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  • CV: Postdoctoral researcher and team leader

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    Personal information
     Name:<withheld>
     Age:<withheld>
     Country:<withheld>
     Location:<withheld>
    Contact information
     Email:<withheld>
     Phone:<withheld>
     Mobile:<withheld>
    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:15-11-2019
     Last Modified:15-11-2019 (08:16)
    Job information
     Current job:Postdoctoral researcher and team leader
     Employment Term:Temp/Contract
     Job location:Europe only
     Date available:immediately
     Industry:Satellite Manufacturers and Subcontractors, Satellite Operators, , , Launch Systems, Consulting/Engineering Services
     Keywordsproject management, research, complex data analysis and machine learning, international collaboration, communication, acquiring funding
    CV

    Profile
    I am a physicist with over 10 years of expertise in working in large international collaborations of particle physicists, engineers, technicians and IT professionals, e.g. at CERN (Geneva, Switzerland) where we discovered the Higgs particle. My skills include complex data analysis, algorithm development to extract specific features from the data, defining and managing projects, acquiring funding and reporting scientific results to peers or broad audiences. Apart from these skills, I am generally appreciated for my authenticity, hard work and positive attitude in any team. I am currently looking for career opportunities outside academia.

    Skills
    ✔ Project management: defining and planning projects, acquiring funding, monitoring progress, reporting and delivering (intermediate) results, team player and leader, organizing and chairing meetings.
    ✔ Complex data analysis: computing, statistics, algorithm development, multivariate analysis (machine learning), developing new analysis techniques and checking their feasibility.
    ✔ Participation in different commissions of trust: member of peer review committees including doctoral or master theses juries, analysis reviews, publication and conference boards, and the institutional board of the SoLid experiment.
    ✔ International collaboration: organizing and chairing meetings, defining goals and communicating in different cultural contexts or time zones.
    ✔ Communication: writing of 10 journal publications, around 10 invited plenary talks at international conferences, reporting (written and oral) to a wide variety of audiences, teaching, giving interviews on radio, television or the written press, outreach presentations to the society or a events, e.g. at the Belgian Nuclear Forum Next Year Event 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_xT8Tlfuwo and at the first VUB conference (~600 participants): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O9D8fXOe7A.


    Experience
    2014 – now Part-time professor and team leader at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB, Belgium): working at the SoLid experiment at SCK•CEN (Belgium), a scientific collaboration of about 50 people from 10 institutes from 3 countries.
    2010 – now Postdoctoral researcher / fellow at the VUB (Belgium): working at the CMS experiment at CERN (Switzerland), a scientific collaboration of about 3000 people from 200 institutes coming from over 40 countries.

    Specific projects
    2018 – now Performing precision measurements with top quarks
    ✔ Motivation / challenge
    During my PhD and later when supervising PhD students I have been working on precision measurements with top quarks. The precision of these measurements was limited by the systematic uncertainty instead of the statistical uncertainty. Hence collecting more data would not necessarily help to obtain a better precision.
    ✔ Innovation / strategy
    In 2017 - 2018, I developed a technique to reduce systematic uncertainties for precision measurements when a large amount of data is available.
    ✔ Outcome and responsibilities following the innovation
    - Published my technique in 2019 in a single author journal publication, which is unique in the field of experimental particle physics.
    - Coordinator of a group of about 20 researchers aiming to precisely determine the mass of the heaviest elementary particle (Dec 2018 – now). Based on the first internal results, we will soon reach a precision that was expected to be reached only by 2025.
    - In September 2019, the aforementioned coordinating role has been extended to many more precision measurements with top quarks (~about 40 researchers).
    ✔ Other responsibilities / achievements
    - Obtained a grant for a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship from FWO-Vlaanderen (2015 – 2018), ranked first among all applications in physics for a renewal of this fellowship.
    - Organizer of a topical workshop with about 25 participants for the researchers at the VUB involved in the CMS experiments.

    2014 – 2017 Studying neutrinos produced by a nuclear reactor at 10 meter from the reactor core
    ✔ Motivation / challenge
    In 2013, I decided to participate in a smaller experiment that would be built in Belgium. It is a unique opportunity to contribute to both the construction and the data analysis of an experiment on a relatively short time scale with a potentially groundbreaking impact in the field and using a novel
    detector design. Therefore, when I heard about the SoLid experiment I was enthusiastic to participate.
    ✔ Strategy
    - Won an internal competition at the VUB to become part-time professor with my proposed project to participate in the SoLid experiment.
    - Performed statistical analysis of the data collected by the prototype of the SoLid experiment (2014 – 2015).
    - Acquired funding as Principle Investigator for the VUB contribution of “Search for sterile neutrinos at the Belgian BR2 reactor”, a joint project with the Universiteit Antwerpen (UA) and SCK•CEN supported by FWO Vlaanderen (240 kEuro for VUB).
    - Acquired funding as Principle Investigator of “Towards the discovery or exclusion of neutrino oscillations at short baseline with the SoLid experiment”, a joint project with UA, University of Ghent and SCK•CEN supported by FWO Vlaanderen (695 kEuro).
    - Created a small team at the VUB consisting of 1 technician, 1 postdoctoral researcher and 1 Ph.D. student.
    - First coordinator of a group of about 10 researchers performing studies to identify and understand the various background contributions to the experiment (2016 – 2017).
    ✔ Outcome
    - Identified and quantified the main backgrounds of the experiment, including one unexpectedly large contribution.
    - Optimized the design of the current detector based on the background studies.
    - Author of 2 journal publications.
    - Supervisor of 2 Ph.D. students.
    ✔ Other responsibilities / achievements
    - Participated in the construction of the different phases of the experiment.
    - Member of the SoLid institutional board (one representative from each institute).
    - Member of 3 Ph.D. thesis juries in SoLid or other neutrino experiments.
    - Member of the publication and conference board since Nov. 2018, this board reviews all publications and conference proceedings before submission.
    - Organizer of two international SoLid Collaboration meetings in Brussels (about 30 participants each).

