Académie des technologies

Blandine Gourcerol

  • Economic Geologist
  • BRGM
  • 35 years old
  • Sponsored by Pierre Toulhoat in 2023

Why a career in tech ?

My journey into the field of technology and its connection to nature has been greatly influenced by fascinating teachers of Life and Earth Sciences (SVT) since my middle school and high school years. Their passion for geology has deeply inspired me and, without me realizing it, made my career choice evident.

Your professional experience?

After obtaining my bachelor of science (Bac S), I enrolled in a geological engineering school (formerly IGAL - UniLasalle). This program aims to train students to become naturalist geologists through numerous field internships in different geographical areas and environments. As a result, I had the opportunity to train as a mineral resources engineer in several countries, experiencing one enriching experience after another. After graduating, I wanted to further expand my knowledge by pursuing a PhD in Ontario, Canada. This experience allowed me to flourish scientifically and work in a mining country. Following that, I then completed two post-doctoral positions before joining the Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM) as a project manager and scientific expert.

Your first experience with technology?

My first experience in tech was on an exploration camp in Mexico, in the state of Sinaloa. I had the opportunity to work with South American geologists and discover exploration campaigns in remote areas. This experience really shaped the way I approach my profession: regardless of culture, education level, or social background, everyone is there to make a positive contribution to the project.

What do you do today, and why?

Currently, I am a project manager and scientific expert involved in national and international research and public policy support projects, particularly in the field of critical and strategic metals. My expertise includes the identification, characterization, and understanding of the formation and preservation of metallic deposits over time, and thereby optimizing their exploration through various non-invasive methods (favourability mapping, etc.). Additionally, I am also leading a preliminary assessment mission to evaluate the potential involvement of BRGM in the inventory of exploitable mineral resources, in the context of the Varin report's conclusions and the EU CRM Act regulation project.

Your strengths in this role?

I have gained valuable experience in exploration projects and the mining sector, which I apply to my research, trying to make it as applied as possible. I strive to contextualize this experience in order to benefit from a practical and concrete approach. I am also determined, meticulous and passionate. These qualities enable me to successfully complete my assignments in the best possible conditions, both for my team and for potential clients.

Past challenges, failures and disappointments?

I have noticed that through my career choices, I systematically enjoy and actively seek to step outside of my comfort zone, leading to a constant state of struggle and sustained activity. However, this can sometimes be emotionally challenging and result in quite intense moments of solitude. This need to adapt can also have an impact on my environment and colleagues, and may not always be fully appreciated. However, I am fortunate to be surrounded by a supportive family that understands my profession and passion, which facilitates open dialogue and fosters a sense of kindness.

Best moments, successes you’re proud of?

During my Ph.D., I had the opportunity to organize a Student Minerals Colloquium as part of an international mineral resources congress. This involved fundraising, collecting scientific abstracts, and planning and coordinating the event itself. This initiative turned out to be a resounding success, with the participation of around a hundred students who had the opportunity to present their work to industry professionals. Finally, the completion of my PhD was a moment of great pride for me. Despite the challenges, I managed to publish five scientific articles by the end of my PhD while balancing my role as a young mum, being in a foreign country, and immersing myself in a research topic that was unfamiliar to me prior to my arrival in Canada, all in a language that was not my native tongue.

People who helped, influenced -or made your life difficult?

I was lucky enough to grow up in a loving and inspiring family. Many, if not all, of the women in my family are fighters who encouraged me to embrace my choices regardless of their nature. Of course, as a young woman in a predominantly male-dominated scientific field, I have faced challenging moments. However, I prefer to say that certain people helped to build my resilience and pushed me to surpass my limits.

Your hopes and future challenges?

I want to use my knowledge of mineral resources for the benefit of society, to sustain and support our communities, while respecting the world in which we live. The successful decarbonisation of our societies will require an increasing demand for metals. However, it is essential to optimise research efforts to minimise their invasive impact.

What do you do when you don’t work?

I am fortunate to have a job that is also my passion, which means I never really stop. However, gardening, another of my passions, allows me to find balance and perspective by appreciating the different timeframes and putting things into perspective when needed. It gives me the opportunity to step back and think.

Your heroes -from History or fiction?

One of my heroines is Alexandra David-Néel. Her extraordinary journey as an explorer, writer, and Buddhist has inspired me deeply. Her audacity, curiosity, and unwavering determination to explore distant lands and immerse herself in unfamiliar cultures are qualities that evoke my admiration.

A saying or proverb you like in particular?

“Whatever you do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” (Goethe)

A book to take with you on a desert island?

Without hesitation, I would bring 'Letters from Father Christmas' by Tolkien, a book of unparalleled magic and poetry. It is one of the few books that I enjoy rereading every year. This collection of letters between Father Christmas and Tolkien's children, beautifully complemented by enchanting illustrations, creates a wonderful world that brings back the sense of wonder and nostalgia for Christmas for me.

A message to young female professionals?

Fear nothing and fight for what you believe is right. If tech is your passion, then don't hesitate!


The questionnaire answered by the Women of Tech is a variant of the Proust questionnaire, named not because Marcel Proust got lost in the Paris metro, but in memory of Emilie du Chatelet, a woman of letters, mathematician and physicist, renowned for her translation of Newton's Principia Mathematica and the dissemination of Leibniz's physics work. She was a member of the Academy of Sciences of the Bologna Institute. Emilie du Chatelet led a free and fulfilled life during the era of the Enlightenment and published a speech on happiness.

Emilie Du Chatelet

Woman of letters, mathematician and physicist

1706 - 1749