How I Became a Water Researcher

Michele Ponzelli (ESR12)

I am Michele, and I was born in Jesi, a small town in the central area of Italy. I am a 28 years old man, but I am also an environmental engineer, or as you can read from my NOWELTIES profile, I am an ESR 12 that means early stage researcher: a first-time researcher.

Many people think that we engineers, so neat and attentive to detail, can use the same precision in programming every step of our lives, but it is not always so.

To understand who I am, I think it is important to explain what brought me to Girona.

Nine years ago, I chose the engineering faculty because I really wanted to understand how things work, how to improve them, and this gave me the feeling of being able to control what I had around me.

Over time, I got closer to the theme of the environment and of water, two themes that have merged during my university career and they guided me.

I became aware of my purpose, the reason why, every day, I devote myself to the study of physical, chemical, and biological treatments to purify wastewater.

Bringing water back to its original condition meant not only carrying out an experiment, but also thinking about the future, about my loved ones, about the people I could help with my research.

My “thirst” for knowledge was not satisfied: I decided to travel and to share ideas, to understand how others were dealing with the same theme.

For this reason, I have decided to undertake more than one university degree, both in Europe and North America.

This last destination should have been the final one, but at the end of my experience, I felt that I had not done enough for my own continent.

I realized that to improve water treatment technologies there is a need for commitment, cooperation, development, and dissemination.

These are the words that guided my return to Europe, and that allow me, today, to tell you my story.

Water is one of the most precious resources that we have; I will never stop to say so.

The blue color of water is the first thing we notice when we think about our planet. However, it is not just a beautiful view to observe. Water is part of all our daily actions, and above all, water keeps all of us alive.

What we – ESRs – will try to do in this blog is to explain to you about our everyday work as researchers: processes, objectives, challenges, and achievements.

I am convinced that the European Union has given us a great mission and one of our researchers’ duties is to share what we are doing with the people.