Introduction to the story
I graduated in Physics in 2004 and obtained my PhD degree in Italy in 2008 conducting research at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics. In 2008-2011 I was Post Doc Researcher at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences and later Research Programme Leader of the ELI Beamlines project. Currently I serve as Director of Research and Operations of the ELI Beamlines pan-European user facility.
The first time I visited the Czech Republic was in 2006 during an exciting MSCA research secondment at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IoP-CAS) which gave me the possibility to conduct state-of-the-art experiments in the field of laser-plasma physics at the PALS high power laser facility in Prague. In 2008, after receiving my PhD title in Italy for conducting research at the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN), I started a Postdoc research position at IoP-CAS in the framework of the ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) preparatory phase, which was a unique possibility for me to be at the forefront of laser-based research in the field of plasma physics. In 2012, I was appointed as Senior Researcher at IoP-CAS and Leader of the “Particle Acceleration by Lasers” Research Programme of ELI-Beamlines and this allowed me to build a team of young researchers to design, install and commission the ELIMAIA (ELI Multidisciplinary Applications of laser-Ion Acceleration) beamline using the cutting-edge ultrahigh intensity laser systems available at ELI Beamlines. In addition, in 2019, I have experienced the academic life as Lecturer in Experimental Plasma Physics at Queen’s University Belfast (UK), and recently I was appointed as Director of Research and Operations of ELI Beamlines.
The choice to move to the Czech Republic from Italy was a big step in my career and life in general. Prague is one of the most beautiful capital cities in Europe with impressive cultural attractions, and offers a broad range of opportunities, along with high quality services. The work environment at ELI Beamlines has always been truly international and this allowed me to quickly grow both from a professional and a human point of view. Furthermore, ELI is the world’s largest and most advanced high-power laser research infrastructure, thus I could not find similar opportunities in my research field elsewhere.
I recommend the potential fellows of this MERIT programme to be brave in pursuing their scientific ideas and goals, and always use the opportunities offered to them.