Talking with: Cristina García-Simon

Cristina García-Simon was graduated in Chemistry at the University of Girona and she performed the PhD in the Institut de Química Computacional i Catàlisi (IQCC) under the supervision of Prof. Xavi Ribas and Prof. Miquel Costas in the field of synthesis of molecular nanocapsules for supramolecular host-guest chemistry and enzyme-like catalysis. Then, she worked as a postdoctoral investigator at the IQCC-University of Girona. After, she worked as a project manager at the IQCC-University of Girona. Nowadays, and since May 2019, she is a material scientist in the Hunstman Corporation company (Swiss).

Do you believe that completing the PhD at IQCC was fundamental in securing the position you currently hold?

Sure. Beyond acquiring chemistry knowledge, the problem-solving skills developed during my PhD at IQCC have proven crucial in my current role. Tackling complex scientific challenges, devising innovative solutions, and adapting research methodologies learned during my PhD have been indispensable in addressing real-world issues in the industrial setting.

Could you provide a brief overview of the central theme in your research?

As a team lead at Huntsman Advanced Materials, I’m involved in diverse research lines focusing on chemistries like epoxies, polyurethanes, and acrylates, applied in various fields such as adhesives and materials for electric vehicles. Our primary focus in Research and Development is to innovate and formulate compounds, bridging the gap between molecular structures and material properties for enhanced product performance.

What were the main reasons to work in an international industry?

After completing my PhD at IQCC and contributing to the startup Gioxcat at the institute, I was ready for the next challenge. I was interested in exploring opportunities in an industrial environment, and I found a compelling opportunity in my current company. Importantly, I could pursue this while maintaining my primary focus on R&D.

Looking back, would you choose to follow the same path?

Definitely yes. Moving from the IQCC environment to a large international private corporation was a bit challenging; I was certainly pushed out of my comfort zone. But I am really happy I did, as it has been (and continues to be) a huge learning experience in my professional career. Not only did I learn how research works in industry, but I also gained a greater business awareness and learned about new chemistries. It has been a truly enriching experience.

Do you foresee continuity with your actual company?

I am excited about continuing my contribution to Huntsman. Over the past few years, I have acquired valuable knowledge and skills that will enable me to support the team in addressing our upcoming technical challenges. I believe we will encounter excellent opportunities in the years ahead.

Girona, February 15, 2024
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