After successfully obtaining his Master’s degree in Civil Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, Seyed started his doctoral programme in maritime transportation at the University of Antwerp. During his research, he faced many educational and research related challenges but in the end, those challenges helped him become a better version of himself and overcome difficulties in real life.

Three months after her PhD defense on the topic of decentralized energy systems, Iolanda Saviuc took a moment to reflect on her PhD process. She became curious about the connection that people who did a PhD share and wondered what is behind this connection. In her research column she compares her PhD journey with the the classic divide between ‘hedgehogs’ and ‘foxes’, people knowing one thing and in-depth, and people knowing many things, not in-depth.

In retrospect, Joris Beckers’ PhD was a mix of heights and lows, of opportunism and altruism, of freedom and pressure, and many more dualities. While these challenges are not necessarily different from other endeavours in life, he believes it is the extent of the contrasts that really sets this job apart. Coping with these extremes required some unique factors.

In October 2014 Alexander Paternoster started his PhD journey under the supervision of professor Johan Braet and professor Johan Springael. He investigated one of the most ‘appealing’ research topics of the University of Antwerp: the effect of the transport and storage conditions during the distribution of Belgian exported beer (and the economic consequences) on the beer flavour and aroma.