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Are your students idealists who aspire to make the world a better place and do something useful to society? Do they think science is one of the solutions to reach their goal? Do they see nature and its mechanisms as an inspiration to find sustainable scientific solutions to preserve the environment? Let them know about a potential career in nature-based solutions. One of the main aspects of a research scientist in nature-based solutions’ job is to develop Nature-Based Solutions, such as green roofs and walls and constructed and floating wetlands, to answer societal problems aligned with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Curious to know more about this fascinating career path? Meet Cristina Calheiros, a Research Scientist in Nature-Based Solutions!

Interview for the STE(A)M IT Repository of STEM Jobs profiles with Cristina Calheiros, a Research Scientist in Nature-Based Solutions.


Find out about the key skills to become a Research Scientist
in Nature-Based Solutions.

Analytical Reasoning

As a research scientist in Nature-Based solutions, you must be “up-to-date in the research developed, using adequate analytical tools and data analysis.“. Furthermore, research scientists also have to have critical thinking and problem-solving capacity to find innovative, realistic and sustainable nature-based solutions.


Whether it comes to daily or large-scale challenges, research scientists must have practical and hands-on approaches to the issues that need to be addressed. Engineering and technical approaches are a significant part of researchers in Nature-Based Solutions.

Business Storytelling

Coming up with innovative and sustainable ideas are only a part of a research scientist’s job. Being able to turn an idea or a prototype into a cost-efficient marketable solution requires some business skills. “At the level of NBS application, the skill of business storytelling allowed me to scale up and replicate the solutions, delivering the concept to stakeholders and decision-makers.“.


One of the main challenges of working on Nature-Based Solutions is that “you have to deal
with different backgrounds of knowledge and opinions to develop and study a solution
“. It often means collaborating with people from different background and field. In this regard, “the key to success is to be open to collaborate with people“.


Nowadays, strategic science outreaches through different channels (social media, television, newspapers etc.)“, reaching different audiences. It is essential to understand the mechanism and tool and have an “established network to disseminate the scientific advances… in a way that is accessed and understood by all“.


It is a known fact now that research scientists are creative minds. But let alone, creativity is not enough. To bring your innovative solutions out to the world, you must show initiative and proactivity in “designing the solutions to meet the societies challenges and needs as the sustainable development goals (SDG)“.”

Meet Cristina Calheiros,
a Research Scientist in Nature-Based Solutions

Cristina Calheiros is an Environmental Engineer with a PhD in Biotechnology. She works as a research scientist at CIIMAR Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental Research, in Nature-Based Solutions (NBS). She is also an invited professor at the University of Saint Joseph (Macau SAR, China) and the University of Porto (Portugal). Cristina always knew she had an interest in the environment. She was certain that she wanted to do something useful to society, something that could do with passion and joy. But it is first her grandmother who showed her what environmental engineering was.

Afterwards, I discovered the world of scientific research and working with Nature-Based Solutions. I realized the potential I had ahead: innovating, gaining knowledge and pass it on to others through collaboration and teaching. – Cristina Calheiros


In this eighth episode of our STE(A)M IT STEM Careers Podcast, Eleni Myrtsioti from European Schoolnet spoke with Cristina Calheiros, an Environmental Engineer and Research Scientist in Nature-Based Solutions!

Having always had an interest in the environment and having at heart to contribute to society, Cristina was genuinely drawn to this field when her grandmother first introduced her to environmental engineering. Also a believer of shared knowledge, Cristina kindly accepted our invitation to this podcast. She told us about her typical working day and the skills needed to complete her daily tasks. She also shared her advice to students, telling us about the importance of being curious, open-minded and finding your passion in life. Listen to the podcast to find out more!

CC BY 4.0: all the materials and content presented on this STEM Job profile have been co-created by STE(A)M IT, a project funded by the European Union’s ERASMUS+ programme project STE(A)M IT (Grant agreement 612845-EPP-1-2019-1- BE-EPPKA3-PI-FORWARD), in collaboration with the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) phase 2, a pilot project initiated and funded by the European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. European Schoolnet (EUN) oversees the interviewing and creating of the NBS Career Sheets, with the support of VO EUROPE.


Vanessa James

I am a communication coordinator in the Science Education Department of European Schoolnet (EUN). Holding a BA degree in Public relations and digital communications, I am passionate about graphic design, photography, web development and content management.


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