Deep Blue stories: Jihene in Portugal

Deep Blue Story #10 | Jihene Nouairi is a young Tunisian researcher of the University of Sfax interested in geosciences and marine natural mineral resources. “Seabed mining” is in fact one of the fundamental sectors of the Blue Growth Strategy of the European Commission, the long term strategy to support sustainable growth in the marine and maritime sectors as a whole. But what is it? An active hydrothermal vent chimney spewing out hydrothermal fluids.  The quantity of minerals occupying the ocean floor is potentially large. Seabed mining is concerned with the retrieval of these minerals to: ensure security of supply; and fill a gap in the market where either recycling is not possible or adequate, or the burden on terrestrial mines is too great.

She developed a three-month traineeship with the University of Aveiro, Portugal and its Geobiotec Research Center. Her project work focussed on the reuse of raw mine wastes as based geopolymer in the treatment of heavy metals rich waters which directly participate in environmental clean-up by protecting ecosystems and decontaminating water resources in terms of its ecological quality in Tunisia and in other countries with comparable situations.

“It was not easy in the beginning to adapt to this new situation, which forces you to work on a daily basis from home and carry out all tasks and activities online. (Nevertheless) This online traineeship gave me the opportunity to work on the completion of my current research project in the field of waste management in the Euro-Mediterranean region in one of the most important universities in Portugal and Europe”.

At this point, has this experience had an impact in your career?

“Indeed, this experience had a big effect on my professional career. Given my country of origin, Tunisia, where there are limited training and research funding opportunities, the Deep Blue Mobility provided me with a rare opportunity of learning and expanding my research horizons. I had the chance to work on an ambitious project which is the formulation of novel alkali-activated materials for chemical and biological water treatment and clean-up.  The project also allowed me to work with outstanding scientists from different backgrounds, with whom I would difficultly collaborate on a professional setting otherwise”

Jihene, currently works as postdoctoral researcher at APAE Research Unit, University of Monastir, Tunisia. She has been awarded a research grant from the Islamic Bank of Development (IsBD) to work on the recycling of low coast materials (solid and liquid industrial wastes) for sustainable construction purposes. 

Good job Jihene! We wish you the best for a brilliant career!


You can follow the work of Jihene on her Research Gate profile ➡️

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Jihene Nouairi