Once Upon a Time in ETERNITY

How does it feel to be a Marie Curie fellow in ETERNITY?! We are almost the very last Marie Curie Early Stage Researchers (ESR) in ITN 2020. We had the opportunity of being acknowledged as research assistants. It is a prestigious position that brought 14 ESRs together to work on the same goal in different locations, with different subtasks and approaches. ETERNITY teaches me that being in a team and working toward the same goal can bridge these differences as closely as possible. We had the opportunity to be in touch with high-end industries, top universities, and the best supervisors and researchers of the time.

It all started in Eindhoven where we had our kickoff meeting! We had the opportunity to talk, socialize, and network with people whom we only knew by name. We had the chance to work with people from universities and industries whose research we had heard about and whose products we use in our daily lives.

The cover page of ETERNITY

Then the story began! People from all over the world came together with different backgrounds, perspectives, and ambitions, sitting at the same table. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn, mature, and grow! It was the first time I realized the importance of diversity, not only in race, culture, or education but also in the work we do, in how our world functions, and how different yet similar we are.

I always give this example to cherish the diversity and its effect on the growth mindset. Consider that you have learned in your life 2 + 2 = 4! Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But if you stay in an environment where you receive positive feedback on this argument, you would think this is the only solution. As engineers, we know that positive feedback over an infinite time makes the system unstable. What if I tell you I know someone who learned that 3 + 1 = 4! It is the very same answer, but it is different. In ETERNITY, I learned how these differences work and bring the same solutions through different approaches. When you go to a meeting and present your work, you have to look at it in a way that a person working in the military, industry, hospital, or university would see it. In short, ETERNITY was a good example of our world, a way to understand my position in the universe, if I want to make it a bit dramatic! (Although, it could have been better, there is always room for improvement!)

And Network-Wide Events (NWE), these meetings and encounters all happen in the most beautiful cities in the world: Lisbon, Brugge, Barcelona, … You get to know the environment of your coworkers, the place where they thrive with ideas and research. All of us, hundreds or someone like me thousands of kilometers away from home, leave a fingerprint at the edge of science, or as Marc always says, a footprint on the moon!

As I look back on my time in ETERNITY, I realize it’s a story worth sharing—a narrative that captures the essence of collaboration and learning. From engaging with industry leaders like Philips, Plux, PlasmaCure and etc., to collaborating with professors from diverse backgrounds, ETERNITY has broadened my horizons and deepened my understanding of research.

What I appreciate most about Marie Curie projects and the EU’s vision is their commitment to diversity and inclusion. ETERNITY brought together individuals from different walks of life, each contributing their unique perspectives to a shared goal of making a positive impact through research.

As I move on from ETERNITY, I’m grateful for the experiences and friendships formed along the way. It’s been a journey filled with growth, learning, and meaningful connections—a chapter in my life that I’ll always look back on with fondness and gratitude.

And I believe ETERNITY will make our medical environments safer and more robust. We will lose fewer people because of it and bring more hope, love, and ambition to people’s lives.

I am almost at the end of my journey in ETERNITY, but the fingerprint of that on my life, heart, and past and future will never vanish. I am almost positive that my life will cross paths again with you people. Until then, keep your hopes high and your minds growing.