University College London
2nd Year PhD Student
I really enjoyed maths and physics at school (back in the 1980s) so engineering seemed a natural career path. My engineering career included work on chemical production sites around the UK, design work in offices, project management, and business development roles, which were as much about working with people as understanding technology. After 15 years in the industrial gases industry, I moved into the low carbon/ energy efficiency field, designing and running innovation programmes to support low carbon technologies.
Over the years I have become more and more convinced that, however exciting the technologies, it is people (and what they do) who are crucial to achieving a low carbon future. This was my main motivation for applying to do an inter-disciplinary PhD. I am drawing on my knowledge of engineering and physics and learning about qualitative social science approaches, which provide a fascinating new perspective.
It is great being part of a friendly cohort of students in the doctoral training centre with a wide range of ages and previous work experience. I am enjoying the flexibility to shape my own targets and work pattern. Studying for a PhD can be all-absorbing: I am working similar hours but with a more flexible pattern compared to when I was in a “real job” but I would certainly not describe a PhD as less demanding.