Careers in Environmental Science: Meet Marko Filipovic

Ever wondered how a passion for the environment can shape a career? Welcome to our series on careers in environmental science, where we spotlight the achievements of our accomplished alumni. Today, we're proud to present Marko Filipovic, an inspiring example for students hoping to make an impact in the environmental field.

Marko's academic journey began at Stockholm University, where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. His undergraduate thesis addressed critical environmental concerns, focusing on PCDD/F, PCB, and PBDE in mother's milk. His commitment to environmental safety led him to obtain a Master's degree in Environmental Science, where he developed innovative methods for enriching pharmaceuticals in natural waters.

But Marko didn’t stop there. His quest for deeper understanding and desire to contribute significantly to the field drove him to achieve a Licentiate and a PhD in Environmental Science at the Department of Environmental Science. His doctoral research focused on perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAS) and their impact on aquatic environments, establishing him as a leading authority in PFAS studies. After completing his postdoctoral research at Stockholm University, Marko has become a central figure in understanding and managing PFAS contamination.

Now a senior environmental consultant and CEO at Sellén & Filipovic AB, Marko is at the forefront of PFAS research. His career is marked by novel discoveries and influential methodologies, serving as a powerful example for current students. Marko Filipovic's story shows how dedication, innovation, and a deep concern for environmental well-being can lead to a fulfilling and impactful career.

Stay tuned for more stories in our series, highlighting how our alumni are leading the way in environmental science and inspiring the next generation of environmental scientists.

Marko Filipovic. Photo: Stella Papadopoulou

Interview with Marko Filipovic

Current Role/Title: Vice President, Sellén & Filipovic AB 
Years of Experience as an Environmental Consultant: 13 

Briefly describe the role of an environmental consultant 

As an environmental consultant, I use all the expertise I have gathered to help solve old and new environmental problems. At Sellén & Filipovic, we work in a flat organizational structure. My work includes everything from project management, communication, sampling, and handling, i.e., writing reports. Along with my colleagues, we travel across the country, which allows me as an environmental consultant to see and experience all of Sweden. This is a unique aspect of this job. The great variety in the work includes environmental sampling such as: surface water, groundwater, soil, biota, sediment, or air, which makes the assignments often look very different. After fieldwork is completed and samples have been sent for analysis, reports need to be written. Completing a job from start to finish is akin to a thesis project. When you finish a report, you have encountered challenges, become wiser, and ultimately proud. But above all, you have contributed knowledge for a better future.

What inspired you to choose a career as an environmental consultant? 

During my studies, I learned about many environmental problems we face. I became particularly interested in organic pollutants in the environment, their transport, and the risks they pose to our environment. I pursued a master's program and took several advanced courses in chemical analysis and modeling of chemicals in the environment. Understanding something in more detail gives an advantage, especially when details need to be evaluated. After completing my education, my knowledge could be directly applied to assignments involving contaminated areas that many municipalities, companies, authorities, and individuals need help managing. My inspiration is that by contributing my knowledge, we can collectively solve future environmental problems.

Can you share an overview of your typical day or week? 

Right now, we are working on a significant government assignment regarding environmental pollution with per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) and their mitigation. PFAS are persistent substances that are environmentally and health hazardous even at low concentrations. Currently, we are going to Örnsköldsvik, performing samplings, and monitoring the effects of a large in-situ remediation. It is an incredibly exciting assignment where my colleagues and I work with specialists from Swedish authorities. The knowledge we produce will contribute to increasing the pace of action regarding PFAS-contaminated areas.

What are the main challenges you face in your daily work? 

The biggest challenges are that we work very much at the forefront regarding investigations and investigation methods. Many times, the interpretation of results in our work is very research-oriented, which makes it important for me to stay updated on what is happening in the research world.

And what are the biggest rewards of your job? 

The greatest rewards of my work are that I get to do fun and challenging assignments while working with very knowledgeable people. This combination is unbeatable. At the same time, we are working for a better environment.

What advice would you give to those considering a career as an environmental consultant? 

My advice is to dare to contact the companies working on the issues you are passionate about. Show initiative and call their boss to explain why you and your knowledge are a good fit for their organisation. Be proactive!

Interested in a career as an Environmental Consultant?

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