Federico Spolaore

PhD
Hanau-Wolfgang, Germany
Automotive Catalysts

"Everyone is willing to share their knowledge with me, and the open atmosphere makes me feel at home."

Can you describe your role/position at Umicore?

I'm currently a PhD student. Thanks to the collaboration between my Italian university and Umicore, I started at Umicore as a Master student and I gladly agreed to continue with my PhD. Here I have access to the interdisciplinary knowledge necessary to carry out my researches at the business unit Automotive Catalysts​ in Hanau.

What do you like about your job?

It represents the meeting point between my studies and their real application. In few words, applied research. This PhD allows me to drive my creativity towards innovation. Moreover, the pool of inspiring people I'm working with are strongly supportive, contributing to my growing. Not a single day goes without me learning something new.

What do you like about working at Umicore?

I am really pleased by the open relation with the managers, and how much this can fuel new opportunities of collaboration, as well as new projects. Everyone is willing to share their knowledge with me, and the open atmosphere makes me feel at home.​

Why did you want to work at Umicore?

The type of research I’m working in is motivating and the scientific knowledge acquired during my studies was well developed during the first internship at Umicore, so I decided straight away to spend more years in this international environment. Moreover, the autonomy at work, the feeling of being able to master what I’m doing, and a big goal to be achieved is motivating.

What do you look forward to when you set off to work in the morning?

May I be honest? A coffee. I find that spending few minutes in the morning with different colleagues to plan and organize my day helps efficiency and allows me to learn always something new. Teamwork and commitment are vital to organize in an effective way the time schedule of synthesis, tests and analysis, especially when more people are involved.

What has been the highlight of your time at Umicore so far?

There are two things I'm proud of, from the moment I started my collaboration with Umicore: the fact that I could successfully complete my Master thesis, and defended it with full marks in front of the professors of my university. Even more important are the relationships I established day after day with my work colleagues, some of whom I also see outside the working hours.

Any advice for newcomers?

Be yourself, be curious, enterprising, and open. Here you will find people able to patiently explain how the various gears of this great company work, and slowly you will be able to connect the pieces of the puzzle to feel at home and work with passion.