Dr Cinzia Gianetti currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the CHERISH-DE project at Swansea University, providing research support to a range of multidisciplinary projects in the area of data mining and computer security. From September 2016 she will join the College of Engineering at Swansea University as a Senior Lecturer in the Zienkiewicz Centre for Computational Engineering (ZCCE). The main focus of her research is the development of autonomous, collaborative and intelligent production systems by using knowledge-intensive and advanced ICT technologies. In collaboration with other researchers at Swansea University, Cinzia has contributed to the development of a novel methodology that combines predictive analytics and organizational knowledge management to support quality improvement of manufacturing processes. She is actively researching in the area of Internet of Things (IoTs) and Big Data for engineering and medical applications. In the Soapbox Science event in Swansea she will give some insights on how Big Data and sensor technologies can improve our lives.
SS: Cinzia, how did you get to your current position?
CG: During my undergraduate studies in Applied Mathematics, I became interested in algorithm development and software programming and I decided to pursue a career in Software Engineering. After graduating I worked for ten years as a Software Engineer in senior roles for large organisations. Having moved to Swansea for family reasons I decided to take up the opportunity to study for an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) in Manufacturing Informatics at Swansea University and successfully completed my doctoral studies last year. Although I had never considered a career in academia before, during my EngD I realised that I like the challenges and opportunities of working as a researcher. After only one year of postdoctoral research, I am now very excited to start in a new academic position as a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Swansea University, starting from September.
SS: What, or who, inspired you to get a career in science?
CG: I have always loved science and especially Mathematics since I was a little girl. My dad, now retired, used to work as a telecommunications technician for the Italian Navy. I have always been fascinated by his technical capabilities and especially his broad knowledge about telecommunication systems and computers. Funnily enough my first job as a Software Engineer was actually in a leading telecommunication company. Of course the support and encouragement of my family (especially my husband) has been crucial for me to complete my doctoral studies and follow a career path in academia.
SS: What is the most fascinating aspect of your research/work?
CG: I work as part of a multidisciplinary team to solve complex engineering problems. My research focuses on the development of autonomous and intelligent systems to support smart production processes. I like developing new algorithms that use large volumes of data to predict system behaviour and aid the development of more efficient production systems. I especially enjoy using mathematics to model real word engineering systems and subsequently use these models to optimise system performance, for instance, improving use of resources, reducing industrial waste and environmental impact. I like spending time tackling scientific and technical challenges and hopefully provide suitable solutions that can create a wider impact for our society.
SS: What attracted you to Soapbox Science in the first place?
CG: I have been lucky to have had the opportunity and encouragement to pursue a career in science and engineering since an early age. Having a teenage daughter, I realise that, despite the fact that many girls are doing well in STEM subjects, they do not consider pursuing a career in science or engineering. I hope initiatives like Soapbox Science will help young girls to become more confident to follow a career path in science and engineering.
SS: Sum up in one word your expectations for the day
SS: If you could change one thing about the scientific culture right now, what would it be?
CG: Improve mentoring for early career researchers to help them to plan and develop career paths in research. Also improve job security with longer fixed term contracts and more competitive salaries.
SS: What would be your top recommendation to a female PhD student considering pursuing a career in academia?
CG; Working in academia requires commitment and working long hours. Regular travelling is also required. For a young female researcher, a career in academia may seem incompatible with raising young children. My suggestion to a young female with both family and career aspirations is to not give up one at the expense of the other. Consider working part time for a few years taking advantage of family friendly policies offered by Universities. A career break to raise children can also be an opportunity to start a new and exciting job.