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Research engineer

To be a research engineer at Saint-Gobain Research Paris means to work inside a multidisciplinary team, benefit in a cross-cutting way from all our research centre’s scientific skills, and interact with the other Saint-Gobain group entities as well as with the academic world.

You will be in charge of ensuring the completion of one or more research subjects, incorporated into projects aimed at developing new products or processes.

You may also take part in exploratory research programs by proposing new ideas and in this way bring out new projects or new collaborations.

"I love the industrial context, including its more practical research assignments and shorter project times. I chose Saint-Gobain because as well as being a very dynamic Group, it operates on several fronts, with a variety of materials which are all somehow connected to habitat. This multidisciplinary aspect of the R&D centre is very important for me."

 

Barbara
Research engineer
Research technician

Being part of our research teams, research technicians are key employees in our organization. They contribute to all our achievements and participate in accomplishing our overriding mission: improving habitat in its broadest sense while caring for the environment and contributing to the well-being of all.

Research technicians are hired after 2 or 3 years of higher education (either Second-year university level or Degree level). As research engineers, they have the chance to work in a top quality scientific environment. Career opportunities may lead them to work for one of the Saint-Gobain group’s operational entities by joining, for example, a team in production or in another R&D centre.

 

"There is a strong link between technicians and engineers. We apply technical directives and do both lab work and troubleshooting. Technicians need to organize themselves and work autonomously, practically speaking."

François
Research technician

 

Since he joined Saint-Gobain Research Paris, Vincent is a research technician in the Composite Products and Surface Coatings department.

"After getting my degree in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Paris XI, I applied to Saint-Gobain Research Paris for a job as a mortars technician. I had quite a few interviews and was invited to apply at the same time for a job concerning functional inorganic coatings deposited on glass. Two weeks later, the HR director got back in touch to offer me the latter job which is where I’m currently working inside the CPSC department," explains Vincent.

"I mostly work on surface texturizing and bonding silver to glass for mirrors. Concerning texturizing, this is for an application mainly addressing interior design. It’s a dynamic field particularly favoured by architects. Silver-bonding is studied in order to make mirrors more durable. In other words, it’s about trying to understand mechanisms."

However, there is more to his work than just research. It is also about providing assistance to the plants. "After presenting a new product obtained in the lab, it is at times necessary to adapt the depositing conditions to the existing machines in the plants, for example."

This leads Vincent to work with the centre’s other departments, such as the Thin Films department or the Saint-Gobain/CNRS mixed research unit. "When you work at Saint-Gobain Research Paris, I find that the interactions with the other people in the centre and plants are rewarding. People are open…we learn a lot."

What does Vincent prefers in his daily life? The new discoveries and the lab work. "My work is never boring and is very practical, in fact. I think that if you like chemistry to begin with, you will enjoy lab work and handling stuff. I’m amazed by what I do every time. When I make a mirror and see the silver appearing on the glass, it’s like magic!"

Vincent
Research technician
Composite Products and Surface Coatings department
Be a support function

To be a support function means to hold a key position of assistance and advice with “internal customers” namely the research engineers and technicians with whom contact is permanent.

Management controllers, computer scientists, maintenance managers, communications officers, strategic intelligence monitors, patent engineers, HR managers or purchasers support the drive and momentum of our ever-evolving research departments. Support functions include a generalist dimension to be able to apprehend and control all aspects in a field of competency.

Support functions work regularly together with their counterparts in other Saint-Gobain entities, with whom they share best practices.

 

While doing her thesis, Laurence discovered that there is a lot of technical information within patent publications. She wanted to stay close to technology and innovation. However, without being a researcher and driven by her desire to find out about the legal aspect of these innovations she directed her towards the role of patent engineer.

After training in Intellectual Property law at CEIPI -French Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies- and a 1st job as engineer-examiner at INPI -French National Industrial Property Institute-, she became a patent engineer, took the European patent agent exam and joined the Saint-Gobain Research Paris Industrial Property Department in September 2011.

Comprising thirty employees, the purpose of the SGR Paris Industrial Property Department is to work with all the Saint-Gobain group's Technical Centres. It brings together the skills needed to obtain rights (lodging patents, extensions in all countries, examinations, oppositions and appeals) and exercise them (exploitation rights, counterfeiting problems, agreements). The department also administers patent portfolios and works on patent information and technological monitoring.

"One of my main roles is to write patent applications. To protect and make best use of the invention, it is important to describe it by considering the strategies that could be implemented to develop and exploit it. In particular, we have to plan for variants and future developments of the invention as well as possible ways that competitors could circumvent them. It is through this anticipatory work that the patent may be protected over time and will allow us to maintain our technological lead over the competition. Once the patent application has been written, it is lodged with the patent office. A major part of our activity is dedicated to examination and opposition procedures, either defending our own patents or attacking competitive patents. As a European agent, we operate directly before the European Patent Office (EPO)." explains Laurence. "When it is a country outside Europe, we work closely with our local agents."

"Another part of my work relates to disputes and exploitation rights. The Activities of Saint-Gobain very often require us to analyze a competitor's patent and to understand its legal and geographical coverage." This is Laurence's daily routine.

What does she particularly like about working for Saint-Gobain Research Paris? "For everything that affects France and Europe, we really do everything in-house and in particular we get directly involved in oral procedures before the EPO, at Examination and Opposition Divisions and at Appeal Hearings. In being at SGR Paris, I enjoy the daily discussions with researchers."

Laurence
Patents engineer
Industrial Property Department

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