Friday, August 3, 2018

Smarti Trainings

Hello folks

So here I am again with my SMARTI experience to share. Being part of the European training network and a Marie Curie fellow we have to attend different trainings at different partner universities and organizations. This is not just a great learning experience but also a great chance for networking.
Our first training was held at the University of Nottingham, which was an introductory week, and we were introduced to the rest of the fellows, supervisors and the project partners. Unfortunately, I could not attend the first two days of the training week as my visa arrived late. So, folks if you need a visa, apply at least 3 months prior despite where you are traveling to. Well, the remaining three days of the training included the lectures on the topics of presentation skills, planning your research and skills related to becoming an engaging researcher. We also had a robin hood tour of the city which was amazing until it started to rain.  
Here are some of the pictures from the first training week:

The second training week was also in Nottingham and this time the topic was communication Skill and the digital marketing techniques. The lectures included were about the digital tools needed for research, writing a research paper, presentation skills and how to effectively communicate your research to a wider audience. Also the importance of using social media platforms to disseminate your work. For this, we were advised to create our own blogs and use social media for our professional work as well. 
Another good aspect of these training is that we get to share our experiences and work with other fellows and bond as a group rather than individuals and I must say within these two trainings we have become a strong group, offering each other mutual support and respect.
Here are some of the pictures from our second training week:
Our next training week/summer school is scheduled at the University of Palermo, Italy in September and I am super excited for that, i mean just look at the beaches :D can you blame me :D
But hopefully, it would be as informative and helpful as the other two. So that is it for today I will get back with some other topic and experience to share until than Ciao 😊.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

About SMARTI ETN and ESR15

Hello everyone

Before I dig into the details of my project and the whole purpose of creating this blog, I am sure you must be curious about the person behind this blog. So, my name is Natasha Baloch I am from Pakistan and I have done my bachelors and masters from Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. During my masters, I was awarded Erasmus mundus scholarship at Politecnico di Milano where I carried out my research and did my thesis, which I feel was the changing point of my career ( maybe I could write a separate post for it 😏 ). My research fields include wireless sensor networks, vehicular communication and intelligent transport systems. Currently, I am part of SMARTI ETN as an Early stage Researcher and working on my PhD at IFSTTAR in pavement instrumentation and monitoring.
So why is my work important, I will not be exaggerating if I say that bad pavements conditions, road closures and traffic jam all of that infuriates us, we all face these day-to-day inconveniences which affects our daily life. Let us just admit that we have been the victim of hitting that snooze button on our alarms only to realize that we are not just late but also stuck in traffic.
Yeah imagine that, not to forget that daily debate we have with ourselves that if I had woken up 10 minutes earlier I would have made it on time. In fact, I too, am one of those people who hits the snooze button and regrets it later so this struggle is quite real.
So getting back to the point, these bad pavements and having traditional inspection and maintenance methods not only create traffic congestion and have a social influence on our lives but also have an environmental impact. Research has shown that the air pollution has increased up to 20 percent due to traffic congestion. This all is preventable by having a smart and remote monitoring system for road pavements.  
At the French institution of science and technology for transport, development and networks (IFSTTAR), we are working together on this application of having a more smart infrastructure for the pavements. This project is divided into two main parts; 
1) instrumentation 2) wireless data acquisition system.
 The idea is to instrument different kinds of sensors and transducers in the pavements that could measure the factors effecting the pavements accurately. In addition, having that data collected remotely to be treated so it is readily available and understandable to the road managers and owners. The holistic idea is that this system would help measure the fatigue and predict the life span of the roads and pavements. Most importantly doing this by having less traffic congestion and minimal environmental effect. 
This is the short summary of my work and i tried my best to make it as comprehendable and less technical as possible if you need any further information about the project you can always contact me. 
So folks thank you for taking out your precious time and making it to the end of this post. This is it for today but i will keep you posted about the adventures of a MSCA fellow after all this is the whole purpose of creating this blog, we are in this journey together. 😃😃

au revoir
A très bientôt (see you soon) 😄