Charlotta Mellander - My curiosity is my driving force
Persistent, inquisitive and impatient. That is how Charlotta Mellander describes herself. The first two characteristics are typical for a researcher, but the third is a little more unusual.
“My curiosity is my driving force, but it's my impatience that helps me get things done; in combination with my persistence it helps me stick to a task even if it's a bit dull", she explains. “When it comes to people, however, I'm not impatient at all. If students come well prepared and with relevant questions, I can sit and talk to them for as long as it takes them to get their answers. “
Charlotta earned her Ph.D. in economics at Jönköping International Business School in 2008. Her dissertation examines regional attractiveness, the urbanization process, the importance of cities, and the relationship between the service sector and the market. Today she is a Research Director at the Prosperity Institute of Scandinavia and collaborates closely with Professor Richard Florida and Dr Kevin Stolarick at the Prosperity Institute in Toronto. She lives in Jönköping with her family but spends 60 days a year in Toronto, doing research on the North American and Canadian region.
“If I had been a man I don't think anyone would have questioned how I manage to combine family life with my work and travelling. My husband sometimes gets comments on how he, as the man of the family and the one with the larger income, still accompanies me to Toronto in the summer to take care of the children. It might seem strange to some, but not to us."
To be able to work actively with people from outside of her department gives valuable input to Charlotta´s research. The focus in Jönköping is very strong on regional economics, which interests her enormously, and in Toronto the focus lies more on economic geography and city planning.
“Here I'm regarded as a “soft" economist", while in Toronto I'm a “hard core" economist!"
Being a researcher is no longer the lonely, introverted existence it might once have been. Today it is required to teach, apply for grants, hold seminars and be visible to society. Charlotta Mellander's thesis is of current interest and she has been much in demand, so she has had to get used to being in the spotlight.
“The working and studying environment at JIBS is amazing. I've never before experienced a place where there are so few conflicts. And for a doctoral candidate, there is a very good balance between having a relatively free rein while at the same time being expected to show results."
Charlotta´s oldest son was nine months old when she started at JIBS. Today he is eight and has a younger brother who is five. Thanks to good family logistics, working and travelling with children work out well. An even distribution of household work is essential when both have demanding jobs.
“The most important thing for me is being healthy and to feel that I belong in the situation I´m in. There´s an expression: “To find one´s fit", and I really think I have. I go to work every morning feeling happy."