Turning the spotlight on Elisa: What did you study and how long have you been working for KWB?
Like some other colleagues, I studied Environmental Engineering at the TU Berlin. After three years of working for the International Climate Initiative (IKI), I missed the water research issues which used to be my former passion. So in September 2019 I joined the KWB and have been working in the Process Innovation Unit since then.
How do you provide your skills and expertise to the KWB team?
In the energy and resources team, I deal a lot with the technical and regulatory aspects of circular economy and nutrient recovery, e.g. in the Circular Agronomics project. In this context, nitrogen or phosphorus from wastewater or sewage sludge play a key role as potential future fertiliser components. Besides, I work on a wide range of topics such as water reuse or greenhouse gas balancing, so my tasks are very multifaceted. I try to realise a productive and open-minded exchange at all levels: in-house, in the project development and in the umwproject collaborations throughout Europe.
What major social issues does your work have to do with?
Oh, with very many. Environmental and nature protection, security of supply and disposal, sustainability, resource efficiency and climate change are probably the most important.
Is there a particular research trend or new research topics that you find particularly exciting? In your opinion, what are the key issues important for the future? What are the development needs?
The trend is definitely towards digitisation and innovative (technology) solutions. To face climate change and increasing water demand, resilient, flexible and cross-sectoral technical solutions will be required in the future. In my opinion, however, this also includes flexible ways of thinking and people’s willingness to adapt themselves to new conditions. Highly complex automation processes are not always necessary for instance to control water demand. I think we should take a closer look at our way of life in society. What is important to us and where are simple strategies equally effective?
How do you stay up-to-date in your area of research and how do you upskill yourself?
During my everyday work I always come across new ideas, of course, but in addition, I maintain my previous professional network as well as possible. Apart from that, I have subscribed to a few newsletters, read specialist literature and take part in conferences/webinars or similar.
Is there anything that makes you particularly proud working at KWB?
It is an honour to be part of the KWB team and to research at the gates of the “major social issues”.
And what do you do if you are not busy at KWB (and there is no pandemic)?
I am a very sociable person, meet a lot with friends and enjoy the cultural diversity of Berlin. When I have more time, I get out of Berlin into the green countryside and the blue water! I like to go hiking and gliding on or in the water.
And to round off our talk, please complete the following sentence, if you like: The KWB is a special place because …
… great people are working here with whom all surprises are fun.