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Yann Facchinello Loves ÉTS for its Openness, Simplicity and Accessibility

In 2008, Yann Facchinello, an engineering student in Materials Science at Polytech Grenoble in France, wrote an e-mail to Vladimir Brailovski, faculty researcher at ÉTS, to apply for an undergraduate internship. Less than ten years later, Mr. Facchinello obtained a PhD under the direction of Professor Brailovski.

“The accessibility of professors is an element that really impressed me. I was very surprised when I received a response from Professor Brailovski. I had no referral; I was just an ordinary French Baccalaureate student who sought to come spend a few months in Montréal. Mr. Brailovski was very well known, in particular because of his work on the development and applications of shape memory alloys," explains Yann.

In his opinion, this openness and simplicity are reflected at all levels at ÉTS, as much in student-professor relationships as between researchers and departments. “We shy away from the conventional austere and hierarchical climate and the classical approaches to teaching and research of other engineering schools”, he adds.

The seeds of a captivating journey into research  

As is often the case among undergraduate students, Yann didn’t really know what he wanted to do after obtaining his diploma. Professor Brailovski offered him a master’s subject that piqued his interest and provided the seeds of a captivating journey to becoming a researcher.

In addition, the presence of a variety of complementary expertise at ÉTS creates an environment conducive to the implementation of multidisciplinary projects, which often go beyond the walls of the school, for example to obtain external medical expertise. As part of a postdoctoral fellowship, Yann was co-directed by an orthopaedic surgeon at Montréal’s Sacré-Coeur hospital and by a mechanical engineering faculty researcher at ÉTS.

As the project evolved, he had to find another co-director in electrical engineering, because he was working on a fibre optic project for the manufacture of an intelligent spinal cord. Another ÉTS professor agreed to join the project, being strongly interested in the medical applications of fibre.

A collaboration between ÉTS and CAE Health leads to a job  

Thanks to close ties between ÉTS and the industry, Yann was able to contribute his expertise to the Health division of CAE as part of a partnership project between the corporation and ÉTS. This assignment recently led to a job as a “systems designer” with the Zimmer CAS company, where he is working on the design of a robot-assisted knee surgery system.