Académie des technologies

Claire-Émilie VAUDEY

  • Head, Research and Innovation, Decommissioning and Services Business Unit
  • 40 years old
  • Sponsored by Pierre TOULHOAT in 2024

Why a career in tech?

My career in technology is rooted in my interest, from an early age, in understanding the world. Science is an effective and fascinating tool for explaining our environment and developing solutions for our daily lives.

Your professional experience?

After taking my baccalauréat S, I went on to study physical chemistry. I had the opportunity to follow options dedicated to the energy industry, taking an interest in the issues involved, how they work and their impact on society and the environment. My curiosity was specifically focused on the nuclear industry. I was lucky enough, via a CNRS Institut Physique Nucléaire Lyon/EDF PhD, to enter this field, guided by the benevolence of committed university supervisors and by enriching collaborations with people from EDF, CEA and Andra.

Your first experience with technology?

At the end of my studies, I naturally turned my job search towards the nuclear industry in order to continue the experience I had gained in this field. I joined Orano in the Dismantling and Services Business Unit as an R&D engineer in the field of nuclear waste management.

What do you do today, and why?

After a rich and varied career spanning some fifteen years at Orano, and more particularly in the Dismantling and Services BU, I am now Director of Research and Innovation. Based at various geographical sites, alongside the Operational Departments and therefore our customers, my teams and I are in charge of the engineering, technical, expert, R&D and innovation activities required for operations in the field, as well as managing the business based on the marketing of our intellectual services and/or our products.This position brings together a number of elements that stimulate me on a daily basis: • Involvement in various technical disciplines serving operational needs • Transversality of activities • Management of a varied population: technicians, executives, experts, managers • Participation in defining the strategy of the Dismantling and Services Business Unit.

Your strengths in this role?

With a technical background and having worked as an engineer and project manager, I know and understand the work of my colleagues. What's more, my experience within the Dismantling and Services BU (in particular my successive postings in cross-functional and operational departments) gives me a clear view of its activities and how they complement each other, despite the variety of areas, locations and customers involved. In fact, I had the opportunity to get to know our main customers right from the start of my career via my doctorate. My ability to anticipate and interconnect issues is an asset when it comes to defining the right strategy for managing my department. Finally, my high standards, my ability to manage change, my desire to succeed, my interest in developing skills and employees, and my appetite for constructive and rewarding human relations are the strengths of my unifying and challenging management style.

Past challenges, failures and disappointments?

My major challenge was to gain professional legitimacy with myself and my colleagues. It's not easy to go from being a young woman with technical skills to a manager capable of addressing all the dimensions of this type of position on an industrial site where there are still very few women. My motivation, strength of character, ability to learn and drive gradually enabled me to rise to the challenges I faced.

Best moments, successes you’re proud of?

One of the high points of my career was the emotion and tears of my colleagues when I told them I was leaving the End-of-Cycle Activities Division, where for several years we worked together to build the Waste Interfaces Strategy Division, giving this activity and its players the recognition they deserve from the rest of the organisation. The success of which I am most proud is undeniably my technical, behavioural, strategic and managerial progress over the last 5 years of my career. I've gone from being a junior manager of a small team in a technical area on a geographical site to being in charge of a cross-functional department with around 250 employees, and thus a member of the Business Unit's executive committee.

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

It's clear that professional success cannot be achieved by going it alone. It comes from meeting people who are passionate about what they do, and from the guidance and advice offered by certain managers and HR people who fully embody their role. My current manager is a real coach who challenges you in preparation and supports you during the match, with the only conceivable goal of victory.

Your hopes and future challenges?

As I take over as head of a department that brings together a Research Department and a Technical/Innovation Department that have been separate until now, my next challenge will be to successfully create a new department through a co-construction process designed to unite all my colleagues.

What do you do when you don’t work?

I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my children, as well as my friends. I love dancing, singing and playing sports.

Your heroes -from History or fiction?

Simone Veil is a true contemporary heroine. An exceptional person, marked by a dramatic adolescence and characterised by a great capacity for resilience that enabled her to continue to believe in the goodness of humankind. She never ceased to use her intelligence and strength of character to defend the most vulnerable. In particular, she has been a staunch defender of women's rights and their emancipation.

A saying or proverb you like in particular?

“In life, nothing is to be feared, everything is to be understood." Marie Curie

A book to take with you on a desert island?

"Le petit Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

A message to young female professionals?

Dare to choose the professional path that suits you, rather than settling for the one that is chosen for you.


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