It was a strange coincidence that I ended up in Girona. After many years of studying and working in southern Sweden I had started to think that it was time to return to my hometown, 200 km above the arctic circle, which name in local Sami language happens to be Giron! But faith wanted differently, exciting research projects were not abundant in that little mining town and all of a sudden a very exciting possibility appeared in my weekly EURAXESS email: the chance to do an industrial PhD in the field of wastewater treatment at the University of Girona.

Strings of numbers run across the screen in the office, wastewater is gurgling, passing through a filter in the lab and in the huge room across the hall a spectrometer is whizzing, hungry again for the next sample to digest. Suddenly, a tiny, wicked thought emerges, announcing the meeting downstairs started two minutes ago. And here I am, in the thick of it all and loving it!

Accidentally, my name is also Pau (my full name is Vicent Pau, but I prefer just Pau. It is easier) and accidentally again, I also come from the Valencia region (Spain), more precisely, from Castellón. If you want to try the original paella, just visit our region!

Yes, that’s my new job title. Sounds really cool, I know. Funny how life changes, isn’t it? Just a few months ago my job title was “Sales Assistant” in a wee gift shop in Edinburgh (Scotland), ironically named “The wee gift shop”. That is until a phone call changed everything. Now I am a Marie Curie fellow working for Atkins, one of the biggest engineering consultancies in the world. I have been paying to learn things my whole life, now I get paid for it. I mean, really, it’s amazing how life changes.

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