I came to Granada directly after my 1-month research visit to the University of Toronto, where I have been learning from Professor Emma Master´s PhD students the ins and outs of enzymatic modification of biomass. Due to the time difference and the long-haul flight, I have been accumulating too many hours spent awake. Then I had to learn that the timetables during scientific events in Spain are done respectively to the unbearable heat but also to maximize the time well spent. That meant interesting presentations and discussions all day in the cozy hotel, then once the temperature was going down we were out exploring the cuisine and culture of Granada. To close our first day, we had a fantastic Spanish dinner very late, and we got back to the hotel even later. This way we have avoided the heat of the day, but also sleep.
Nevertheless, I had a presentation to execute on the second day. No matter how tired I was, I tried to present to the best of my abilities. I see these occasions as great opportunities not just for updating team members but also a great way to seek direction, advice, and help for the next step in my research. It is a privilege to get a lot of possibilities for presentations to various crowds during one’s PhD journey. Broader the audience could give feedback on areas that are not primarily in one’s mind. I am especially glad that we have industrial partners. Input from UPM is very valuable since they are our direct contact with customers and productions, and they can give great insight into limitations and possibilities.
Next year the emphasis will be on collaborations. During the plenary, it became apparent how each of our work could benefit from and connect to other´s research. This way we can accelerate our scientific output and move towards applications.
We closed the plenary with the most authentic experience in Granada: a guided night tour in the Alhambra. Walking through these ancient buildings in the sunset and the night lights was a great gift after one year of hard work.
The 3rd plenary meeting will be held in Stockholm, and now it is up to us at KTH to organize it!
Zsuzsanna Péter-Szabó (KTH)