Today, I have the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Miguel Abambres. Miguel is a passionate Portuguese scientist, born in Lisbon in 1984 (Leo), and also a cat guy who loves traveling and teaching. He received his degree in Civil/Structural engineering in 2007 from IST (University of Lisbon) after spending the final semester of his undergrad at TU Delft. He received his PhD in 2014 from IST (University of Lisbon) on the topic of computational mechanics (novel FE formulation) applied to thin-walled carbon/stainless steel structural members. He did a post-doc at FCT (University of Coimbra, Portugal) in 2017-2018 on the development of an AI-based software for nonlinear regression problems in any field of knowledge. He also has 1,5 years of experience as a structural engineer in national and international firms, has spend 1,5 years as a under/postgrad professor (in Spanish) in Lima, Peru, and has worked 9,5 years as a scientist in several countries. His research interests include: Applied Computational Intelligence, Artificial Neural Networks, Civil Engineering, Structural Engineering, and Steel Structures. Besides Portugal, he has lived in Holland, Australia, Norway, Perú, Colombia and Brazil. This interview was conducted in August 2018.
Current Job: Pro bono scientist
Current Location: Lisbon, Portugal
Current mobile device: black Samsung Galaxy A3
Current computer: hp pavilion x360 convertible (laptop)
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I’m in a sabbatical year since I finished my postdoc (Feb 20th, 2018), but actively looking for a faculty position since then (Europe, Canada or Latin America preferred). After finishing postdoc, in which I developed/validated an Artificial Neural Network software for functional approximation and classification problems in any field of knowledge, I’ve started looking for collaborations worldwide aiming to apply my software to real problems and propose novel analytical models to the scientific and technical communities (interested researchers are very welcome to get in touch @AbambresM and/or ResearchGate).
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
Windows-based laptop and desktop computer (running MATLAB simulations 24/7), Android-based cell phone, fast internet, MS office, MATLAB software, AnyDesk software/app.
What does your workspace setup look like?
I LOVE to work, so I might work anywhere as long as I have my laptop and a quiet/cozy place. My favorite office is in my place in Lisbon, where I work most of the time when i´m in town. At the moment I don´t have any institutional office (also, that´s not a requirement in my job seeking ? )
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Work exclusively on what you love and with the people you like. Rest enough and have some workout every week.
How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
Checking email and the daily task list written on my phone’s calendar.
Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
A smart plug to schedule the time my home office fan is working when i´m abroad, in order to avoid computer overheating in hot days (air conditioning is much better, but mine cannot be accessed remotely)
Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
Analytical, hard-worker, ambitious and passionate (all in one ?)
What do you listen to when you work?
None, some American hiphop (50 cent, Ryan Leslie), TV news in the background, classical music
What are you currently reading? How do you find time for reading?
I don’t like reading….never did…only news in social media and job-related reading!
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
Introvert. I am more productive when alone, but sometimes it feels good working at relatively quiet public places (libraries, coffee shops)
What’s your sleep routine like?
When i´m employed, I like starting the day quite early. I try to sleep at least 7 h every night (if I cant some night, I compensate in other night). I´m a night owl when i´m not employed (2-6 am).
What’s your work routine like?
I don´t have a fixed routine. I work whenever i´m not doing basic tasks or hanging out. Every single day is a working day for me (as long as I work on what i´m passionate about).
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Be happy, follow your dreams, follow your inner voice.