    2013 – 2018 Developing new algorithms for b jet identification using machine learning
    ✔ Motivation / challenge
    During my previous project (see below), I realized the necessity of accurate b jet identification in my project and for the CMS Collaboration as a whole. Since the algorithms had not been studied for a while, I decided to work on this topic myself with the aim to enhance the performance significantly.
    ✔ Innovation / strategy
    I optimized the existing algorithms to identify b jets based on multivariate analyses techniques/machine learning, including many more input variables and a more layers in the neural network.
    ✔ Outcome and responsibilities following the innovation
    - The developed algorithms are 10 tot 20% more efficient compared to previous versions and are used by all the physics analyses in the collaboration aiming to identify those particles (30%).
    - Coordinator of a group of about 30 researchers developing new software algorithms for the identification of certain particles with the CMS experiment (Jan. 2014 – Aug. 2014).
    - Coordinator of a group of about 60 researchers responsible for the identification of certain particles with the CMS experiment and member of the physics coordination management team of the CMS Collaboration (Sep. 2014 – Aug 2016). In this role, I successfully demonstrated my research and leadership skills when facing a detector inefficiency crisis impacting 50% of the physics analyses during the Summer of 2016.
    - Main author of a journal publication of around 100 pages to summarize all the new developments (published in 2018).
    - Various plenary presentations at international conferences.
    ✔ Other responsibilities / achievements
    - Obtained a grant for a 3-year postdoctoral fellowship from FWO-Vlaanderen (2012 – 2015), ranked first among all applications in physics.✔ Outcome
    - Identified and quantified the main backgrounds of the experiment, including one unexpectedly large contribution.
    - Optimized the design of the current detector based on the background studies.
    - Author of 2 journal publications.
    - Supervisor of 2 Ph.D. students.
    ✔ Other responsibilities / achievements
    - Participated in the construction of the different phases of the experiment.
    - Member of the SoLid institutional board (one representative from each institute).
    - Member of 3 Ph.D. thesis juries in SoLid or other neutrino experiments.
    - Member of the publication and conference board since Nov. 2018, this board reviews all publications and conference proceedings before submission.
    - Organizer of two international SoLid Collaboration meetings in Brussels (about 30 participants each).

    2010 – 2014 Searching for fourth-generation quarks with a novel technique
    ✔ Motivation / challenge
    The CMS experiment at the CERN LHC started collecting data in 2009. After completing my PhD on simulation, I wanted to search for new elementary particles in the data. I decided to look for a fourth generation of quarks with couplings to other particles as for the other quarks. Since this was not a new idea, my main motivation and the challenge were to develop an analysis strategy that resulted in an enhanced sensitivity.
    ✔ Innovation / strategy
    I invented a new technique to optimize searches for new quarks and successfully demonstrated its application on the data.
    ✔ Outcome and responsibilities following the innovation
    - Journal publication and presentations at several conferences.
    - Supervised a PhD student that extended the technique I developed to quarks with different couplings.
    - The technique I developed has been adopted by the collaboration as the standard procedure for other analyses of this type.
    ✔ Other responsibilities / achievements
    - Organizer of a poster session contest with about 40 participants during the yearly international CMS Collaboration meeting outside CERN, Brussels (Belgium).
    - Organizer of a topical workshops with about 25 participants for the researchers at the VUB involved in the CMS experiment.

    Education
    ✔ 2006 – 2010, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium): Ph.D. in Physics,
    grant obtained from IWT-Vlaanderen Thesis title: Calibration of the jet energy scale using top quark events at the LHC. Thesis defended on 28th of June 2010 (summa cum laude). Supervisors: Prof. Jorgen D'Hondt and Prof. Nick van Remortel.
    ✔ 2002 – 2006, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium): Bachelor & Master in Physics (cum laude).

    Computing
    • Linux, Windows
    • C++, Python, Bash
    • Github, svn
    • Grid computing
    • Multivariate analysis / machine learning
    • LateX
    • Open Office or equivalent (spreadsheets, presentations, text documents, ...)

    Languages
    • Dutch (native, 100%)
    • English (fluent, 90%)
    • French (reasonable, 75%)
    • German (limited, 40%)

    Other interests
    In my free time I get energy from reading, walking or relaxing in nature, jogging/running, acting classes, as well as social activities with friends or family, which are usually accompanied by loads of good food


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