Catching up with Navrit Bal

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Navrit Bal

What have you been working on since the end of OMA?

"Following the end of the OMA project, I was half way through my PhD at Nikhef. That has now come to an end as of January 2022, the intention is to defend my thesis in the summer. The working title is: “Medipix3: Spectral X-ray micro-CT and hadron therapy”. Almost by accident, I have found myself with a postdoc position at Aarhus, Denmark at the University Hospital / DPCT (Danish Centre for Particle Therapy). This came about as part of a grant I co-applied for with my collaborator during the OMA project.

Alongside this, I co-founded a company with my old supervisor on IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). We are currently getting our first customers after a series of pilot projects."

Did the networking opportunities within OMA help you to get your present job?

"While they did not contribute directly, opportunities have come my way via contacts made with the OMA network."

What are the skills that you learned in OMA that are most valued in your current job?

"I found the multinational and interdisciplinary networking and socialising aspects to be the most useful. I would say the most important were technical knowledge (hadron therapy), high performance programming and the realities of startups."

Are you still in contact with the OMA fellows?

"Of course! Jacinta and I talk very frequently, many cat memes are exchanged. However, since there are no other OMA fellows in the Netherlands, there haven’t been any in person meetings... We do our best to have group calls with as many OMA fellows as possible every now and then, which are always very interesting.

I’m really looking forward to the promised last OMA meeting!"

What will be your most cherished memory from OMA?

"There are so many! I would highlight IPAC (10th International Particle Accelerator Conference) 2019 in Melbourne. Sud and I were the last attendees to hold a python. I took the opportunity to go on a solo road-trip around the state of Victoria. Then, I continued around Japan on the way back with my girlfriend and the Shinkansen!"

And the one you’d rather forget?

"Missing the last day of the conference in Sevilla that I was meant to chair."