OPTICA Ambassador Tour

June 23, 2023

Back in the beginning of the year, Falko Schmidt has  been nominated as an OPTICA Ambassador for 2023. Now, as part of his new role he is visiting student chapters from the 22.06.-01.07.2023 in the East of Europe, starting with Belgrade, Serbia, followed by Sofia, Bulgaria.
The goal is to engage with young researchers and student and talk about science, share career advice and give personal insights into topics such as  academia vs. industry as well as how to create a startup company based on his own company Lucero Bio.

The first student chapter visit kicked off in Belgrade, Serbia at the University of Belgrade discussing how to transition from high-tech research to impactful industry applications, especially how creating a startup can accompany a PhD as well.
Students were incredibly engaged and asked lots of questions to learn more about what it means to take responsibility in a team, how to switch from the mindset of a researcher to an entrepreneur, as well as the importance of acquiring new skills in the process.
OPTICA Ambassador Falko Schmidt with the student chapter at University of Belgrade.
The next stop was in Sofia, Bulgaria meeting with the highly active student chapter at Sofia University. Here, we discussed academia vs. industry a topic that is of high relevance for students at each level to understand the differences and similarities of both sectors. A lab tour showed us the incredible laser technology that is being developed using more stable, and affordable home-made optomechanical components  for their lasers. Their cutting-edge work is incredibly impressive, as it transcends seamlessly between academic research, technology development and business through sales of scientific instruments. A perfect match for the talk.
Meeting with student chapter at University of Sofia on academia vs. industry sectors.
 The tour was only the start to the student-led conference OPTICS11 in Yerevan, Armenia, where more Ambassadors met up to discuss with students the prospects of early career researchers.

It was a fantastic event full of get-to-togethers to discuss science, career perspectives and the role of communities. From this event alone it became once more clear that personal events like this are an important part of every early career researchers. 
The conference was accompanied by several social events, excursions and walking tours which set the right atmosphere.


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