EXPLORE Career Profiles: Javier Eduardo Suárez Valencia
December 31, 2023

EXPLORE Career Profiles

Name: Javier Eduardo Suárez Valencia
EXPLORE Project Role: Researcher on the L-EXPLO and L-HEX Lunar Scientific Data Applications
Professional Role and Affiliation: PhD Candidate in Planetary Science at Constructor University.
Nationality: Colombian
Current location: Bremen, Germany

1. What did you want to be when you were 10?

I wanted to be an astronaut, especially to go to different planets.

2. What was your favourite subject at school?


3. What did you study at university? Why did you choose those topics and the places to study?

Geology. I choose it because there was not an astronomy program in my country, and geology was still a really interesting natural science. Eventually, I was able to link the two

4. How did you get your first job? How many jobs have you had since?

My first job was as a risk management geologist, doing maps for a location in Colombia. Since then, I had two other jobs.

5. What’s been the biggest piece of luck or ‘surprise twist’ you have had in your career to date?

To start my PhD in Bremen Germany. I always worked in planetary science just for passion, but now I can make a living from it.

6. Have you had a mentor or person that inspired you? How did they help you?

Yes, another Colombian geologist, Fabian Saavedra. He showed me that we can study other planets – my professor did not have any idea of how to do that. 

7. What are the main things you do each day?

Working in my PhD, advising students in Colombia, reading.

8. What do you like best about the work that you do and what do you like least?

What I most enjoy is looking at spatial data of planetary surfaces to understand its geology. I do not enjoy debugging code!

9. Do you have ambitions or things that you would like to do next?

I want to be a university professor in a Colombian university.

10. What advice would you give your 10-year-old self?

The Universe is big and full of wonders. No matter what happens do not lose your curiosity to learn from it!

Quick CV

  • Education
    • (2021-ongoing) PhD candidate in Planetary Science, Constructor University, Bremen, Germany.
    • (2015-2018) MSc in Geology, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
    • (2010-2015) Geologist, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Work
    • (2021-ongoing) Researcher, Constructor University, Bremen, Germany.
    • (2019-2021) Occasional professor, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia.

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EXPLORE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101004214.