BNF - Nationales Qualifizierungsprogramm


Taking off

(c) BNF, Universität Bern

Taking off. That would be the name I will choose for a movie about BNF. In fact, somehow the BNF program resembles me to an airport due to its vast number of services with the aim of making our careers to take off.

I would describe my BNF experience as unexpected, or in other words I could say that my initial expectations on the program were surpassed. At first, becoming part of BNF allowed me to get inserted in the Swiss research environment. I learnt more about myself and became more aware of my competencies. In addition, I improved the way on how I present myself to others either via a CV, cover letter or at a job interview thanks to the courses offered. Besides, it allowed me to meet a lot of great people and to expand my network. However, what I was not expecting was to find a job in a relative short period of time and to participate and win a Science Slam.

Indeed, BNF is a unique program thanks to its ability to work as hinge between the academia and the industry, and to smoothly insert professionals into the job market. In my case, the first person from whom I heard about BNF was my job counsellor. At that moment, I had just arrived in Switzerland looking to continue my medical and research career, however I was still in the need to improve my level of French to start working as a doctor. Thus, I was looking for research fellowships to insert myself in the Swiss research network, and thanks to BNF I was able to find the correct position.

Working in the Sensory-Motor Laboratory at the Fondation Asile des Aveugles as a BNF participant was a great experience and thanks to the adaptability of BNF to the participant´s needs I was able to adjust my schedule to fit my intensive French classes on the side. Furthermore, after six months and thanks to this opportunity, I was hired as post-doctoral researcher at the same laboratory.

The most memorable moment with BNF was indeed the Science Slam, which I consider as the cherry on the cake of my BNF experience. During my career I have done several presentations in front of academic audiences but presenting the essence of my project to a lay audience in a few minutes has been a unique and challenging experience. Besides, this opportunity has made me realize how important is to communicate science to the regular public, especially during these times in which misinformation abounds. Interestingly, with this experience I not only learnt new ways to communicate science in an amusing and creative way but also how to inspire and get people involved into science.

Just to finalize, BNF is a highly recommended program, in fact I have already recommended it to some relatives and colleagues since I am confident that this program will help their careers to take off.

Stefano Giannoni Luza
Former BNF Participant
Post-doctoral Researcher
Sensory-Motor Lab (SeMoLa)
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Lausanne
Jules Gonin Eye Hospital, Fondation Asile des Aveugles