Paulo Da Silva

What is your current position, and what do you do?
My current position at CETEC is Principal Consultant. The work I do is varied, but my main tasks is to deal with anything related to Dangerous Goods, ranging from providing advice for laboratory design, safe storage of dangerous goods, flammable vapour hazard zoning, etc. Projects which I have been involved in, and have provided input towards the design are:

  • - SAHMRI (Adelaide)
  • - Charles Perkins Centre (USyd)
  • - Illumin8 (Adelaide Uni)
  • - LEES (USyd)
  • - RSPE (ANU)
  • - Robertson Building (ANU)
  • - C-Block (QUT)
  • - Building B upgrades (SCU)
  • - AFP Forensics (Majura, ANU)
  • - New Royal Adelaide Hospital (Adelaide)

What made you decide not to pursue/to leave research?
I completed my undergraduate studies at UNSW Chemistry, including honours (with Prof Michael Paddon-Row) and PhD (with Prof Roger Read). After completing my studies, I completed three post-docs, one at the University of Sydney, and two at UNSW. As I didn't want to be an academic, and when the opportunity arose to work with CETEC I applied for the position.
How did you transition into this current role from a science degree?
I started down the bottom and slowly worked my way up, my role still involves a lot of problem solving and sometimes a firm understanding of chemicals helps immensely.
How have you used the skills/knowledge that you acquired, from studying chemistry, in your current role?
With my knowledge in chemistry, I'm able to understand chemical properties and apply that knowledge in my consulting services for laboratory design, safe storage of chemicals, etc.  
What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
One of the biggest challenges is the initial start and finding something which is enjoyable to do.
What achievement are you most proud of?
My current role gives me the advantage of understanding the properties of chemicals, and I am able to apply this to the consultancy in providing advice to non-scientists.
What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
Try to understand where you want to go early on place yourself on the correct pathway, otherwise you may be treading water.
What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
Family and work keep me busy, but I try to devote appropriate time to both.

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