He follows his dream, he wants to become a university professor. For years he fights himself through the German academic system, but that is not always easy. And the future is uncertain, very uncertain to say the least. An interview with Dr. Eloi Montanez (43 years old).
NSC: At what stage of your career are you?
Eloi Montanez: I am a group leader. Meaning that I conduct independent research, apply for my own grants, have a few PhD students and a TA working for me. The next step, which should follow soon, is to get a permanent group leader or independent investigator position, or become a “W2 professor”.
NSC: Did you always want to become a researcher?
Montanez: Yes. However, if I read interviews with other researchers or young professors, their career paths are very smooth. Mine isn’t and that is mainly due to the fact that I sometimes had my doubts and followed interests outside of research. After my PhD I took a year off to travel the world, broaden my horizon, and to make sure that research was what I really wanted. Then after my postdoc, I took another few months to re-charge my batteries and travel with my partner.
Those “out times” were very good for me, they confirmed that fundamental research is what I want to do, and I learned lots of other things during those travels that you won’t learn in the lab. Getting out of my comfort zone and challenge myself a bit. Unfortunately academia does not really welcome those breaks.…