BatteReverse’s Women in Science interview series aims to shine a spotlight on the project’s women partners and the important role they play in contributing to science and technology.

Mireia Mesas Suárez leads the Environmental and Industrial Risk - Water, Air and Soil Unit at Eurecat. Her love for the environment led her to pursue Environmental Technologies and Chemical Engineering at university, which now allows her to address many of society’s problems as a researcher. Learn more about Mireia’s life and journey towards a career in science.

What inspired you to pursue a career in science?

Being a student, I always loved science and more specifically all fields related to the environment such as the impact of pollutants on the environment and environmental technologies. This is the main reason that led me to study Chemical Engineering and to earn a Master’s degree in Natural Resources Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia.

After finishing university, I started working in a technological centre, Fundació CTM Centre Tecnològic, which later became Fundació Eurecat Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya (Eurecat). I started working on R&D projects related to environmental technology and sustainability in the field of waste minimisation, reuse and recovery, water treatment, circular economy and industrial processes sustainability.

My career has been a great opportunity to participate in a wide range of projects focused on very diverse topics, facing new challenges every day that have a great impact on our society. I also highlight the possibility of interacting with many people with different profiles over the years.

What led you to your current position?

I am currently responsible for the Environmental and Industrial Risk Assessment in the Water, Air and Soil (WAS) Unit of Eurecat and I have more than 18 years of experience in the management and coordination of international and national research and development projects related to environmental technologies and sustainability. Some years ago, I started focusing on the assessment of the impact of pollutants on health and the environment, applying methodologies of chemical risk analysis for human health and ecosystems and microbiological risk analysis. Thus, I have gained significant expertise in this field through the execution of numerous R&D national and European private and financed projects from different calls such as LIFE, H2020 and HORIZON Europe.

What is your role in BatteReverse and how do you like it so far?

Regarding Battereverse, I am involved in identifying potential risks during reverse logistics steps, which we are leading from Eurecat. In this task, we will identify and analyse potential risks of the reverse logistics processes by applying the most adequate Process Hazard Analysis (PHA) methodologies to the selected process steps in order to improve their safety. Afterwards, we will also apply PHA methodologies to assess the safety of the final processes.

What do you hope to achieve in your career?

In the future, I hope to continue working in Environmental and Industrial Risk Assessment and consolidate my expertise through the execution of projects addressing different sectors, products and technologies. I would also like to have the opportunity to research more in this field and apply my knowledge to new R&D projects to contribute to the development of innovative approaches and methodologies aimed at risk assessment.

What do you like to do when you are not working?

In my free time I like to travel and enjoy moments with my family and friends. I also practise Pilates and I love films.

What advice do you have for other women who would liketo follow in your footsteps?

I would recommend for them to choose a career they like and to pursue their goals, always keeping in mind that they are capable of doing it.