Interview: Jérôme Garin, Director, Irig

Categorie(s) : Interviews, Life @ MINATEC, MINATEC, News, Research

Published : 7 June 2022

Our junior scientists are nothing if not passionate about their work

You have been at the CEA for 37 years and plan to retire in September. What is your main takeaway?

I am really pleased to see that our younger scientists are just as passionate about their work as we were about ours back in the 80s.
You can just see it, especially at events like PhD student orientation.
We did miss out on several of those occasions during the pandemic, but the memories of past ones are dear to me.

In terms of science, what has made the greatest impression on you?
Without a doubt, advances in instrumentation and data analysis. When I was young, you could write an entire dissertation on the sequencing of a single gene. Today, an entire human genome can be sequenced in eight hours. Without this kind of progress, we never would have been able to develop a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in under a year.
The development of large research infrastructures at the national level has also been a game changer in biology and health, by providing access to shared state-of-the-art equipment. Irig is involved in three of these infrastructures*. This is nice in terms of recognition for our labs, of course. But it is also a great opportunity.

Is there anything you regret?
Not so much a regret as an observation. We have moved away from annual funding for basic scientific research and toward project-based funding.
It hasn’t always been easy to adapt to this change, but we have. What people who work in research want is to be able to devote most of their time to doing experiments and supervising bright young minds.

*Frisbi, ChemBioFrance, and ProFI

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