To one and all reading this blog,
Welcome to the territory of all things science, this is the home of all the dreams, aspirations, and takeaways of the Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) of our project M2ex-ITN-EJD, summarized in a neat little packet.
Don’t feel intimidated by the ESRs, they are just a bunch of lifelong learners who decided to become students once again in a special project funded by the European Commission and falling under the Marie Sklodowska Curie Actions program.
To get you started, our project deals with a basic technology to produce natural gas (Methane) called Anaerobic digestion (Check out our previous blog introducing the topic). We are specifically interested in learning how important metals are to the microorganisms driving these technologies. Like how your body needs iron, calcium and potassium to remain healthy and fit, the microorganism living in the ‘digesters’, require few trace metals to survive and continue making precious methane for us. We call them ‘digesters’, because like your stomach they break down large complex compounds (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) to produce methane. Some ESR’s within the project is trying to clean up trace metals from the environment and redirect them into supporting/ enhancing the digester’s activity, while others are making new mathematical formulas to help operators use metals more cleverly. This in turn creates a cycle of processes that can become quite efficient with limited waste production. We like such processes because they can become milestones for the future circular bioeconomy.
So, now you know a little bit about the project, but not so fast.
Quickly imagine a Ph.D. student, Go !!
Did you imagine a nerdy spectacled group constantly in the library? You might have imagined the topper of your class, eh?? I am happy to say that most Ph.D. students nowadays break this outdated stereotype.
The people who make up the project, the ESRs, are much like your classmates or colleagues. They are very curious about the environment around them, they don’t know everything and are open to finding ways to gather information to reveal unknown details. They like asking hard-hitting questions that can boggle your mind. Think of a student on a path to knowing, finding, and enlightening themselves and pushing the scientific community towards new frontiers.
Our students are a unique bunch, who have varied interests apart from their STEM passions. To name a few (improve theatre, hiking, wildlife protection campaigns, playing the saxophone, cooking, dancing, snowboarding, climbing, and landscape photography).
Over the next year and a half, you will hear from each and every one of them.
I am pretty sure they are excited to share their thoughts, experiences, life learnings, and everything under their hat through the medium of these blogs, and you, dear reader, will come out of it learning more than you had expected. If you connect with any of the opinions here; drop us an email or ping us on social media: Our ESRs will be more than happy to chat with you.
Now the red carpet is rolled out for ESR 5 Alexandra, who will tell you how this project has been a life-changing experience for the best.
Stay tuned for Alexandra’s blog next month!