We talk to Brais Suárez Eiroa, recent doctor Cum Laude with his thesis ‘Integration of circular economy in the framework of sustainable development: Theoretical framework and practical implementation’.

“Many times finishing a doctoral thesis is like opening a door to a room that is worthless”.
 For Brais, research is the opportunity to create and innovate. When he started his path in research with the Master’s thesis he did not understand what it meant, but now he recognizes that this work became for him something dynamic and vicious.  
“The world is full of things to learn, and also full of things to design. Research seeks to provide answers to questions that lack answers.”
Graduated as an industrial engineer, it was clear to him that his concerns lay elsewhere. He took a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development Management at UVigo, which served as a bridge between engineering and his present. He wanted to understand the social consequences of environmental deterioration. 
“My main motivation to protect the natural environment has always been linked to ending the injustices generated, and also to find the common mechanisms between social problems, such as inequalities and environmental degradation”. 
Brais was thinking of orienting his PhD thesis to some life cycle analysis to optimize and improve it, but his readings on circular economy changed his point of view and led him to analyze the concept of ‘Circular Economy’ in depth. 
“I came as they were trying to use a new term, the circular economy, to keep doing things wrong, because if you kept doing things wrong, the environmental degradation was going to continue and also the social consequences of it”. 
He defines a PhD as a ‘roller coaster of emotions’, a road that everyone has to travel accepting your limitations and trying to overcome them.  
“For me, there are two keys to make the thesis worthwhile. The first is to be passionate about what you are researching. The second is to surround yourself with the right people to do it.” 
His thesis is about designing a framework for integrating and operationalizing the circular economy into the environmental sustainability paradigm. He shows that rich countries have sufficient tools to estimate their responsibility for global environmental problems and are not doing so. It also designs circular economy strategies that will truly serve to achieve the transition to environmental sustainability. In conclusion, he proposes the need for the circular economy to go far beyond technological progress and the evolution of purchasing, including social aspects, and promoting education. 
“The real goal is not to adjust human activities to natural limits, but to transform the socioeconomic system to coexist gracefully within a natural system with limits.” 
The doctor does not have a goal as such within research, but defines the profession as a path to be followed that adjusts to the needs and concerns of each moment.  
“I think I will never be satisfied enough to finish learning, and if one day I had done so, perhaps it would no longer make sense to do research, since humility and being aware at all times of our limitations is the starting point to innovate in research”. 
In view of his desire to continue delving into the environment-society nexus and to work on the transition from current models to new, fairer models that preserve the environment, Brais will start working in September with Mario Pansera within the framework of the European “JUST2CE” project. This will allow him to continue the line of research begun in his thesis. 
“It’s a complicated world of research. I was very fortunate that Mario arrived with a project that perfectly matched what I was researching, and he also arrived the same year that I was finishing my thesis”. 
The researcher, who considers himself lucky, regrets that the options for continuing research require sacrifices that are sometimes difficult to make, and that it is necessary to achieve quality research for Galicia and Spain.
In the photo, Brais with his thesis directors, Emilio M. Fernández Suárez and Gonzalo Méndez Martínez.