Luna De Ferrari

MSc and PhD graduate Luna De Ferrari talks about her time at the School of Informatics and why she has stayed in Edinburgh.

Name Luna De Ferrari
Degree Master in science and PhD in Informatics
Year of Graduation 2005 (MSc) and 2012 (PhD)

Your time at University

I choose the University of Edinburgh because it was in an English speaking country and one of the birthplaces of Artificial Intelligence, but I was left breathless by the beauty of the city.

I still remember, on my first visit, wandering a few minutes away from the central campus and walking around Arthur's seat, it was like being in the Alps, dramatic rock formations, lush and green.

I came with short term plans, but opportunities were so plentiful that I ended up staying for 12 years and counting.

The Master was intense, but made making friends really easy. From Ceilidh to pizza seminars to house parties to hiking trips, there was something for every type of person, and intelligent conversation aplenty.

Luna De Ferrari

Your experiences since leaving University

I am now at my 4th post-doctoral position with the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews (the train commute across the Firth of Forth is spectacular).

Finding academic jobs is straightforward, all jobs are on sites such as, easy to navigate. No hours spent to understand how to apply or to prepare for large national contests. You just send your cv and go for interview, like for any other job.

I worked as researcher in machine learning and I have done some statistical work analysing micro-array data, in the bioinformatics field, since my first degree is in molecular biology. But I am currently preparing the tutoring material for statistics and R programming for the School of Psychology, so leaning more towards statistics now.

I will also consider positions in industry, government and freelance work in the future, which is abundant in the city. My qualifications and experience would give me an excellent job in any country of my choice, but I have settled down well in Edinburgh, my child is happy in school and the quality of life is amazing.

Alumni Wisdom

First tip: After your degree don't focus exclusively on mainstream academic careers, have a look at start ups, industry, charities, the government, minor universities.

The landscape is changing fast, and there is objectively not enough employment for post-docs in major universities. No, not even for very good post-docs.

Second tip: don't leave your list of likes and dislikes unchallenged. I didn't like statistics much when I first studied it, but going back to it after learning more about data management and programming (thanks MSc in Informatics lecturers!) and after reading popular books such as “Freakonomics” and “Thinking fast and slow” was a revelation.

This article was first published in 2015. For updates on what Luna is doing now, find her LinkedIn below.

Related links

Luna De Ferrari on LinkedIn