Recently, the IUAM executive president Prof. Songjun Li received an interview request from the Marie Curie Alumni Association. Below is the detail for the interview.
Prof. Songjun Li is a professor in Jiangsu University and currently president of the Chinese Advanced Materials Society. He was also one of the major creators of the International Congress on Advanced Materials (AM2011). As a post-doctoral associate, he joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (USA) in 2008, followed by his Marie Curie Fellowship in Cranfield University (UK), where he has worked with the world-renowned scientists Prof. Anthony P.F. Turner and Prof. Sergey A Piletsky during 2009-2011. He joined Jiangsu University as the distinguished professor in 2012. Here, he is leading the research group of 'Polymers and Functional Materials' in the School of Materials Science and Engineering. He was further awarded the "Jiangsu Province-endowed distinguished professor" by Jiangsu Province in 2012 due to his outstanding contribution to polymer research. He currently holds editorship of "Journal of the Chinese Advanced Materials Society"(Taylor & Francis), "International Journal of Physical Science", "The Open Electrochemistry Journal", and "Advancement in Scientific and Engineering Research". He also sites in the editorial boards of "Journal of Inorganic and Organometallic Polymers and Materials"(Springer) and "American Journal of Environmental Sciences".
1. When you started your project through the Marie Curie initiative, what were your expectations?
I started my Marie Curie Fellowship on 8 Dec 2009 in Cranfield University (UK). My expectation was to underpin the existing cooperation and communication between China and European counties. Of course, I personally had also the aspiration to gain a better perspective. Now, I feel somewhat comfortable to say that I have reached my expectations, that is, a stable connection between me and European colleagues, the 'humble' prestige I have won in scientific community, and a sophisticated academic position. These may be partially reflected by the fact that I (on half of my university) was authorized in 2014 by the Society of Molecular Imprinting (with European origin) to organize the 8th International Conference on Molecular Imprinting.
2. When you started your placement, did you imagine that you’d be where you are today? Or what do you see yourself doing after your Marie Curie project?
I left Cranfield University on 8 Dec 2011 and subsequently joined Jiangsu University. I was promoted from an associate professorship to the distinguished professorship in 2012. Following the promotion, I was further awarded the title of "Jiangsu province-endowed distinguished professor" by Jiangsu Province for my 'humble' achievement gained in polymer research. I became the academic leader of the Department of Polymeric Materials in 2013. I believe that my Marie Curie-IIF experience has played some roles on steering for these promotions!
3. If you had to choose the most memorable moment (so far) during your Marie Curie project, what would it be?
The most memorable moment should be the first work meeting between my supervisors and me, in which Prof. Anthony Turner and Prof. Sergey Piletsky have told me how to do better. What is the essence of scientific research? I would never forget their comment on scientific research that "the essence of scientific research is to learn from nature and to solve complicated problems through the inspiration sough from nature".
4. Three words that sum up your Marie Curie Actions experience?
Motives, enthusiasm, and hard-work
5. How do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see my past 10 years as an enthusiastic, hard-working and fruitful period. During this period, I have published quite some high-quality papers and edited 5 books in worldwide publishers including Elsevier and Wiley-VCH. During this period, I have also founded the International Congress on Advanced Materials with the first one (AM2011) summoned on 13-16 May 2011 in Jinan (China), followed by the 2nd one of its kind (AM2013), which took place in Jiangsu University (16-19th May 2013) and has been proven to be a great success. I was elected president of the Chinese Advanced Materials Society in 2011 and founded the Journal of the Chinese Advanced Materials Society in 2013, which is being published by the prestigious Taylor & Francis. It is so real that "the important thing in life is to have a great aim and the determination to attain it" (Johann W. von Goethe) and that "you have to believe in yourself and that's the secret of success" (Charles Chaplin).
6. Is there a famous researcher who inspires you?
Sure! Not single one but a few! Herein, I only want to present Anthony P.F. Turner, since whom I have an enough-long time to stay with (two years). As such, I can present a relatively comprehensive profile for him. Prof. Anthony Turner is world-renowned scientist, well known for his outstanding contribution to the field of biosensors. He contributed pioneering work to "bioelectrochemical fuel cells" that underpinned his early innovations in electrochemical biosensor systems. When I asked him how he got the pioneering idea, his answer is "the inspiration sought from nature, plus motives, enthusiasm, and hard-work". Although this answer did not appear to be a direct response to my question, I positively take it as a key to a professional researcher, which has been encouraging me to dedicate to science. "If scientific observations confirm the scientist's predictions, the theory is supported. If the observations do not confirm the predictions, the scientists must search further".
7. What is your favorite quote by a scientist?
"I want to bring out the secrets of nature and apply them for the happiness of man. I don't know of any better service to offer for the short time we have in the world" (Thomas Edison).
8. Your advice to a researcher who would like to apply for a Marie Curie Action?
The world can be changed by a man's endeavor, which might lead to something new and better! The process is bitter, but the fruit is sweet!
9. Imagine your ideal Marie Curie Alumni Association event. What would it be and where?
I conceive that Marie Curie Alumni Association can be composed of worldwide branches. The worldwide branches will help promote cooperation and communication between the local and Europe countries, which would also casually organize academic conferences and help contact Alumni.
10. If you could introduce us to another Marie Curie Alumni, who would it be?
Sure! As per my knowledge, the two MC fellows are probably currently not listed in the Alumni Association. Please feel free to contact them if necessary.
Dr. Shunsheng Cao
Jiangsu University, China
Dr. Shenqi Wang
Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China