Fellow's visit 24 years in the making

20 October 2011

It took Erskine Fellow Professor Paulo Riberio 24 years to make it to the University of Canterbury but he says it has well and truly lived up to his expectations.

Fellow's visit 24 years in the making - Imported from Legacy News system

Erskine Fellow Professor Paul Ribeiro

It took Erskine Fellow Professor Paulo Ribeiro 24 years to make it to the University of Canterbury but he says it has well and truly lived up to his expectations.

Rewind the clock to 1987 – the year the All Blacks last won the Rugby World Cup – and the then Dr Ribeiro, having completed his PhD in Manchester and worked for a few years at a large federal utility in his homeland of Brazil, had expressed interest in getting back into postdoctoral research to UC academic Professor Jos Arillaga.

Unfortunately, due to the slowness of snail mail, the letter inviting him to join the University of Canterbury’s Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering on a postdoctoral fellowship arrived just days after he had accepted another offer from the United States.

Professor Ribeiro, who has been hosted by Professor Neville Watson and the department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for the past eight weeks, still has that letter signed by the late Emeritus Professor Arillaga that ended by asking him to let the University know when he would be able to take up the fellowship.

Professor Ribeiro, who intended to head to the US for two years and ended up staying 23 years, said he has always meant to get here and could hardly believe it had taken this long. 

The power electronics, power systems, power quality and smart grids expert is now based at Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands. He said he took the job in The Netherlands on the proviso he got to fulfil his dream and take up his Erskine fellowship at UC.

“I wanted to come here because this is a great place for my area of expertise. Canterbury has one of the best programmes in the world."

Professor Ribeiro said he and his wife had thoroughly enjoyed their time in New Zealand and he would be keen to look for more opportunities to return to UC.

While here his main focus has been teaching the fourth-year power systems engineering course and has been collaborating with Professor Watson on a number of research topics.

He has been very impressed with the calibre of student work and said, having just finished marking students’ end-of-year technical papers, he would be encouraging many students to submit their work for a conference.

“In this exchange I have learned more than I have taught and I am thankful for the opportunity to be part of this community.”

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