In December 2016, Giacomo Damilano started his PhD studies at KU Leuven researching the synthesis of novel Ionic Liquids starting from renewable materials, in the framework of the EU MSCA-ETN SOCRATES project. (Leuven 05/10/2018)

Why did you choose to work in Belgium?

I was looking for an opportunity to continue my education in the field I choose during my masters. I was not aiming to go to Belgium in particular, as I was up for any European country or even a little bit further. I wanted to meet and match a new culture, to grow personally. In 2016, I found a vacancy in Belgium, and I got selected. So off I went to Leuven. I am very happy to be here, as amongst many other advantages, Leuven is in the center of Europe, allowing to easily room around in EU.

What are you working on?

My research is about the synthesis of novel ionic liquids and extractants for metal extraction. It is a challenging field, filled up with restrictions to do your research properly, but satisfying when you get over the many issues you have through your research path.

What attracts you in the research project you are working on?

One of the aspects that really motivates me, is to have the opportunity to foster my field of research and to contribute actively to its development. Also, I cherish the possibility to grow personally through doing the research and to discuss my challenges and achievements with friends and colleagues.

What do you like the most about doing research?

I think what I really love is to see the things fitting into place. I also love the unexpected results. They can be annoying sometimes but at the same time, they are fun because it means that the work you are doing derails from the customary path and more is to be discovered.

What’s something you want to do in the next year that you’ve never done before?

Take an MBA degree.

How do you recharge?

I recharge in many different ways. I like solving puzzles or do some more creative works (currently memories scrapbooking. I also manage to unwind while focused on my cooking or coding, reading and chilling with the one that I love. Simply being silly, careless, selfless, myself, works all fine for me 🙂

BIO Giacomo Damilano

Giacomo Damilano was born in Bologna, Italy in 1989. He obtained his bachelor degree in “pure and materials chemistry” at the University of Bologna. Then, he moved to London to undertake his masters studies in “Green chemistry: energy and environment” at the Imperial College of London. In December 2016, he started his PhD studies at KU Leuven researching the synthesis of novel Ionic Liquids starting from renewable materials. In an enthusiastic presentation he reported: “Ionic liquids are marvellous materials! They are salts liquid at about room temperature with unique proprieties as, for example, nearly non-existent vapour pressure, which avoids both financial and environmental issues related to solvents evaporation”. His work is a key component of the SOCRATES MCSA network, in which he is assigned to the production of novel extraction media for metal extraction with a remarkable increase in the hydrophobic domains of the solvent.

Want to know more about other SIM² KU Leuven researchers?

You can read multiple interviews here.