Head of the Engine System Analysis Department, Energy Applications Techniques Division
MIT Sloan Automotive Laboratory PhD
Based in Rueil-Malmaison
I got my engineering degree and then spent a year majoring in engines at the IFP School. Then I moved to Boston to work on my PhD at MIT. I wanted to move back to France and find a job in applied engine research when I finished. IFP Energies nouvelles was the place to go for that in France – and still is. That's why I sent the Energy Applications Techniques Division my CV. They took me on in 2001.
I was promoted to Head of the Engine System Analysis Department in February 2007. We analyze and experiment reciprocating-engine combustion systems, which will ultimately go into cleaner and more fuel-efficient vehicles.
I'm still a project manager, but I am also in charge of running the department and of building skills and associated resources.
The bulk of my new responsibilities fall into one of three categories:
- maintaining and developing IFP Energies nouvelles's combustion-system analysis expertise,
- accumulating and disseminating knowledge and skills,
- encouraging and promoting innovation.
As I am still a project manager, I am still drafting bids for industrial and government projects. But I spend 80% of my time running the department – i.e. administrating staff and resources. I am also one of the key contacts for Division project managers now. So I meet them on a regular basis to discuss their requirements and to try and meet them.
Leading extremely qualified and talented men and women, keeping them motivated, and making sure they are all working in synch and without overlapping. Seeing a team pulling together like that is always rewarding.
My new job has also given me a clearer vision of where IFP Energies nouvelles is heading over the long term. And I have to make sure my department plays its part getting it there.
You have to like leading, and you have to like people. That's what I spend more than 50% of my time doing. You have to be a people person and you have to know how to listen. Running an applied-research team also means you have to be at home with the scientific and technical issues they are working on, to be able to anticipate requirements especially.
More management duties mean less time to do research. So you have to be inquisitive, and want to stay abreast of the latest scientific and technical developments.
At this point, I'm focusing on my job and not really thinking long-term. But the things I am going to be doing and learning here will give me a clearer picture of the R&D work I am involved in. That will no doubt also give me a clearer picture of where I want to go from here.