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Erik Nilsson

Erik Nilsson

Erik Nilsson did his thesis work on the patterns and drivers of regional crop production in Chad. He looked at both water-related issues and socio-economic aspects influencing it. He finished his PHD in 2019.

After finishing his PhD, becoming a post-doc was the next step. A position that was dedicated to both teaching and research. After the post-doc, Erik moved on to becoming an associate senior lecturer, which is his current employment. In this role he teaches about hydrology and water resource management. His main research project concerns capacity building in water resources in Rwanda. It’s a SIDA financed project which is in collaboration with a university in Rwanda. Aiming to strengthen and contribute to their research and teaching at the university.  In collaboration with the university in Rwanda, Erik also tries to identify new research projects to proceed the cooperation.

The main interest and aim with his research, he tells, is to bridge the gap between engineering and societal aspects. He seeks to work with broadening the usual ways of simply engineer solutions and incorporate and create cooperation for more involvement of societal aspects and solutions. 

Some lessons learnt through the PhD is becoming more aware of the complexity and all the factors needed to be included to have a real impact through the research. Erik also reflects that there is a lot of opportunities regarding research prospects, but it demands more work than what he expected when stepping into the academic path.  The need and value of cooperation with both other researchers and those that are supposed to use the solutions put forward, has become more prominent to him.

Reflecting, he says that there are some things he would have wished for during his time as a PhD student. More emphasis and preparation during the PhD to do future research would have been valuable. Such as practicing writing research applications, as that work can be a heavy burden on top of other fulltime commitments. Practicing teaching was something Erik also felt was lacking, considering the amount of the workload he later experienced it takes. Also, the amount of time spent alone during the research is both a freedom but also difficult, therefore seeking collaborations with other researchers could be beneficial.

Working together and collaborating is therefore one of the advices he would give to current and future PhDs. Taking opportunities to give presentations, teach and participate in writing research proposals is additional advises. This, to work on the skills that later will be needed if pursuing a career in academia. 

ClimBEco he says is a nice forum to connect to other researchers, to break the loneliness that doing a PhD can entail, to get exposed to research in other disciplines, and he urges people to make use of that opportunity to connect to their fellow students.