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First PhD defense of the SINCHEM consortium has been carried out by Asja PETTIGNANO

A very important event in the life of the SINCHEM EMJD (Sustainable Industrial Chemistry Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate) has taken place in Montpellier the September 19th , 2016.

The first PhD defense of the SINCHEM consortium has been carried out by Asja PETTIGNANO, who has discussed her thesis in front of a jury composed of three French and three Italian scientists.

Asja has been awarded the doctorate degrees of the ENSCM (Ecole Nationale de Chimie de Montpellier) and of the Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Her research work, directed by Françoise QUIGNARD in Montpellier and Luca BERNARDI in Bologna, has dealt with the development of catalysts and smart materials from seaweeds, an abundant natural resource.

The SINCHEM local coordinator, Francesco DI RENZO, underlines that "the subject of the thesis was in perfect agreement with the sustainability targets of the SINCHEM doctorate". He adds, "EMJD doctorates provide excellent opportunities to raise the level of the European research by allowing the recruitment of high-level PhD candidates from everywhere in the world and by fostering synergical collaborations between laboratories in different countries". He also considers that "the smooth run of the EMJD consortia critically depends on a steady support from the member institutions. The support of the ENSCM, of the Institut Charles Gerhardt and of the administration of the University of Bologna has been above any praise and represents a model to be followed by other institutions".

Andrès SIERRA-SALAZAR, a Colombian PhD student in the consortium, when asked about the life of a SINCHEM student, enthusiastically exclaims "SINCHEM is great!" and justifies his statement in a more sedate way: "this PhD program offers an amazing network and provides access to very high-tech facilities. Within the SINCHEM family, everyone is happy to help, even if they are not directly involved in your project, you can get advice from very highly qualified people with expertise in different fields". His final feeling is that "the Sinchem programme is an outstanding opportunity to start a 100% international career".

The SINCHEM consortium, which gathers seven higher-education institutions in Europe, has provided in his first four years 29 EACEA thesis grants and three more independently funded grants.