Thomas Kraft, holder of an XLIM doctorate
What was the subject of your thesis?
My thesis examined polymer-based photovoltaics. It was a thesis that was co-tutored between Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada) and the University of Limoges. I’m an anglophone Canadian. My thesis supervisors were Bernard Ratier in Limoges and Jean-Michel Nunzi in Canada.
Why the University of Limoges?
Jean-Michel Nunzi had already collaborated with Bernard Ratier and XLIM was a good laboratory for the manufacture of polymer-based solar cells. The aim was to have Queen’s University collaborate with the University of Limoges in order to improve the quality of my thesis.
Were you aware of Limoges before your thesis?
I only knew Limoges because my grandmother had some Limoges porcelain, and when I was a child I thought porcelain was called Limoges … So upon arrival in Limoges, I learned that there is not one single porcelain company, but several!
What was your background before the doctorate? How did you finance it?
I did a Master’s in Chemistry in Canada and the first time I came to Europe to live was to do my PhD. I studied French in my youth, but this was the first time that I studied in French. It was a good experience. I am currently working in Finland.
For financing, I have benefitted from a CIFRE scholarship with the support of the company Disasolar.
How has the doctorate benefitted you personally?
I have been able to live in Europe for the first time and I am also currently doing my post-doc in Europe. The doctorate was an opportunity to leave Canada and it really changed my life. I am now married and I met my wife, who is Finnish, at a conference in Arcachon… so it’s a great story. I also really enjoyed the coaching by the MINACOM XLIM team that engaged with me because of my Canadian immigration status… and that really contributed to me succeeding in getting my thesis. The fact that Limoges is a small town in terms of population also allowed me not to be afraid to move to France.
How do you see your professional future?
I’m currently working at a university. I am manager of a national project in Finland which is focused on the Internet of Everything, a new trend to link the internet and electronics.
Do you still maintain links with the University of Limoges?
Yes, I still maintain regular contact with my supervisor and another lecturer to establish a collaboration between XLIM and my laboratory in Finland as part of a European project.
What would you say to those who are tempted by the doctorate?
The doctorate is an opportunity. It allows for self-reflection in terms of the subject of your thesis, but also with regard to your choice of life, which is sometimes difficult.