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Chercheurs à l’école: Researchers Meet the Next Generation!

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Published on Friday, 05 February 2021

Being a researcher is an exciting field but often misunderstood by the public. That is why the Fonds National de Recherche of Luxembourg (FNR) launched the “Chercheurs à l’école” programme in 2011. The purpose is to present the job of a researcher, and inspire the next young generation of researchers!

The 2021 edition of the programme is planned to take place from 15 to 19 March, in a digital format and if possible also physically in the classrooms. During these three days, researchers from Luxembourg’s public and private institutions and companies have the opportunity to meet students from all over the country. The researchers present their academic journey, motivation, personal life and the career path that led them to research. These sessions allow students to discover and ask questions about being a scientist, about researchers’ professional journeys, and about research in Luxembourg.

The Chercheurs à l’école programme has been a huge success. Each year more and more high schools are welcoming researchers, showing a growing interest with each new edition!

Prof. Raphaël Frank is one of the researchers from SnT who have participated in this programme and shared his experience, and today we hear from him about why he gets out every year to meet the kids!

Profile photo of Raphael Frank

Raphaël Frank, Assistant Professor & Senior Research Scientist in Computer Science

Why did you decide to participate to Chercheurs à l’école?
“In my opinion, it is very important to promote research and to explain to the younger generation what research is about, in order to convince some of them to pursue this career.”

How many times did you participate?
“I participated almost in all editions from the beginning!”

Nowadays, the job of a researcher is not well understood by the public. So, how do you think this program allows people to discover more about research? Why do you think it is important to build this understanding?
“Usually when you ask teenagers what research is, they don’t have concrete ideas about it. A lot of them think that you need to be a genius and to do specific studies to become a researcher, whereas it is possible to study many different fields (law, economics). This is why it is very important to build this understanding, in order to make sure that students have the right ideas about research.”

What was the main topic of your presentation?
“I decided to do a practical presentation by showing our experimental vehicle. I demonstrated how the car works. Then I saw the “wow” effect in their eyes and they started to realise that research can be really fun!”

Would you recommend it to other researchers?
“Yes, I think it’s a good exercise for researchers to explain their research to a non-expert audience. Chercheurs a l’école can help them to share their passion, to convey and to get feedback from students. And it is also very rewarding to see interest from the young generation!”