9th -12th December we had the opportunity to visit RWTH Aachen (DE), where a training event on the manufacturing of medical textiles, braiding technologies, non-woven medical textiles, bioprinting and composite materials was offered. A hands-on training was also organized for the ESRs, in braiding, melt spinning and electrospinning. The event was a great opportunity to gain more knowledge on these topics, present our work in front of the supervisors and the academic partners and team building with the other ESRs.

Even though this ‘journey’ has just begun, I am looking forward to collecting new skills and knowledge useful for my work and trying to get the most from this experience, both professionally and personally.

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