Interview with Manuel Alonso, FEMS Master Thesis 2nd Prize Laureate

Manuel Alonso won the 2nd prize of the FEMS Master Thesis Award in 2018, Budapest. Firstly, Manuel participated in the Spanish competition, as winner, he received from SOCIEMAT a budget for the travel expenses to the finals in Budapest.

How was the experience of participating in Junior EUROMAT in Budapest  representing Spain and SOCIEMAT?

The fact that I represented my country and its main materials society was a fantastic experience I will never forget. I think that these kind of contests are very useful for a young PhD student like me as they required me to present my scientific work under pressure, something I will have to face many times in the future, for instance in my thesis defence.  

How did you feel when your presentation was chosen for receiving the FEMS European Master Thesis 2nd Prize Award?

I was pleased with my presentation, but when I received the second award I felt overjoyed because it would make many people who trusted me very proud, especially Sociemat, who selected me as their representative, and my Master Thesis (and current PhD) directors, who I am very grateful for all their help.  

Do you have any advice for those that are actually preparing their presentations for competing this year for SOCIEMAT Best Master Thesis Award during the World Materials Day that will be celebrated by SOCIEMAT on November 7 2018 at UPM, Madrid?

I would advise them to review their Master thesis and prepare a presentation in which the main objectives, results and applications were shown in a clear and attractive way. I would resist the temptation of trying to fit in as much information as possible, as this will make the presentation difficult to follow, and there is always time during the questions to fill in any small gaps.

In terms of learning, was it a good experience to participate in JR EUROMAT?

Yes. JR EUROMAT allowed me to meet materials scientists from all over Europe working in a variety of fields. I was surprised at the vast variety of synthesis methods, analysis tools and applications to society which were shown in the presentations. Finally, the fact that I could meet people from different parts of Europe and visit parts of Budapest with some of them was a fulfilling experience for me.