Today it is my turn to introduce myself and my research in this blog. My name is Esther Roeven, I am 28 years old and just started the 3rd year of my PhD.
I grew up in Limburg in the south of the Netherlands and I still live there, which means I travel back and forth to Wageningen 5 days a week (yes I am this crazy). Luckily, I am not the only one who spends more than two hours per day in a car and for us crazy people there is also something called carpooling, helping us to manage doing this every day.
So you might wonder: “Esther! What makes life in Limburg so good that it makes you want to stay there instead of moving to Wageningen?”
Well, all my friends, family and my partner live there. Furthermore, there’s my hobby and great passion: horse-riding that requires training almost every day and competitions in the weekend. But enough about my hobbies…
Of course, you can phrase the same question differently: “But then, what makes research in Wageningen so good that makes you want to work there?”
I started my chemistry career in Wageningen in 2010, when I decided to do my BSc thesis at Surfix BV, a spin-off company of the Organic Chemistry department (ORC). The company was only just established earlier that year and I was basically the first “employee”. Since Surfix was located in the same building as ORC, there was a close collaboration between the two from the very beginning and I felt right at home. After obtaining my BSc in Molecular Science and Engineering at the Fontys Hogeschool in Eindhoven, I continued working at Surfix, still in Wageningen. Although I really enjoyed working there, I also developed the feeling that, in the end, I would regret ending my education just after finishing a BSc. I discussed this feeling with my boss and Prof. Han Zuilhof, both of whom gave hearing to my doubts and eventually I was given the fantastic opportunity to start a PhD in collaboration with Surfix. The best of both worlds for me! 🙂
The research project I am currently working on is about surface chemistry or, more precise, antifouling coatings.
My aim is to develop a new method to create anti-biofouling coatings that are suitable for implementation in industry, whilst keeping the same excellent performance of the state of the art coatings that are developed in the academic world.
I was lucky enough to join last years’ trip to Denmark and Sweden which was a great success, and I am really looking forward to our trip to Israel next year.