October 3, 2017

KU doctoral student from Portugal: ”I could live in Klaipėda all my life”

Portuguese  Miguel Inácio from Boavista dos Pinheiros (Odemira) first came to Lithuania in 2013 to a graduate study programme under the Erasmus Mundus programme. Presently Miguel is a 3rd year doctoral student in the field of Ecology and Environmental Studies at Klaipėda University (KU). The young scientist also works in  the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research in Warnemünde, Germany. ”I can assert that Klaipėda University is a strong and well-known institution in the area of the Baltic Sea Research,” says Miguel Inácio.

A road from Portugal to Klaipėda

”Upon getting a master’s degree in the University of Ghent, Belgium, I made up my mind to study further:  I contacted profesors of KU, prof. dr. habil. Sergej Olenin and prof. dr. habil. Gerald Schernewski, who offered doctoral studies at Klaipėda University”, says Miguel Inácio.
”Moreover, I wanted to know Lithuania better, as southern Europe mistakenly believes that post-Soviet countries are underdeveloped. I wanted to get some personal experience, and now I can safely say that, after Portugal, Lithuania is the country where I could live all my life”, says Miguel. He was happy to state that Lithuanians were open and warm people, easy to approach and to communicate. ”Klaipėda is a cozy city. Lithuania, in my opinion, is a young country with numerous opportunities. I like it here and, I believe, I have well adapted to it”, smiles Miguel.
Miguel Inácio is presently a 3rd year doctoral student , and the topic of his doctoral dissertation is Assessment of Ecosystems-Provided Services in Coastal Waters. His scientific supervisor prof. dr. habil.  G. Schernewski proposed to carry out the research in Germany, therefore, Miguel joined the group of Coastal Research and Management in the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research.
Experience of participation in international programmes
The young scientist conducts his research by participating in an international BONUS project BaltCoast  which aims to create user-friendly methods and tools for practical and systemic use of new scientific discoveries in a complex coastal management system. ”That is a large project which was launched in 2015 and will end in 2018. I worked on two case studies: mussel cultivation in the Szczecin Lagoon, Germany, and a feasibility study  for building a beach in Nida, on the shore of the Curonian Lagoon. Presently we are  in almost the last stage of the BONUS project BaltCoast, we are planning last meetings and presentations in conferences, write project reports, and prepare publications”, says the scientists.
Last year, Miguel Inácio joined a national German project SECOS Synthesis. ”Those international projects are closely related to the topic of my dissertation. Incidentally, my supervisor always emphasises that we have to acquire international experience; that’s why I believe that the doctoral studies at Klaipėda University provide students with an opportunity of travelling and acquiring versatile international experience”, noted Miguel.
Healthy competition among universities
“I knew I was going to become a marine biologist when I was ten. In Portugal, I live by the sea, and probably because of that I feel fine in Klaipėda, too”, says Miguel and admits that work which requires communication with people is much more interesting for him than work in a laboratory. ”Beside writing the dissertation, I also teach, prepare articles, participate in conferences, work in projects, and contribute to their development”, characterises his activities doctoral student of KU Miguel Inácio.
As Miguel stated, the discussions on the reform of higher education, presently especially relevant to Lithuanians, took place in Portugal during his bachelor’s  and master’s studies. “Klaipeda University is truly a strong, exclusive, and important scientific centre in Western Lithuania. In the case of merging universities, everything will be centralized, and KU will lose its authenticity. However, we should not forget that competition, even between universities, is a positive thing that helps them grow.”