Increasing health awareness of citizens in Europe has led to an expanding demand for sensorial information. However, what is missing are novel and cost-effective methods to sense the desired analytes with high sensitivity, high reliability and a sufficiently small device. Additionally, today there is a severe shortage in the European spectroscopy industry of graduates and PhDs with expertise along the complete technology supply chain for the development of optical spectrometer systems.
xCLASS will set up a training through research programme to address these shortages. The combination of high level advanced education, provided by a consortium of a leading academia centre and a leading industrial partner, within the scope of optical spectrometer systems, combined with the study and development of a disruptive compact high- performance optical spectrometer system based on the SpectroBlocks architecture is a unique feature of the training programme of xCLASS. The emphasis on the complete technology supply chain is very valuable for the ESRs to become leading experts in photonics in academy and industry and contribute to Europe’s key societal challenges such as health, food safety and a sustainable environment.
The training network xCLASS will train young photonics scientists and engineers at the most advanced (i.e. PhD) level along the entire technology food chain comprising modelling, measurement and rapid-prototyping of different types of 3D micro-optical components in a variety of materials, controlling and reading-out the sensor, before one can even consider assembling the specialty components into practical proof-of-concept demonstrators and start processing the obtained data. The combination of high level advanced education within the scope of optical spectrometer systems is a unique feature of the trainings of xCLASS which no single group nor company can provide alone. The emphasis on the complete technology supply chain is very valuable for the early stage researchers to become leading experts in photonics in academy and industry.
To achieve the latter, Anteryon and the VUB will recruit 4 young researchers. However through the whole training programme all researchers will receive continuously a joint supervision and get the opportunity to experience doing research in industry. The training scheme not only contain common courses offered to all fellows but also include tailor-made programmes for each fellow to help them achieve their targeted goals. This will include specific theoretical courses, technical training on software and equipment, complementary skills such as languages, writing scientific papers, communication in conference, etc.
Each fellow and his/her supervisors will identify and agree on areas of development required in order to establish a personal career development plan to enable the fellow to fulfil his/her potential. Individual career plans will be continuously updated to meet the fellows’ needs and will be assessed regulary by both the supervisors at the host institution and the supervisory board of xCLASS during committee meetings. Based on the standard ECTS used across the European Union for attribution of diplomas, the expected workload for each researcher to complete the xCLASS training programme has been converted in ECTS. One academic year, equivalent to around 1800 hours of training, corresponds to 60 ECTS credits.
Each employed researcher will spend 75% of his/her time (135 ECTS) on training through original research, directly related to the PhD research programme, at the host institution and via secondments at the partner institution. The remaining time (25%), equivalent to 45 ECTS, will be dedicated to training by education through targeted training courses offered to all fellows in the framework of the xCLASS network and tailor-made programmes, to cater for individual needs that will be conducted at the host institution.