Read Stefan’s story
Stefan kicked off his imec career in 1996 at our ultra clean processing group, focusing on cleaning technology and analytical metrology for contamination control in CMOS processing. From 2000 until 2017, Stefan governed multiple projects and programs (ranging from imec’s industrial affiliation program to imec’s NCAIS, Nano Confined Applications, Interfaces and Surfaces, group) as a group and program manager. The common thread of his work was to allow further scaling of transistor technologies through unit process and material research. Later, in 2017, he was assigned the role of scientific director at imec.
Throughout his extensive imec career, Stefan’s work has been influenced by a handful of people. His physics teacher roused his interest in science in high school because of his fascinating teaching style. While working on his PhD, his advisor at the University of Florida influenced Stefan thanks to his mentoring style. And finally, at imec, Marc Heyns, the person who hired Stefan and with whom he has been collaborating for many years plays an important role because of his vision, technical skills, and pleasant character.
The people who influenced Stefan clearly defined his character, interests, and passions. Stefan: “One of the major things I’m passionate about is my family. But another thing is the opportunity to teach and mentor people. Coaching and getting the best out of them by challenging their ideas and then seeing them grow into talented people drives me.”
Supplying the imec chain with talented people
In October 2022, Stefan was rewarded with the title of imec fellow for his contribution to imec’s technical accomplishments and for conveying imec’s commitment to research excellence. Stefan has one primary goal in his new role: supplying the imec chain with talented people. “It’s obvious there is a tremendous need for talented people. If we don’t supply the imec chain with those people, we will get into trouble.”
“In times dominated by the war for talent, recruiting and training young talent and mentoring coaches will be the focal point in the immediate future. Next, we also expect to roll out an activity in which we engage with the worldwide academic community and plant the seeds for the needs of tomorrow.”
A message to junior researchers
Stefan has three pieces of advice for young researchers. He firstly believes that people should not look back negatively at their decisions. “Throughout my whole life, my motto has been never to regret any decision you have made. If you balance and reflect well on why you make a certain decision, there is no reason to regret anything. As you cannot predict the future, you can only shape your own future by making sound and thoughtful decisions based on the facts and data you have.”
His second and third bits of advice apply to young researchers and anyone’s endeavors in general. “You should never become demotivated if the result is not as you expected; it’s important to keep looking for the joy in day-to-day activities. And finally, think before you act, reflect after you act.”
Imec fellow Stefan is the director of doctoral research and academic relations, driving imec’s academic excellence. He coordinates imec’s PhD and PostDoc calls, the imec tenure track, and is the go-to person for establishing and expanding strategic collaborations with international academic partners.
- Material science
- Academic relations
- Was awarded a Sematech award for the use of Ozonated Chemistries in 1998
- Was progam manager of imec’s IIAP high-k dielectrics (from 2000) and IIAP post-CMOS nano program (from 2008)
- Has (co-)authored more than 500 technical papers and mentored more than 25 PhD’s to defense until today
- Was general chair of IEDM in 2016 and president of The Electrochemical Society in 2020-2021
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8 December 2022