Interview with our Communication Task Group Leader Oriol Barcenas

You are now in the YEBN for the first time. And you have the role of the Communication Task Group Leader, what are your goals and hopes for YEBN in 2019?

Make it a little bigger and better overall! Just keep growing and heading for all the objectives we set ourselves for the future. As for my role, I’ll do my best even though I’m a novice and try to contribute as much as I can.

It is quite early to say but, in your opinion, what makes YEBN special?

YEBN is special for a number of reasons, to start with, it’s an international European network, which is great, as nowadays the globalization and need for collaboration make these initiatives more and more important. 

It’s a young and growing network, which implies that help is needed to grow and lending a hand is always appreciated. This makes incoming members feel better about joining, as they can help and gain experience with a number of very valuable skills. It also feels more flexible and easier to get into compared to other national associations, as all members I’ve met and talked to are really open and nice overall.

What are your long-term visions for YEBN?

I know it’s a rather big dream, but I would love to see YEBN being the biggest and most important European association for life sciences, known worldwide and with a true influence in Europe.

Related with your studies, what do you think could be the most interesting field of studies where your feelings make the path and your dreams become true?

Uhm… When I first started pondering about my future career, I had an awful lot of doubts and insecurities, but I had something clear: I wanted to do something with a meaning, something that could be helpful and meaningful for society and the world overall. I’ve always been interested by science advances and thought about doing something related to genetic engineering. As I started to be more aware of the current situation in the world, I noticed that the thing that needed everybody’s attention was related to life sciences, but not in an anthropological point of view. The world, all the life in it, needed help. It’s not logical to think of ways to improve human lives if the human race may not even get to the end of the 21st century. We have a duty to the world, and that’s why I decided I want to focus my studies in making development more sustainable and greener, less about raw production and immediate gains. Being less disruptive to life, other humans and being responsible with our actions and their consequences for the future.

In the YEBN we are open to the scientific humor!! Please paste a lab humor cartoon in the space below which fits your character the most: [

My apologies if it’s not the freshest/funniest cartoon in the world. I tend to find Science humor a bit cringeworthy, so I don’t have a repertoire of Science jokes.

What would your job be if you wouldn’t work in life sciences?

Probably something music related. If the artists and musicians didn’t have such a rough time, I would probably be a pianist or something like that. Otherwise, in a more realistic point of view, I would be an economist or something along those lines.

What do you do in your free time?

I listen to music as much as I can. When I have some more time, I like to play classic games and watch series and documentaries, and spend my time with loved ones and friends! I also love photography, and will probably start learning about music and the piano later this year! I’m really looking forward to it!

Did you ever live / study / work abroad? Where? Please share your experience.

Uhm… Not really. I’ve “lived” for a couple of weeks in the U.K., close to London, working in an Intermon Oxfam library when I participated in an English learning program. I’ve also been part of an exchange program with Denmark, though I’ve only been there for less than a week. I guess I’m too young yet, but I really look forward to do an Erasmus program and live abroad for some time!

What are your plans (/ hopes / goals) for the future? Would you rather work in academia or industry?

I want to make the world a better place, and I want to work doing something that fulfills my dreams and makes me happy and not feeling like I’m wasting my time. 

As for where I would rather work, I think that in the industry, as far as the companies I work in have good intentions. Otherwise, in academia trying to make a change for the better and making my ideas and discoveries public and usable!

Would you like to live abroad again and if yes, where and why?

I would definitely live abroad. I think that knowledge and personal growth comes from many sources, and that’s why I want to live in as many places as I can, to learn how varied the ways of living may be and how to enjoy every place’s little things and looks at life. That’s why I want to live in as many places as I can, especially those that are different from Spain and the south of Europe.

Which is the most important thing you’ve learned until now and that you would give as advice to others?

Life can take many turns. You can never be prepared to face everything that may come your way, but you have to be optimistic and try to do it the best you can. Loved people and people that are dear to you may come and go, but you have to appreciate everything that happens, value the things that you have and try to make the best out of each situation! Failure or mistakes are hard, but you can always learn from the bad things. So don’t lose hope or your course, and meet life challenges head on!