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Cecilia Smoglie, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Name: Cecilia Smoglie
Lives in: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Period in Germany: 1982 to 1984 and 1988 to 1990
Research institutions: Karlsruhe University; Karlsruhe Research Centre
Job: Director of the Energy Department at the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA)

I was in Germany for several years – from 1982 to 1984 and again from 1988 to 1990. I completed my doctorate in mechanical engineering at Karlsruhe University and was then a visiting research fellow at the Karlsruhe Research Centre. My time there was partly funded by Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). On the basis of my experience in Germany, I was appointed as a development engineer for nuclear power stations by ABB Schweiz AG in 1990 and worked there for six years. Since 1996, I’ve been at the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA), where I teach thermodynamics and heat transfer.

‘Germany is just wonderful’

I gained a huge amount from my time in Germany, both professionally and personally. Germans are nice, polite, reliable people and very good friends. The country is just wonderful, and there are a lot of positive things to discover and appreciate about its people. I can’t think of anything negative.


I see the biggest cultural differences between my home country and Germany in the way work is organised and in efficient time management. In Argentina, we have a more flexible approach to getting our work done. We’re also more likely to express our emotions. There are differences in the way children are brought up and in the way people keep – or break – rules, too. In most cases, German universities are much better than ours, though there are a few exceptions.

‘I’d like to prove that it’s possible and beneficial for research institutions in different countries to have a long-term relationship’

I was Director of the Mechanical Engineering department at the Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires (ITBA) for 14 years. Since 2011, I’ve been Director of the Energy Department, where we have a growing cooperation arrangement with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), which was set up in 2009 as a merger between the Karlsruhe Research Centre and the University of Karlsruhe. We manage the following projects:

  • Developing and validating fluid-structure interaction simulation techniques for small wind-turbine design
  • Developing high-pressure electrolysis equipment for hydrogen production
  • Setting up a dual Master’s course in energy technology

I’d love to use successful cooperation with KIT to prove that that it’s possible and beneficial for research institutions in different countries to have a long-term relationship.


In my view, sharing research internationally is extremely important as long as it helps ensure the quality and calibre of experiments and promotes development on both sides. Germany clearly has a leading part to play here.

‘I’m not a member of an alumni network, because unfortunately, I have very little time for new contacts’

Since 1990, when my time in Germany came to an end, I’ve been keeping up with personal friends and professional contacts. Gradually, we’ve developed a professional cooperation network, which keeps growing.


I know a few Germany-Alumni from Argentina and I’m in touch with Pablo Leslabay (ITBA), Sebastian Martijena (ITBA), Pablo Mosquera Michelson (currently with the Institute of Fluid Machinery at KIT) and Carla Allende (Chair of the KIT Alumni Club Argentina), among others. But I’m not a member of an alumni network, because unfortunately, I have very little time for new contacts.

February 2014

Comments

Elias Urrejola
27 November 2015

Cecilia you are the best!
It is great to know a professional like you!

Rodney Dávalos
5 March 2014

Very good experience! I think the same. We are very different (South-America and Germany) but "it's possible and beneficial for research institutions in different countries to have a long-term relationship". I've just founded with others colleges a research center... and we are now trying to build our networking. Best wishes!

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