The decision to move to Tarragona came right at the end of my PhD studies, a busy time to be applying for postdoctorate positions and writing grant applications! My better half wanted to be closer and spend more time with her family and I aimed to finally get to grips with speaking Spanish (duolingo in Manchester wasn’t getting me far!).
It seemed almost unbelievable that there would be a world renown research institute in chemistry right on the doorstep. But when life just seems to work out, why question it? I had previously met Prof. Martin during a visit he made to Manchester several years earlier and the seminar he gave on performing carboxylations on feedstock materials had made a lasting impression on me. In particular, the high level of control they were able to develop through fine tuning of the reaction conditions, often leading to divergent protocols from the same starting materials. From the very start, the project management department at ICIQ were amazing in their support as Ruben and I bounced back and forth project ideas and came up with the grant application. Between defending my thesis, packing up our belongings to move country (a logistical challenge due to an intervening 3 week hike from Innsbruck to Venice) and moving out our flat, this was a somewhat crazy time.
Unfortunately, I just missed out getting the fellowship that time around but with no complaints on the project itself. Encouraged by this, reapplication to the following call after thinking a bit more carefully about my future… success! I’m not sure luck comes into it with all the experience and help the project management department provides but I certainly feel lucky for the opportunity to be carry out this prestigious fellowship at ICIQ with its’ forward thinking views on sustainable chemistry and in such a wonderful location too.