Research Life

Palermo, Italy Palermo, Italy

Last week I attended the Frontiers International Conference on Wastewater Treatment in Palermo, Italy. The organizers had put a lot of effort to invite well renowned persons as key note speakers and although it was a bit weird to me that they had choosen 100% white men the speakers without doubt gave very good presentation on the state of the art in their respective area of research. The layout of the conference with no parallell sessions made it easy to interact and I got to discuss my research – and other topics of interest – with experienced researchers in my field.

The organizers had also put a lot of attention to the social program so every night we got onto a bus that took us to different palaces where we could admire the splendor of times past and dine in these beutiful surroundings. One of these evenings I was seated at a table with other young researchers and since we didn't know each other from before we struck up conversation based on the badges where your name and affiliation is written. I was happy to see that many of them were from DTU where a former classmate of mine is doing her PhD and we found out that we all had past or present colleagues in common. It was also funny to note that none of them were actually from Denmark, nor am I from Spain which was the country written on my badge and the only Italian at the table was working in Switzerland. So except from sharing colleagues and topics of research we also shared the experience of working abroad, which is quite typical when you pursue a research career.
What to conclude from this? Well, the world of wastewater research is pretty small, a research career let you travel to wonderful places and meet interesting and dedicated people, and some structures still persist where top positions are dominated by men.