Emma Schymanski is a chemist and environmental engineer, who embarked on her FNR ATTRACT Fellowship in 2018. Her husband Stan Schymanski is also an FNR ATTRACT Fellow, making them the first dual career couple to both benefit from this scheme. We spoke to Emma about her group’s detective work to find traces of chemicals in our environment and the associated challenges; her experiences as a woman in STEM; open science, and the experience of setting up your own research group for the first time.
Anupam Sengupta went from being an engineer in India to studying physics in Germany, before diving into biology in the US and Switzerland. Combining his expertise in these fields, the Indian national came to Luxembourg in 2018 with an FNR ATTRACT Fellowship to set up his research group at the University of Luxembourg as a tenure track Professor in Physics. We speak to the biophysicist about his journey and passion for uncovering the secrets of how the smallest of living organisms regulate our health and happiness, and get impacted by the changes in their environment.
With his interdisciplinary research group, metabolism expert and analytical chemist Johannes Meiser from the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) wants to uncover the role metabolism plays in the spread of cancer. We speak to the German national about his experience going from Postdoc to managing a research group; finding your niche; and the importance of a healthy work environment.
Dr Stan Schymanski is passionate about nature and the outdoors, so much that he shaped his education and career around it. At the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the biologist studies various aspects of how plants interact with their surroundings. We spoke to the German national about dual science careers, understanding plants, and what it’s like to be a scientist studying the effects of a changing climate.
Theoretical physicist Associate Prof Dr Thomas Schmidt came to Luxembourg in 2015, working on theoretical questions that help in the building of nanodevices with exciting potential technological applications. We spoke to the Swiss and German national about the impact science outreach had on him as a student, what it means to be a theoretical physicist and why he wants to keep his scientific focus broad.
At the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), FNR ATTRACT Fellow Dr César Pascual García uses nanotechnology to develop sensors that could one day scan our proteins for diseases. We spoke to the Spanish national about why he will not be tied down to one discipline, where he finds inspiration, and why we are at the edge of the proteomics era.
An interplay of people connected via Parkinson’s disease and mitochondria led Prof Dr Anne Grünewald to Luxembourg, where she started her FNR ATTRACT Fellowship at the LCSB at the University of Luxembourg in 2016. We spoke to the German national about how she fell in love with mitochondria; the importance of team spirit; interdisciplinarity and what it was like to be a full-time PI with a new-born at home and a husband abroad.
With his research group, Assistant Prof Dr Pedro Cardoso-Leite combines experimental psychology with video games, in an effort to understand how our mind works, and how this knowledge can be leveraged to improve learning. We spoke to the Portuguese-Luxembourg national about his return to Luxembourg after almost two decades, what he wants to achieve in the next five years, and how his interdisciplinary team is broadening his horizon.
After stays in Germany, Switzerland and Australia, physicist Andreas Michels found himself moving to Luxembourg in 2010, with an FNR ATTRACT Fellowship in his pocket. 8 years on, we spoke to the German/Luxembourgish national about his research group’s work to get a ‘behind the scenes’ look at materials, why they get to travel the world for their experiments, and his thoughts on the development of research in Luxembourg.
Paul Wilmes’ original background is in Environmental Sciences, but with his FNR ATTRACT Fellowship and move from the United States to Luxembourg in 2010, the Luxembourg national branched out into biomedicine. We spoke to the prolific scientist about his ‘gut-on-a-chip’ model, the importance of carving out research niches, his goals and recent parental leave period.
Prof Ines Thiele was still in high school when she fell in love with genetics, soon followed by a passion for systems biology and especially programming. After research stays in the US and Iceland, she came to Luxembourg where she and her team work on a virtual representation of human metabolism. We spoke to the German national and ERC grantee about how she considers science a hobby, how she juggles family and career, and her goals.
After spending over 6 years in Canada, immunology researcher Prof Dr Dirk Brenner set his sights on returning to Europe, choosing Luxembourg and the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) not only because of his FNR ATTRACT Fellowship, but also for the opportunity to build up something new. Three years in, we spoke to the German national about how international collaboration is the essence of high-impact research, team spirit, and how important it is to have fun on the job.
In 2008, British national Phillip Dale arrived in Luxembourg as the first ever FNR ATTRACT Fellow, setting up his energy materials (physics.uni.lu) group at the University of Luxembourg. Ten years on, we spoke to Phillip about learning you can’t always win; why he feels a strong sense of responsibility toward his students; and his gradual transition from a chemist to a physicist.
Massimiliano Esposito works in one of the few research fields that still use a blackboard, pen and paper: theoretical physics. After research stays in Belgium and the US, the Italian-become-Luxembourg-national returned to Luxembourg, to take up his FNR ATTRACT Fellowship. Five years later as the ATTRACT funding concludes and he embarks on a prestigious ERC-funded project, Massimiliano spoke to us about how his team is stronger than ever and how lucky he feels that he can focus on his research and put funding concerns aside.
Psychologist Samuel Greiff’s connection with Luxembourg already started mid-way through his PhD, when he started collaborating with a Professor from the University of Luxembourg on an international project. We spoke to the German national about how – despite considering himself a workaholic – he cherishes the flexibility and freedom of his work, and how he considers mentoring students a privilege.
Dr Alex Redinger, Luxembourg national and experimental physicist embarked on his FNR ATTRACT Fellowship in March 2017 and has big goals: Turning Luxembourg into a European photovoltaics hub. We spoke to Alex about the challenges he expects as he learns to be a mentor, the eternal quest for funding – and why he feels it is his duty to inspire the next generation of physicists in Luxembourg.
The ATTRACT programme is designed for researchers not yet established in Luxembourg, who demonstrate the potential to become leaders in their field of research. The scheme offers promising junior researchers the opportunity to set up their own research team within one of the country’s research institutions. The financial contribution by the FNR can be up to 1.5 MEUR for Starting Investigators (Postdoc & Junior Researcher level) or 2 MEUR for Consolidating Investigators (Established Researcher level). ATTRACT has one Call for projects per year, which applicants must coordinate with the proposed host institution. The next deadline for the ATTRACT programme is 15 November 2019 (pre-proposal) and 14 February 2020 (full proposal). Find out more