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Exciting projects, biomass and forests attract international competence

18 March 2022, 10:42

Biomass, exciting projects and a focus on sustainability and proximity to nature are some of the things that attracted Payam Ghiaci from Iran and Rabia Ayub from Pakistan to RISE Processum.

At the job interview,”Ghiaci explains, “RISE Processum told me that there was a good chance that RISE would get the investments needed to build the High Throughput Center, allowing me a lot of freedom to build something from scratch. This kind of investment with this degree of freedom shows up very rarely. I didn’t want to miss it, so I said: ‘Let’s go.’”

From Iran by way of Gothenburg

Payam Ghiaci immediately felt that there was room here for his own initiatives and ideas. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Iran and a master’s degree at the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, where he also did his doctorate and postdoc. This was followed by a second postdoc in Germany at the IMBL Institute in Heidelberg before receiving the offer from RISE Processum. “As there were already many colleagues from different parts of the world when I came here, it has been easy to settle in,” Ghiaci adds

One dozen nationalities

In Payam Ghiaci’s group, there are six nationalities represented. At RISE Processum, together with MoRe Research, both part of RISE, there are 12 nationalities with colleagues from Iran, Algeria, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Italy, India and Pakistan, to name a few

“I was a bit worried about being bored in a small town,” Ghiaci explains. “I asked myself: What do people do after work? I worried unnecessarily. You can do a lot here, including a wide range of sports and you’re close to nature. I’m five minutes from skiing, five minutes from tennis, and there are plenty of opportunities to get to know people from Örnsköldsvik if you dare make contact, so I’m also very happy outside work.”

In search of forests and biomass

Rabia Ayub joined RISE Processum’s chemistry group in August 2020. She is originally from Lahore, Pakistan. Ayub completed her PhD in organic chemistry at Uppsala University in 2017. She then did her postdoc at Stockholm University, focusing on lignin. And that’s what attracted her to RISE Processum.

“There are a lot of forests around and lots of biomass and thus lots of lignin,” Ayub says. “RISE Processum fits very well with my area of research, and I feel strongly about our work for sustainability.”

Rabia Ayub is particularly interested in how small molecules, often produced from petroleum products, can instead be created from biomass, replacing fossil fuels with bio-based ones.

“At RISE Processum, we have a wide and varied field of assignments with ever new challenges and collaborations with universities and industries. This is important to me as I like challenges,” Ayub adds.

Coolness and small scal

It’s not just the challenges Ayub appreciates. “I come from Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest and second-warmest city,” Ayub explains. “It has over six million inhabitants, and the temperature can reach well over 40 degrees. I prefer the cold in Sweden. In the cold, you can put on warm clothes, but to escape the heat, you have nowhere to go.” She also likes the small-scale of Örnsköldsvik, a small city close to nature. “It’s such a beautiful city,” Ayub adds. “I grew up in a large industrial city with large buildings and small parks. Now I have the forest and nature around the corner.”

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