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Pierre Stephan


I defended my doctoral thesis in December 2008. It concerned the field of coastal geomorphology and focused on the evolution of shingle spits in Brittany. My thesis represented the completion of an eight-year university career in Geography, in the field of coastal geomorphology. Indeed, after three years of a general curriculum up to Licence level, the subject I specialized in for my Maîtrise focused on the evolution of the dunes in the Bay of Lannion. This work was already very much ‘research’-oriented via the methods and techniques used.

I then continued my education with a Master of Advanced Studies, or DEA, in Coastal Geomorphology, Planning and Management, which corresponds today to the second year of the Master in Expertise and Management of the Coastal Environment (Research Master). This year spent studying for my DEA was decisive in my choice to pursue work in the research field. For six months, I worked in the GEOMER laboratory where I gained experience in different analysis techniques in sedimentology, topography and geomatics. After exploring the scientific literature in the field, I developed a methodology that allowed for answering, at least in part, the problem that was the subject of the doctoral thesis I was offered the following year. I therefore began my PhD with a very good scientific background.

My thesis was funded by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research. I also taught cartography and geomorphology to first and second year Licence students at the Faculty of Letters in Brest and Quimper. It took me four years to complete this thesis, four years during which I gained valuable experience working in a laboratory as part of a real research team. These four years led me to discover many coastal areas within Brittany that were previously unknown to me, and to participate in numerous conferences and seminars both in France and abroad.

Immediately after my thesis, the Conservatoire du Littoral asked me to work on the ‘geology’ part of the DOCOB concerning the Sillon de Talbert. I was also responsible for the complete topographic map of the Île de Quéménès on which I spent a truly incredible week. At the same time, I prepared my candidacy for a vacancy of Assistant Professor in Montpellier, where I was interviewed but was unsuccessful. At the start of the following academic year, I was offered a position as a research and teaching assistant, which gave me time to write some more scientific articles and further develop the results of my thesis. A team of young archaeologists then asked me to work with them on the changing environment in the archipelago of Molène, from Neolithic times right up to the present day. And so I began work as a geoarchaeologist. This opened up a whole new world of research to me.

In 2011, I applied for a position as researcher with the CNRS. There were 150 candidates for only five positions! I didn’t think I had a chance, but I actually ranked second! I was assigned to the Laboratory of Physical Geography in Meudon, where I spent two years working as part of a research team I was unfamiliar with, comprised of really cool, dynamic geomorphologists. In 2013, I obtained a transfer to Brest, where you will be able to find me if you have any other questions concerning my academic and professional careers...