Unfold your career
Herbert Hackl started his career at SAL in 2018, while he was still writing his dissertation. This makes him one of the top five longest-serving researchers at the Graz site. He is a Senior Scientist in the Coexistence & Electromagnetic Compatibility (CEMC) department and leads the "Bat2Share" project.
Fun Fact: Herbert is one of the few people from Vienna who came to Graz to study, instead of the other way around. And because he liked it here so much, he never left the Graz TU-Inffeldgasse campus professionally.
How come you joined SAL?
I had a very direct career path. After school, I moved to Graz to study electrical engineering with a focus on microelectronics and analog chip design. I spent a lot of time at the Institute of Electronics at the Graz University of Technology and got to know Bernhard Auinger, our current Research Unit Head of CEMC, who advised SAL in its start-up phase.
And that's how I joined SAL while I was still finishing my dissertation. My area of expertise at SAL is the simulation of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of electronic systems.
What are your current tasks and projects?
I am involved in the GEMC Lab, the Graz Electromagnetic Compatibility Lab, a cooperation between SAL and TU Graz, as well as in four other projects. My biggest project, that I am also project leader of, is Bat2Share. This project is funded by the Zero Emission Mobility program of the FFG. Bat2Share involves a retrofit kit for bicycles, which makes it feasible to turn a standard bicycle into an e-bike by attaching a motor and battery. In the project, we are developing the basic hardware and software components for charging stations, which will allow for a cycle of exchange and rental of e-bike batteries. Of course, the charging station will be energy self-sufficient using solar energy!
Another important project I am working on is Premi (Pre-Estimation of Electromagnetic Interference), a cooperative project with Tridonic and Magna. In the course of this project, we are developing new and optimized methods for simulating electromagnetic compatibility.
Then there are the MPBATTT and EWM projects. In EWM, we are working with NXP Gratkorn and the Carinthian University of Applied Sciences to research the possibility of using NFC in a smartphone to unlock one's own car. To do this, we need to investigate and understand the complex EMC requirements in the car.
Click the links to find out more about Herbert’s projects.
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I spend a lot of time on project management, distributing tasks, dividing tasks into work packages, combining results, and writing reports. Then I spend one or two days per week in the lab, and in between I also do simulations on the PC.
As a researcher, my job is to try things that no one has done before and to answer questions that no one has an answer to. In my field, it's quite normal that no one knows exactly how or why something works, that there are no clear answers or that the "best" solutions are unknown. This is exactly what is exciting about research for me. As a child, something is always right or wrong – in my world not so much.
We are always pushing the boundaries of what is possible and what is doable. At SAL, we start working where others stop. Typical research questions at SAL include finding solutions to (other people's) problems that are so complex that they don't have the resources to deal with them.
Once I know how something works – and have passed on the knowledge – I don’t need to focus on it anymore. Then I can go on and solve the next puzzle.
What has been your highlight at SAL so far?
One of my biggest highlights was getting my very first research proposal for Bat2Share accepted. The success rate for research proposals is not very high, so for my first proposal to culminate in such a big and exciting project right away is of course a big highlight!
The start-up feeling at SAL was also a highlight for me at the beginning and the set-up phase was a lot of fun.
What do you appreciate about SAL?
I appreciate the family-friendliness, the flexible working hours, and the spontaneity in my team. And, of course, the proximity to my home, which allows me to ride my bike to work every day.
Do you have a professional role model?
Since I have children at home, having a good work-life balance is very important to me in someone I look up to professionally. However, I know few researchers who really succeed in balancing family and work. Maybe I can set an example for others in this sense and be a role model for the next generation of young researchers. :-)
You want to start your success story at SAL? Are you looking for a new challenge? If you want to actively shape the technologies of the future and enjoy working in an international team, then you've come to the right place.