Researchers here and elsewhere: South Africa
Adriaan Zeeman is part of the 50% of South Africans under the age of 25. Right after finishing his studies in electronic engineering at Stellenbosch University, he spent four months at Inria's Lille Nord Europe research centre. He has very "fun" memories of his time with Inria!
What have been the major stages of your life?
I was born and raised in a small town in southwest South Africa. From 2008 to 2013, I studied at Stellenbosch University. First I got my Bachelor's Degree in electronic engineering, followed by a Master's Degree in the same field. My case study was on how to make minibus taxis safer. Minibus taxis handle 60% of public transportation in South Africa and are notoriously dangerous. The system that I developed detects risky driving based on different data collected on-board the vehicles. Since the project was relatively successful, I hope that one day in the future, minibus taxis in South Africa, and more widely in Sub-Saharan Africa will be equipped with my system. While working on my Master's Degree, I became close with my supervisor, Thinus Booysen, who encouraged me to get in contact with Inria. In September 2013, hardly a week after I graduated, I set foot in France for the first time!
What is your job at Inria?
I joined the Fun project team at Inria's Lille - Nord Europe research centre. This team researches solutions that will make tomorrow’s ubiquitous networks more usable in terms of programming, adaptation, or integration with existing information systems. I work on robot prototypes that will help simulate wireless sensor networks.
What would you say to young foreign researchers who hope to move to France?
I would say, 'What are you waiting for?' For my part, I spent four full pleasant months at Inria. I would gladly have stayed longer. Of course, speaking a little French makes it easier, even if my project team works mostly in English.
Your contract ends on 31 January 2014, what are your plans after that?
I've just signed a contract to work for an electronic engineering firm based in Cape Town. I start there in February. It's the beginning of a new professional adventure!