Welcome to the last InnovaXN PhD students for round 1

Three round 1 InnovaXN students have started their projects at the ESRF

These last few months, we have welcomed three new PhD students to the InnovaXN MSCA Cofund programme at the ESRF. The three students, Ida, Ilya and Maureen, are the final three students out of eighteen recruited for the first round of projects.

They will each be working for three years on an innovative project in collaboration with industrial and academic partners. And this by discovering and using the unique research techniques available at the ESRF and ILL.

Recruitment of the first-round students was initially planned for September 2020. However, significant delays were caused by the pandemic, such that students have started throughout the academic year.  For the second round, applications are already closed, and the recruitment process has started. The second-round students will be starting their projects in September 2021.

PhD students from left to right: Ida, Ilya and Maureen

From left to right: Ida, Ilya and Maureen

InnovaXN is happy to welcome:


Ida Fazlic

Ida studied conservation and restoration at the Academy of Fine Arts and Faculty of Sciences at the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia, before joining InnovaXN. Her bachelor degree had a strong scientific focus, which intrigued and motivated her to learn more about the crucial and fundamental role of science and technology in the conservation of painted objects. She then continued with a master’s degree in conservation science at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. As part of her studies, she specialised in heritage science through a traineeship in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. Ida was motivated to enter the InnovaXN programme to study the complex degradation of painted works of art.

Through her research, she wishes to contribute to the scientific and wide international community of conservators who encounter and treat the visual and structural consequences of different factors each day. Ida was keen to enter the programme because of the opportunity to gain a valuable insight into the working practices of the international community of colleagues and experts in the field. But also to broaden the theoretical knowledge and skills she has already gained during her previous training and studies.

“I first heard and studied about the ESRF’s powerful techniques applied to cultural heritage analyses three years ago. Ever since, I became fascinated by the ESRF’s work and have been following it actively through their scientific publications. My first impression of the ESRF was similar back then to what it is now since I arrived in Grenoble: immense gratefulness to live in an era where world’s most advanced materials investigation techniques exist and serve human kind for some of the biggest scientific discoveries in history.

I am even happier now that I am a part of such a motivating and stimulating environment. I have the privilege and opportunity to use these techniques through my work, as well as studying with world-renowned experts. Also, I am grateful for every day spent here, and I will make sure that each of them counts!” Ida Fazlic


Ilya Yakovlev

Ilya did a medical physics course for his bachelor degree, followed by a master’s degree in medical biotechnology. He followed these two courses in Saint-Petersburg at the Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University. For both bachelor and master’s degrees, he mostly studied the complexation and physicochemical properties of triple nanocomplexes (drugs against leukemia – Se nanoparticles – polymers). His motivations to enter the InnovaXN programme came from the opportunity to work on and study state-of-art equipment and grow to be a world-class scientist at the ESRF.

For Ilya, becoming part of the programme and the international community created around it makes the work really interesting. He saw the InnovaXN programme as a huge opportunity to develop his experience in research projects, especially ones that work with nano-sized samples.

” For me, being at the ESRF is something out of a dream. I have received much help from InnovaXN and ESRF staff, who guided me a lot to manage through current restrictions. I also received a lot of help from my supervisors and the other students who work here on their own projects, it made me feel cosy. And people who work here gave me a warm feeling that the work we do, can make our planet a better place for everyone.

– Grenoble is a wonderful city with amazing views, that makes my heart beat faster. Also has a kind and wise scientific community like I haven’t seen anywhere else before. With the best environment for personal growth worldwide.” Ilya Yakovlev


Maureen Fitzpatrick

Maureen studied engineering physics for her bachelor’s degree at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, before entering the InnovaXN programme. She pursued her studies with a Master’s of Science degree at the school of physics in NUI Galway, Ireland. Her thesis focused on the investigation of a novel ultrafast laser scribing technique on thin flexible dielectrics. After her studies, she worked in industry including a year in an XRD research lab. Maureen then decided to return to academia to undertake a PhD degree with InnovaXN. She decided to enter the programme because of her great interest in the project itself.

The project combines two of her biggest technical passions: the investigation of laser-matter interactions and the use of X-ray imaging and X-ray diffraction to understand laser-based manufacturing processes. The opportunity to work at facilities such as the ESRF and ILL was extremely appealing to Maureen.

“The ESRF/ILL is a really cool place surrounded by the beautiful scenery in Grenoble. I’m looking forward to exploring the city more and getting to know my group better now that confinement restrictions are slowly easing up.” Maureen Fitzpatrick


The programme is co-directed by Dr Harald Reichert (Director of Research, ESRF) and Prof Mark Johnson (Science Director, ILL).

For more information, contact the Business and Industry team:

Email: innovaxn-industry@innovaxn.eu