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Scientific visitors

IFPEN regularly hosts renowned external researchers, for periods ranging from a few months to a year. Their research programs fit squarely with the priority themes of IFPEN’s research policy and are related to fields in which it wants to advance its expertise.

This strategy allows IFPEN researchers to benefit from high-level scientific expertise, helping to further enhance its capacity to innovate.

IFPEN currently welcomes around four scientific visitors every year within its research divisions. Since 2002, over twenty such visitors have been hosted as part of this policy.

Hosting world-class scientists meets a dual objective:

  • it increases  IFPEN’s capacity to innovate by bringing in fresh new research ideas,
  • it strengthens links with top academic laboratories around the world, often responsible for new concepts, and boosts the appeal of IFPEN within the scientific community.


Enhancing skills and challenging ideas

Through their research work, scientific visitors serve to enhance and support the implementation of scientific excellence within their host division. They also contribute to the development of publications and thesis supervision, bringing an objective viewpoint.
In addition to this tangible contribution, shared research promotes exchange and is mutually beneficial, helping IFPEN to advance its research in its fields of interest. By bringing different points of view and alternative approaches to a scientific problem, the presence of a scientific visitor encourages IFPEN researchers to think differently, opening up their minds and stimulating their creativity.
Hosting scientific visitors thus fits squarely with the open innovation concept, which encourages collaborative work and an outward-looking approach, rendering research more efficient and hence accelerating innovation. Today, this approach is increasingly being adopted by the world of research.


Developing IFPEN’s network and reputation

Scientific visitors  connect IFPEN to the outside world, enabling it to develop a network with the top academic players in each field (laboratories, researchers) and thus to be more effectively integrated within the French research and innovation system and the international scientific community.
Forging links with the organizations of origin of scientific visitors also promotes the construction of high-quality and lasting academic partnerships. IFPEN thus draws on external skills to identify and overcome scientific hurdles, or to conceive breakthrough innovations.


Scientific visitors welcomed at IFPEN

Professor Mikhail Varfolomeev, currently associate Professor in the Department of Physical Chemistry at Kazan Federal University (Russia), was hosted from 3 July to 27 July 2017 by IFPEN’s Applied Chemistry and Physical Chemistry Research Division.
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Ardalan Vahidi, an associate professor from the University of Clemson (USA), has been hosted on May 2017 by Antonio Sciarretta within the Mechatronics, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Division at Rueil as a scientific visitor. He spent a three-month period working with the Control, Signal and System teams to quantify the contribution of driverless systems to vehicle energy efficiency.

Professor Sveva Corrado, from the University of Roma Tre (Italy), joined the Geosciences Division on 13 October 2016, where she will be hosted for a period of four months. She will work with teams from the Division’s Georesources and Geofluids and Rocks Departments on questions related to the thermicity of sedimentary basins and the use of paleo-thermometers, using maturity indicators, in organic matter.
The collaboration with her ALBA laboratory began in 2016 as part of an ongoing thesis (with the university of Roma Tre) studying the folded mountain chain of the Apennines and Sicily, and, in particular, the Scillato basin area (Sicily).

Professor Boutheïna Kerkeni from the Faculty of Sciences at Tunis University spent, from early January 2016, a one-year period as scientific visitor within the Catalysis and Separation Division in January 2016, working closely with the Powertrain and Vehicle Division, and in collaboration with Dorothée Berthomieu from the Institut Charles Gerhardt in Montpellier. Her research focused on understanding the catalytic systems and reactions involved in the reduction of nitrogen oxides by SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) using ammonia.

Professor Per-Olof Gutman from Technion (Israel Institute of Technology) was hosted by the Mechatronics, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Division from 5 September 2016. He spent six months working with IFPEN research teams within the Control, Signal and System Department on questions related to vehicle traffic regulation, and the control of systems used for ocean renewable energies.

Edward Brightman, senior research scientist at the National Physical Laboratory in London, was hosted by the Applied Chemistry and Physical Chemistry Division as a scientific visitor from 6 July 2015 to 8 July 2016, based in the Electrochemistry and Materials Department. His research focused on the electrochemical conversion of CO2. Edward Brightman also shared his expertise in the field of fuel cells with our teams.

Adrian Cérépi, Director of Research at Ensegid within the Institut polytechnique de Bordeaux, was hosted by IFPEN’s Geosciences Division from 3 July 2014 for a period of 20 months. His work concerned the impacts of CO2 on "carbonaceous reservoirsʺ in the context of enhanced oil recovery (EOR) by CO2 injection.

Béatrice Rivière, professor and head of the Computational and Applied Mathematics Department at Rice University (Houston, Texas), was hosted by the Mechatronics, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Division from 1 June to 27 July 2016. Her work focused primarily on the comparison of DG numerical methods in porous media - as applied by her research group - with other methods developed by IFPEN (hybrid grids) on basin and reservoir simulation cases in the field of geosciences. Prof. Béatrice Rivière’s visit reflects the mutual benefits of scientific collaboration for the research teams of both institutions.

José Maria Garcia Oliver, professor at Valence University's Centro Motores Termicos (CMT) in Spain, was hosted in the Powertrain and Vehicle Division from 15 June to 6 September 2015 to contribute to the experimental analysis of the structure of diesel combustion. During his stay, he helped organize the "Diesel Combustion" session of the 4th workshop for the Engine Combustion Network (ECN).

Gergina Pencheva, research assistant in the CSM at the University of Texas, was hosted by the IFPEN's Mechatronics, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Division as a scientific visitor from May to June 2014 and from April to May 2015. Her work at IFPEN focused on numerical modeling in the field of geosciences and, in particular, multi-scale methods and a posteriori error estimators.

Andrew Conn, a researcher at IBM’s T.J.Watson research center (NY, United States) in the "Numerical Analysis" group he runs, spent June 30 to July 11, 2014 at IFPEN, as a visiting scientist in the Applied Mathematics Department of the Mechatronics, Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Division.
Internationally recognized in the field of digital optimization and its application, Dr. Conn used the opportunity for discussions with IFPEN research engineers on scientific problems related to upstream oil activities, particularly reservoir characterization and well placement.
Collaborative work on a new method of mixed non-linear optimization began during his visit.

Camilla Gambini Pereira, Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at The Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil), was hosted at IFPEN from March 2013 to April 2014, as a scientific visitor within the Applied Chemistry and Physical Chemistry Division's Thermodynamics and Molecular Modeling Department. Her work focused on modeling the phase equilibria of mixtures containing oxygen compounds, hydrocarbons and gas compounds. Thanks to the combination of the approaches of IFPEN researchers and Camilla Gambini Pereira, new parameter-setting modes for the GC-PPC-SAFT equation have been proposed and published. This research has helped to more closely align the equations of state required to develop biomass conversion processes with physics and make them more predictive.


> Andreas EHINGER

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