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My Marie-Skłodowska Curie Secondment in COVID-19 times – ESR2

PhD journey involves a lot of hard work and being an early-stage researcher (ESR) in the SCENT project (Fig. 1.), sometimes, the hurdle increases. Nowadays, the restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives, and "teleworking" has been practiced more than ever. However, some activities are challenging to establish remote, such as the secondments.
Fig. 1 – SCENT ESR 2 – Hermes Loschi.

Secondments are important in our Marie Curie EJD project SCENT, and in this blog post, I want to share my thoughts, challenges, and trends concerning it.

The MSCA Guide for Applicants informs: 

''During their secondment, researchers receive supervision and training at the premises of the receiving beneficiary, its entities with a capital or legal link, or partner organization. The premises of these institutions must be independent from each other and therefore the secondment must involve physical mobility of the fellow, with specific supervision arrangements. Secondments should be differentiated from short visits, i.e. of a few days.''

In this context, some activities were performed before the COVID-19 outbreak, such as the during the Summer School I in Twente. 

Furthermore, my secondments in the companies registered as partners in the SCENT project were in the process of being approved before the COVID-19 outbreak. Due to the consequences and changes imposed by the restrictions in COVID-19, my host university could not approve my plans. Thus, my secondment plans in the companies registered as partners in the SCENT project are on standby (under the analysis of my supervisor).

However, on the other hand, the interface with partner universities strengthened since I start to be in the '' home office '' and worked remotely. Therefore, that's what this blog post is about, how I've been developing my "remote secondments", with partner universities, without physical mobility due to the restrictions caused by COVID-19. 

1. University of Twente

Especially with the support of Dr. ir. Niek Moonen, I have been trying to consolidate two proposals of papers for the next EMC conferences, as illustrated in Fig. 2. 

Fig. 2 – EMC conferences target 2021. 

In summary, the proposal conference paper for the APEMC 2021 intends to consider the evaluation of electromagnetic disturbances in hospital environments, considering the atypical situation of one case study in the city of São Paulo, Brazil. On the other hand, the proposal conference paper for the EMC+SIPI 2021 intends to evaluate the effects of changing the duty cycle in the DC/DC converters parallel topologies.

In both proposals for articles, tests, and measurements carried out before the COVID-19 outbreak has been fundamental for the development of writing and paper typesetting.

2. University of Nottingham

The role of DC/DC converters and their applications has been one of my research approaches. In this context, I started one cooperation with Arun Dilip Khilnani, ESR-12 from the ETOPIA project, to exchange information and knowledge about DC/DC converts topologies. Fig. 3 illustrated one of the last discussion topics, the EMI measurement from DC/DC converters parallel topologies, with deterministic and random modulation.


Fig. 3 – EMI measurement from DC/DC converters parallel topologies, with deterministic and random modulation.

However, new measurements are necessary, mainly to understand the behavioral model of the associated phenomenon [1]. At the moment we are restricted to analysis and discussions by means of simulations.

3. Thoughts, Challenges, and Trends

Developing secondments has not been easy in times of a COVID-19 pandemic. Tests and simulations started before the COVID-19 outbreak, and cooperations between partner universities have been responsible for maintaining my "remote secondments" during this ‘' home office '' and teleworking situation.
I am eagerly looking to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic since I hope that my host university decides on my secondment proposals. Thus, I might start the interfaces with the project's partner companies, aiming to develop solutions to the eventual challenges presented to me.

[1] Loschi, H.; Smolenski, R.; Lezynski, P.; Nascimento, D.; Demidova, G. Aggregated Conducted Electromagnetic Interference Generated by DC/DC Converters with Deterministic and Random Modulation. Energies 2020, 13, 3698.
[2] Piotr Lezynski, Robert Smolenski, Hermes Loschi, Dave Thomas, Niek Moonen, A novel method for EMI evaluation in random modulated power electronic converters, Measurement, Volume 151, 2020, 107098, ISSN 0263-2241,
[3] Loschi, H.; Lezynski, P.; Smolenski, R.; Nascimento, D.; Sleszynski, W. FPGA-Based System for Electromagnetic Interference Evaluation in Random Modulated DC/DC Converters. Energies 2020, 13, 2389.
[4] Hermes LOSCHI, Robert SMOLEŃSKI, Piotr LEŻYŃSKI, Waseem El SAYED, Choon Long LOK. EMC Issues: Prospective Review on the Switch Control Strategies. 2019 Proceedings of XIV Scientific Conference Control in Power Electronics and Electric Drive SENE 2019, Lodz, Poland
[5] H. Loschi, R. Smolenski, P. Lezynski, W. El Sayed and D. Nascimento, "Reduction of Conducted Emissions in DC/DC Converters with FPGA-based Random Modulation," 2020 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility - EMC EUROPE, Rome, Italy, 2020, pp. 1-6, doi: 10.1109/EMCEUROPE48519.2020.9245684.