43 : UTC’s PhDs: our key players for innovation

Dans un monde où l’innovation – en particulier technologique – occupe une place croissante, les compétences des docteurs spécialistes des sciences de l’ingénieur et notamment des docteurs ingénieurs apparaissent de plus en plus stratégiques. L’UTC entend préparer ses étudiants à cette nouvelle donne.

43 : UTC’s PhDs: our key players for innovation

The project he is managing ... is strictly FYEO = confidential

Michel Boussemart’s thesis in applied mathematics relates to aeronautics. For the past 10 years he has been working for the DCNS (naval defense systems).

Michel first gained an engineering degree in computer sciences and their applications and a DEA (advanced diploma, equivalent to today’s Master’s 2 degree) in system control at UTC and then did his PhD under the CIFRE contract formula at Snecma (one of the companies in the Safran Group) under the academic supervision of Prof Nikolaos Limnios, UITYC-LMAC Lab.

Michel defended his thesis in 2001, the subject being development of theory and stochastic computations and methodology, plus aids to decision, in the area of aircraft jet engine regulation processors.  “Very often, when we prepare for an engineering diploma, the aim is to rapidly integrate the entrepreneurial world. At that stage we are not necessarily, aware of what PhDs do and we tend to imagine them totally isolated from the world in their laboratory. Personally, I was fortunate inasmuch as Nikolaos Limnios dealt with concrete industrial applied maths projects in his lectures at UTC. It was this applied facet to research activities that I found interesting. That encourages me to register for a PhD under the CIFRE arrangement and this way I learned to use rigorous mathematical methods to identify and develop novel responses for industrial problems”.


A profile that makes all the difference

This methodological skill was not put to use immediately. When his thesis was accepted and the PhD awarded there was a crisis situation in aeronautics in the aftermath of the Sept.11, 2001 attacks in New York. This also led Michel Boussemart to widen the scope of his activities and redesign his career path. For several years, he was recruited to various engineering posts in a number of different companies.

In 2007, he moved to the DCNS Group. “I was recruited as an SLI architect (integrated logistics support), and my role was to design the full maintenance programme for a submarine and I think I was hired more as an engineer than as a PhD. Over time, I was able to add the extra research dimension to my work as I in, fact wanted to do. Since 2013, I have been in charge of a confidential project with a high software content, and for which my PhD background was clearly an advantage for me compared with the other candidates for the position. As the recruiters saw things, there was an advantage here in terms of architecture optimization and system maintenance programmes. But I also make use of my research scientist background to speak at international conferences on industrial issues such as operational safety factors and assessment. It also helps increase the notoriety of the DCNS Division and allows us to keep a watch on development of new knowledge that can trigger or enhance innovation”.