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“Being able to interact with people that were interested in different facets of research made sense in the bigger picture”

Why, what, how and where: an alumnus takes stock of his experience as a predoctoral researcher at IMDEA Networks

We interview one of the members of our Alumni Network, Dr. Paul Patras, during his recent visit to IMDEA Networks. Paul obtained his PhD from IMDEA Networks and Universidad Carlos III de Madrid back in March 2011 and is now an Associate Professor in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. This makes him the first member of our Alumni Network to achieve tenure.
 

Why did you decide to pursue a PhD?

I think there were two reasons for pursuing a PhD. So the first one I think it was that I had a job and it was not intellectually fulfilling, and the second one is the fact that I always sort of felt attracted to solving puzzles. So I thought I could do a PhD.

What would you highlight about your time as a PhD student at IMDEA Networks?

Maybe the fact that I made a lot of friends, I had the chance to work with people from different countries, on different projects, and I got to travel quite a bit. So I think that helped and allowed me to understand how different people work and how to take the best out of different cultures.

Do you feel your time at IMDEA Networks prepared you well for your professional career?

I think it certainly has, given the fact that I’m still in academia. I think that having the opportunity to work on collaborative projects which were funded by the EU in that case, being able to interact with people that were interested in different facets of research… that made sense in the bigger picture and I could understand how my research can complement the research of other people. I think it was quite beneficial.

Have you moved into industry, academia or the research sector?

I was fortunate enough to stay in academia, despite that I’m in a place which is very much geared towards research, so I think I’ve got the best of both worlds. And I’m also privileged to be able to teach things that are very much related to my research.