Marie Gallais
Research and Technology Research and technology associate in IT for innovation services
I have been a researcher at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) since 2007 and completed my PhD in Social and Management Sciences at the University of Lorraine in 2009. My research mainly deals with the appropriation of management and digital tools in organisations, especially in SMEs. I am also currently interested in the design and adoption of fair and inclusive technologies. I have participated in several national and European research projects in the areas of SMEs and entrepreneurship, social innovation and digital innovation. I have experience in teaching innovation management, creative problem solving and collective decision-making. I am Vice-President Luxembourg of the International Research Association in Entrepreneurship and SME , as well as a member of the Luxembourg Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition coordinated by Women in Digital Initiatives Luxembourg Asbl. I was project manager of the co-funded Erasmus+ Gender4STEM project from 2017 to 2020, which aims to tackle gender stereotypes in STEM education by providing teachers with concrete tools for more gender-fair teaching practices. I am also currently involved in the European COST Action: European Network For Gender Balance in Informatics (EUGAIN), as well as the Luxembourg Gender Working Group in the research sector led by the National Research Fund (FNR). I am also very active in the LIST internal Gender and Inclusion working group.
Tell us about your career path.
Why did you choose a STEM profession?
Was your interest in STEM encouraged?

My initial degree was in Social and Management Sciences and this really helps me to better understand and address the issues in the relationship between humans and technology. Indeed, technological and societal challenges are often connected!
As researcher, technology and engineering has become more prevalent since 2015 with the creation of Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST), the result of a merge between two Luxembourg research centres, Henri Tudor and Gabriel Lippmann. We are a mission-driven Research and Technology Organisation (RTO) that develops competitive and market-oriented product/service prototypes for public and private stakeholders.

Technological innovations can be used to solve several societal challenges

How was your educational/university experience? Do you have any memorable experiences to share?

I did a master’s in Engineering of systems and innovation, and during my internships, I realised that experimental research could be valuable for supporting companies, and particularly small and medium businesses, which have less time to dedicate to both research and development, and innovation in general.
Thus, I decided to continue with a PhD degree at the same time as beginning work. It was challenging to finish my PhD juggling my research thesis and my job, but also really stimulating to test what I had found in the literature in real-life situations. My PhD defence and graduation ceremony were definitely memorable moments!

Where do you work?
What would you do during a typical day at work? What do you enjoy most about your job?

I work at the Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST). With over 600 employees, 75% of whom are researchers or innovation experts from all around the world, LIST is active in the fields of informatics, materials and the environment and works across the entire innovation chain: fundamental/applied research, incubation and transfer of technologies (more information: www.list.lu).
LIST is located on the former industrial wasteland of Belval in the south of Luxembourg, which is now the most important education and research pole in Luxembourg.
As a research and technology associate, my job can be categorised into 3 main activities: designing and managing innovation projects that lead to service and product prototypes with an impact for private and public organisations, experimenting with these innovations in collaboration with the field and disseminating them though research papers, conferences and training.
Of course, none of this can be done without teamwork and it’s a part of my job that I really like. I also really appreciate meeting and working with multiple external partners and audiences, as well as exploring varied topics and issues and creating related solutions. You can’t get bored; there’s always something different!

What are your plans and aspirations for the future?

It is important for me to continue learning and to stay connected to the market and society evolutions.
One societal challenge that I care deeply about and am exploring in my research is the development of fair and inclusive technologies for future generations.

What do you like to do outside of work? What are your passions and hobbies?

Outside of work, I like spending time with my family and travelling (when it’s possible!). I’m also keen on cooking and I like dancing.

What advice would you give to other young girls and women who plan to pursue a STEM career?

Try, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them and try again.
Think outside the box! Don’t pay attention to biased messages and don’t let yourself be discouraged by them.
Join networks, meet people, and especially women in STEM; join organisations dedicated to girls in STEM, like Women In Digital Empowerment in Luxembourg, which is doing amazing work to encourage and support you in your projects.