Fabiane Fantinelli Franco, BSc in Physical and Biomolecular Sciences from University of São Paulo, Brazil. Master student at iNANO, Aarhus University.
After finishing my bachelor in Brazil I knew I wanted to study nanotechnology at a prestigious university. The master in nanoscience at Aarhus University offered me what I was looking for: a place that combined both specialised courses in nanotechnology and a good quality of life. It presented the opportunity to take part in a highly qualified education at an internationally recognised institute. Additionally, it is located in one of the best countries in the world - Denmark! The possibility of a scholarship was also a deciding factor that distinguished Aarhus University from other institutions.
I am pleasantly surprised and grateful for my invaluable journey here at iNANO. When I first arrived, I was not expecting to have so many different opportunities outside the scope of the course. One such experience was the Dean's Challenge in semester 1. The case competition called on Science & Technology students to actualise their expertise in developing new ideas to tackle social and environmental challenges. This greatly strengthened my interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. Together with two other students, we used this experience and passion to move a classroom project to a business idea. Our team, Team NanoScreen, has received continuous support from the university. The ability to provide a learning environment both in and outside the classroom and course is, in my experience, unique to Aarhus University and iNANO.
My master thesis experiments were performed at the Hybrid Materials Lab in iNANO and it was a remarkable experience. The laboratories are well equipped and the projects are interconnected, facilitating a supportive culture. I have specialised in inorganic chemistry and materials science, however iNANO has a range of distinctive fields you can specialise in. This interdisciplinarity enhances the quality of the research that is developed at the institute. Doing my master at iNANO has contributed significantly to both my professional and personal development.
I strongly recommend anyone interested in nanotechnology to study at iNANO. It is a new institute equipped with first-rate facilities and excellent professionals, offering a range of courses for students to specialise in their area of interest. Furthermore, Aarhus University is ranked amongst the top universities in the world, constantly providing opportunities for students to further engage in their studies and careers, e.g. conferences, specialised lectures and alumni days. It is a place to enrich your knowledge and career, meet new and inspiring people, and immerse yourself in the Danish culture. Nothing better than the month-long julefrokost and spending some hyggelig time with your friends!
Priyank Shyam, B.Tech. in Nanotechnology from SRM University, India. Master student at iNANO, Aarhus University.
After completing my Bachelor's degree in India, I wanted to pursue an advanced program in nanoscience and simultaneously gain international exposure while doing so. I wanted to pursue a program that would combine intensive classroom-based studies with practical, independent research activities. I found that the Master’s programme in Nanoscience at Aarhus University offered precisely this - here students could directly apply the theoretical concepts learned in the classroom to practical research that solved everyday problems! I also learned that the Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO) at Aarhus University was specifically designed to bring together researchers and students from diverse academic fields to work on exciting research problems. The interdisciplinary research conducted at iNANO has far-reaching implications for various global issues. I did not have to think twice about accepting the opportunity to study and carry out research in such an engaging, interdisciplinary environment!
The two years that I have spent during my Master's studies at Aarhus University have been very enriching and fulfilling!
Out of my many experiences, there are a few which exceptionally stand out: To begin with, the flexibility offered to students in designing their individual customized study program was surprising. In the classroom-based courses, I was astonished by the informal manner in which students and teachers referred to each other on a first-name basis. I saw that this lack of power hierarchy clearly encouraged an academic environment within which students could actively engage with the teacher and vastly improve their understanding of the topic. One of the courses that I took in March 2017 – Science-based Innovation and Entrepreneurship – even encouraged me to embark on an entrepreneurial venture along with a few course mates. Since summer 2017, our venture – NanoScreen – has participated in various Danish and international start-up competitions and also won a few awards in them.
Facing the exams was also a unique challenge. Being accustomed to written examinations throughout my academic life, the Danish system of oral examinations presented an academic ‘cultural shock’. I gradually came to appreciate the strengths of such an examination system, which allows examiners to go beyond the rote learning based paper and gain a better insight into the student's individual understanding of the subject matter. Last, but definitely not the least, the focal point of Danish student life – the “fredagsbars” (Friday bars) deserves special mention. These helped provide a relaxing, social environment to forget the stresses of the academic week and bond with fellow students.
I would definitely recommend pursuing a study program at Aarhus University. As an academic institution, Aarhus University effortlessly balances strong scholastic programs along with hands-on practical experiences. The courses are taught by competent professional experts and are constantly updated to keep up with the most recent advances and trends in their respective fields. The academic environment encourages students to go beyond the classroom and engage in active interdisciplinary collaborations with fellow students and researchers. Events, organised by the various departments, keep one’s social life buzzing and active. Beyond the university, even the city of Aarhus prides itself on being a student city and this is perceptibly felt in various spheres of day-to-day life. I think, that being a part of Aarhus University holistically develops a student’s life - enabling them to pursue fulfilling careers in their chosen fields and contribute to the development of society!
Ram Sarusie, MSc in Nanoscience, working as a material specialist at Færch Plast A/S
For me, Nanoscience at Aarhus University was a great fit, because the interdisciplinary structure of the programme suited me well - I love mathematics and science in general, and not only physics or chemistry. I found it fascinating when the boundaries between physics, chemistry and molecular biology were erased, and it was challenging with teaching across the classic disciplines.
During the programme I had the opportunity to study abroad and chose a one-year exchange at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. I can strongly recommend this! The experience abroad challenged me both academically, but just as much personally.
At the end of my programme, I wrote my Master's thesis at the Department of Chemistry in 'hydrogen storage in solid materials'; a sustainable solution for a society without fossil fuels. During this, I acquired in-depth knowledge within chemical syntheses and methods of analysis, as well as knowledge about how to behave in the laboratory, experimental set-ups and firefighting courses.
In my job, I work in our Training and Development department as a material specialist, and my daily tasks are managing exciting projects. The projects range from the development of new and innovative solutions, where I must think outside the box, and to optimisation projects, where current processes or solutions have to be improved.
The job involves being able to explain and understand the phenomena we encounter – requiring that you read up on new and old research, and that you can go back to the fundamental physical and chemical laws, that you learned during your education. I have learned that it is not possible to remember everything from all courses from my Bachelor’s and Master’s programme. However, one of the most important things I have acquired during my education is a solid foundation enabling me to find and understand the relevant information – one of the things that the Nanoscience programme has given me with its broad and interdisciplinary range of natural science.
Nevertheless, since the Nanoscience programme is purely theoretical, except from the laboratory work, I sometimes feel that I lack competencies within the engineering and practical part of my job, but I am sure that there will always be parts of any new job that are new to you. Luckily, I feel that my education at Nanoscience has given me the right prerequisites for learning new skills and competences. These skills also helped me when I won the Dean's Challenge in 2016, which is an innovative case competition for science students at Aarhus University.