Name: Alex Baker
1. What is your home university, what department and lab are you in?
School of Life Sciences & Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick. Prof. Matt Gibson’s Lab
2. What type of studentship are you on? CASE, iCASE, NPIF etc.
iCASE studentship, industrial partner Iceni Diagnostics
3. How did you organise your accommodation for the first year
My PhD is based at Warwick so I am living in Leamington Spa, which is a student-filled town near the University of Warwick.
4. How did you manage commuting to UoW for the first term?
This meant the first year taught sections were just 20 minutes commute and a parking permit away. I drove to Leicester for some of my masterclasses and took the train via New Street to get to Birmingham for my away mini-project. The Birmingham commute was draining as I rarely got a seat (the season ticket was a large chunk of the travel bursary) but the experience at the University was worthwhile.
5. How did you organise your mini-projects?
My mini project was hosted by the Chemistry Department of the University of Birmingham in the Paco Group. It was easy to set up through my academic, as they are good friends. It was not an advertised project so I submitted the proposal to the MIBTP directors, which was accepted, and I started in January 2018. My advice would definitely be, that you need to be proactive in getting the project you want with who you want and in an area you find interesting. If you aren’t proactive (and keen) it is noticed by the academics and the research group you are entering so ask for reading material and ask questions if you are interested in a group or project.
6. How did you organise your PIPS?
As an iCASE student, I am undertaking my PIPS over an extended period of time in smaller intervals. The plan is to do some research in my own lab then go and work with them for a few weeks and repeat the cycle.
7. Is there anything you wished you'd known before you started?
Being an iCASE student I knew my academic and industrial supervisors. I met with my supervisor multiple times to discuss the project and the course. I was also fortunate to share a lab during my MChem with students on the MIBTP course, so I discussed the course with them too.