Organometallic chemist Victoria Blair moved from Scotland to work as a postdoc at Monash University in May 2011.
Organometallic chemist Victoria Blair moved from Strathclyde University in her native Scotland to work as a postdoc at Monash University in May 2011. She started her own research group in 2014 and gained Australian citizenship the following January.
How did you find the move to Australia?
We touched down in May — in the Australian winter, which has the same temperatures as a Scottish summer. After I got on Australian time, I started my postdoc. Since then I've applied for my own funding and set up a research group through the Australian Research Council. I came here thinking I'd be here for a year or two, but I fell in love with the city.
What do you love about it?
It's vibrant. Melburnians are so outdoors-oriented; they've got nature trails and cycling trails all over the city. Melbourne has been voted by The Economist Intelligence Unit's Global Liveability Ranking as the most liveable city in the world for six years running. Australians are friendly and speaking the same language was helpful. It didn't take long to make friends. The food is some of the best I've had. When I moved here six years ago, I told myself that, although it was the other side of the world, I could be back home in 24 hours if it doesn't work out.
What's the scientific environment like?
There's a lot of collaboration. We have joint conferences regularly with other universities, and there are many partnerships between medical and non-medical researchers and institutes in Melbourne. There are also grants across Australia that encourage links between professional teams. That helps to progress the field really quickly. The culture is geared towards that.