Department of Physical Geography, Stockholm University (Sweden) and Utrecht University (Netherlands)
My name is Josefin Thorslund, I am from Sweden and I’m currently working at the Department of Physical Geography, both at Stockholm University and at Utrecht University, through a mobility grant funded by the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development; FORMAS.
I’m a hydrologist with a background in water quality assessment. My current research project is about freshwater salinisation, both assessing its large-scale drivers and quantifying its impact on quality-driven water scarcity, particularly for the irrigation sector around the world. This is needed because elevated salinity of freshwater resources is a common water quality issue, which could strongly affect water availability.
I didn’t really have a concrete idea for my current project when I decided to write a research grant – but I gave myself some time to brainstorm ideas (alone and with my former supervisor) and look for interesting collaborators. Slowly the idea of freshwater salinity issues and the coupling of this water quality parameter to water scarcity came about.
I really like the global focus and relevance of my current project, and the societal implications of it. There are so many places where salinity is or could become an issue, where it could impact water quality and water use for the irrigation sector – if my research could make some contribution to improving knowledge around food production – that’s motivating! I also never planned this – but I’ve learnt to code in this project, and coding is so powerful and fun (when it works), that gets me excited to try more things. My research has taken me many places – from conferences in Colombia, the US and Europe, to camping in the Mongolian wilderness to tubing down alligator rich rivers in Florida… Experiences I probably wouldn’t have had without my academic career!
All women in my field, both senior researchers and my peers, inspire me! I wish I had known before starting my academic career that hard work will only get you so far, having a successful research career also involves a lot of timing, luck and the right connections! I believe academia should be a place of equality and inclusion, with more employment security. I love research, but sometimes the surrounding academic structures and attitudes makes me nervous about continuing down this path. Having a secure academic position, teaching and doing fun research would really be a dream. My alternative dream has always been to run a small restaurant or a boutique hotel somewhere sunny; I love good food and wine and taking care of people.
Check out Josefin’s publications on Google Scholar
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