CERIC researcher awarded as “Austrian role model”

Today, 26th of April, will be a great day for Sumea Klokic: the CERIC post-doc scientist, involved in several researches at both the Austrian SAXS beamline at Elettra Synchrotron in Trieste (Italy) and the partner facility at the University of Technology in Graz (Austria), will receive a prize, awarded by the Austrian Federal Minister Susanne Raab, as “Austrian female role model”. The award, established by the LEA organisation, aims at selecting and narrating (through a book distributed within Austrian schools) the story of Austrian women to serve as ‘role models’ for children and girls in order to motivate them to take up the challenge and enter in traditionally ‘men-dominated’ job.

How did she achieve such an important milestone? Sumea studied Chemistry on the bachelor and master’s level at the Technical University of Graz, where she further received the engineering degree in the master’s program Technical Chemistry and the PhD in Natural Science within Chemistry. During this articulated course of studies, her focus moved from inorganic synthetic chemistry to renewable resources towards physical chemistry, paving the way for her future research career: “The results of my engineering thesis – points out Sumea – were a crucial factor for the research of my PhD at the Austrian SAXS beamline at Elettra Synchrotron in Trieste. Here I was challenged to broaden my horizons towards physics and materials science, which aided me to successfully tackle scientific questions involving multidisciplinary techniques”.

Currently, as postdoctoral researcher, Sumea is continuing the research of her doctoral thesis, which involves the study of solid systems that are responsive towards light: in particular, she studies structural dynamics within photo-responsive solid-state systems, which are attractive candidates to be applicable for energy-storage: In detail, she is using Metal-Organic Framework (MOF) films – which structure responds reversibly within seconds when triggered by light in the visible range –  as model systems that comprise both organic and inorganic components. Implementation of such systems has been chosen for the implementation of energy-storage elements in modern devices. Tracking MOF films response requires the use of synchrotron light, and that’s why Sumea in her studies uses particularly X-rays or infrared light to deduce the dynamic behaviour of the photo-response: “CERIC offers a broad opportunity to access techniques at the Elettra synchrotron. Such an access is imperative for my research since any investigations regarding dynamic changes in the MOF structure during its in-operando conditions require a high resolution to monitor these structural rearrangements.  Moreover, CERIC consortium offers access to multiple techniques which has proven vital for me so far, especially in the combination of X-ray scattering (SAXS beamline) and infrared spectroscopy (SISSI-BOFFline)”.


Sumea Klokic working on the technical setup, which requires precise adjustment of optical elements prior to the photo-triggered experiments (which are shown in-operando in the image below).

However, being a “female role model” is a never-ending job: “I hope to further have the opportunity to conduct research and to continue the work in my current scientific field, as there are so many aspects which are yet to be explored. I believe that comprehending the rather challenging topic of energy storage is decisive both for the scientific community as well as for providing direly needed solutions to the current energy situation. Along the way, I hope to be inspirational for young scientists, especially females in the technical and natural sciences.”

Then congratulations Sumea, and all the best for your future!