The graduate in Pharmacy and researcher has received this summer recognition within the WiA agri-food research workshop of the UPCT for the informative presentation he made of a work on the development of new products from horticultural waste
Not all the innovations related to the agricultural sector that science proposes come from areas so directly involved with this activity such as agronomy, botany or soil science, for example. Sometimes the improvement comes from other apparently more distant branches of research. The young graduate in Pharmacy José Ángel Salas Millán, trained in Granada, Murcia, Salamanca and Costa Rica, exemplifies this with the recognition he has received this summer within the WiA agri-food research workshop of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT) for the presentation informative that he made of a work on the development of new products from horticultural waste.
-How does a graduate in Pharmacy come to investigate for the agricultural sector?
-In the degree in Pharmacy, I was enthusiastic about the research on bioactive compounds from natural sources. Thus, looking for some type of funding for my doctoral studies, during my master’s degree at the University of Granada, I met the doctor. Encarna Aguayo through the application of a scholarship from the Network of Chairs of the Polytechnic University of Cartagena. After a while, while I was doing my stay at the University of Costa Rica, the Industrial Doctorate scholarships of the Ministry of Science were announced, for which, with the support of the doctor. Aguayo and the Jimbofresh International company proposed the development of a research project on the revaluation of agricultural by-products, which was finally accepted.
“The link between the university and the company will considerably support the sector, where there is always something to improve”
-Is it common for different disciplines that at first seem far from agronomy to intervene in research related to the field at the end?
-Of course, in research it is essential to have an interdisciplinary team that enriches the work. Each figure, different in their training, can complement each other in synergy to advance a more enriching science with a greater social impact.
-You are a young researcher who is practically beginning and is already beginning to receive awards. How does it look in ten years?
-I am a person with very ambitious prospects for the future, I would like to lead a research team or have responsibilities within a company, and who knows, create one of my own. I do not hesitate to make an effort and look for opportunities to achieve it.
-There is constant talk about the scarce investment in science that there is in Spain and the difficulties that researchers go through, often poorly paid and little cared for. How do you perceive it from within?
-Research and science are the essence of the economy and progress of a country. They contribute to the training of future professionals. Encouraging and betting on R&D is essential, whether with public investment, through the State, or private, through the companies themselves. The low investment has repercussions on low salaries and fewer opportunities for many students who, interested in research, have to renounce this vocation, in particular, due to the instability that it entails, despite the fact that completing the doctoral studies requires a great effort and dedication.
“Research and science are the essence of the economy and progress of a country and help to train future professionals”
-What is lacking in agricultural research in the Region of Murcia?
-The modernization and automation of any economic sector is essential, and a boost in these fields leads to an improvement in production, economy, efficiency and sustainability. The Polytechnic University of Cartagena is committed to this technology and knowledge transfer and this can be observed in the multiple research projects it deals with and in the specialized masters and degrees that it teaches. The university-company transfer is essential. An example is the scholarship that I currently enjoy, funded by the Jimbofresh International company and the Ministry of Science and Innovation, whose research I develop at the UPCT.
-But, what is your impression of the agricultural sector in the Region of Murcia?
-The agri-food sector in the Region of Murcia generates 20% of GDP, which makes it one of the basic pillars of the regional economy. Murcia ranks as the leading fruit and vegetable exporting province. It is one of the sectors with the highest employability. It is a strategic sector for our Region, whose progress requires institutional support, accompanied by investment and policies that help agri-food R&D. The university-private company link in technology transfer will considerably support the sector, making it much more competent and improving any point in the traceability and management of its activities, because there is always something to improve.