Sílvia Rocha

Sílvia Rocha
Auxiliar Professor
Departament of Chemistry
Universidade de Aveiro
Campus Universitário de Santiago
3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
el.234 401 524

1. What are your personal perspectives as a researcher?
The ultimate goal of my research is to contribute to the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources and to the life quality of citizens. Thus, my plans as researcher are directed towards growing in my areas of research, regarding different levels of action. I think I'll have to increase my efforts to ensure sustainable funding sources as I expect to get support to go on with my research team. This aspect is very important to develop a quality work, without the pressure of productivity indicators based on the number of publications. This current trend is fundamental to get financial support but can often deflate the quality of work.

I also expect to strengthen collaboration networks with research centres of excellence in Portugal and abroad. Also, closer relationships with potential partners in society (i.e. relevant industries, hospitals, among others) should be the driving force and the lever to give visibility to the work we do at UA and to guarantee opportunities for technology transfer and commercialization of developed knowledge. They can also be a professional opportunity for the post-graduate students.

Time Management - this is something that is always present in my mind. The multiple tasks that I have as a teacher and researcher are often a limiting factor to achieve the expectations that I will create.

2. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges in your area of research?
One ultimate goal, contribute to the responsible and sustainable use of natural resources and to the life quality of citizens, and two main areas of research, i.e., food chemistry and health metabolomics.

One of the greatest challenges in these areas of research that involve multiple skills and the study of complex systems is the ability to create multidisciplinary teams and put them in communication.

Several studies on the valuation of natural products and optimization of industrial processes are in many cases dependent on whether we find an industrial partner or a farmer who can provide samples under well defined conditions. Healthy studies also present similar challenge. It is essential to establish good collaborations with hospitals. Farmers, manufacturers, or personal from hospitals will be our patterns in the research steps; they will also benefit from the results and may be the clients of the technologies that can be developed. It's a big challenge to create complicities and collaboration networks at these levels, especially at an early step of research.

3. Where are the strengths of the UA in your opinion?
One of the main strengths of UA is its internal organization and the campus. The campus presents a set of departmental buildings, which allow the proximity between people with different backgrounds and skills.

4. Could you give one idea to improve research in the UA?
The improvement of the research should be based on a global and sustainable strategy. Single ideas are not the best way to improve it. Anyway, I can share two ideas.

To communicate: Inside the UA to strengthen the complementarities between the various research groups, and outside to increase the visibility of UA research skills, as it is a relatively new university. This task force may act as a catalytic force to establish good collaborations with other top universities, facilitating the access to funding programs and to attract good teachers, researchers and students. In parallel, it should be crucial to identify/define anchor research areas where we can be the players at international level.

última atualização a 14-07-2014
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