We are excited to continue our interview series, introducing you to the remarkable researchers of the FRONTIErS Doctoral Network. In this ongoing exploration, we aim to uncover the unique insights, experiences, and motivations that drive these dedicated individuals in their pursuit of groundbreaking research. Today, we have the pleasure of sharing our conversation with Sara, a standout member of the FRONTIErS research team. Join us as we embark on a journey to discover the remarkable path that has led Sara to her current position and the fascinating work she’s contributing to the project.

Can you provide a brief introduction of yourself and your project within the FRONTIErS DN?

My name is Sara Banaei Moghadam. I majored in civil engineering with a minor in geotechnical engineering. My project in FRONTIErS is about investigating the pile aging for the foundations of offshore wind turbines.

What motivated you to apply to FRONTIErS DN?

In the FRONTIErS, I have the opportunity to be part of a large community of researchers working on cutting-edge and innovative projects which is great. Also, I will learn skills required for industry, business development, and entrepreneurship as well as soft skills helping me to become a professional researcher.

What drives your passion for the work you have done so far and the work you will do within FRONTIErS?

I have always been fascinated by the potential of civil engineering to solve real-world problems and improve human lives. During my master study, I worked on the application of AI to investigate the pile aging and I am passionate about continuing my research in this field and expanding my knowledge and skills. The FRONTIErS project offers a unique opportunity to do so, as it tackles one of the most challenging and important issues of our time: the transition to renewable energy sources.

How do you believe collaboration enhances the effectiveness of FRONTIErS DN?

I believe that collaboration is essential for the success of any research project, especially one that is as ambitious and complex as FRONTIErS. By collaborating with other researchers, I can learn from their expertise, perspectives, and experiences, as well as share my own insights and ideas.

Can you share any personal stories or experiences that have shaped your decision to apply?

My decision to apply for the FRONTIErS project was influenced by several factors. First, I was impressed by the vision and objectives of the project, which aims to address one of the most urgent global challenges: the transition to renewable energy sources. Secondly, I was attracted by the opportunity to work with leading researchers from academia and industry, who have complementary expertise and experience in offshore wind technology development. Thirdly, I was excited by the prospect of living and working in different countries across Europe, which would allow me to experience different cultures and environments.

What are your future goals and aspirations as a member of the FRONTIErS DN?

As a researcher and a member of the FRONTIErS DN my future goal is to become an influential member of the geotechnical engineering community. If my destiny is to become a university professor or something like that, I would like to continue working with students and start innovative projects. If I choose to work in the industry, I would like to apply my knowledge and skills to solve practical problems related to soil mechanics and foundation engineering.

How do you envision your role evolving and contributing to the FRONTIErS DN success?

I envision my role as a doctoral candidate in the FRONTIErS DN as being both challenging and rewarding. I would like to contribute to the network by conducting high-quality research that can provide new insights and solutions for the design and optimization of offshore wind turbine foundations. I think in this journey, I can use my previous experience of working as a researcher and geotechnical engineer and contribute towards tackling challenges.

How do you anticipate your MSCA fellowship will impact your broader career aspirations?

Working as a Marie Curie fellow is one of the best opportunities I had in my academic life, and I am sure that this chance allow me to become more successful in my future career. Moreover, I am always eager to learn new skills, improve my performance, and seek feedback. I believe that with hard work, dedication, and passion, I can achieve success in my career.

What message or key takeaway would you like to convey to the public about FRONTIErS?

My message is that offshore wind energy is one of the fastest-growing and most promising renewable energy sources in the world. The FRONTIErS DN is not only a network that trains the next generation of geotechnical engineers; it is also a network that contributes to the development of renewable energy sources that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs and economic growth. Here, we work for a better and brighter future.

Can you provide insights or advice for individuals interested in pursuing similar programs and fellowships?

My advice for them is that they participate in more innovative research projects and learn how to think as a researcher.

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