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Emma Condon (Leicester MIBTP)

Name: Emma Condon
1. What is your home university, what department and lab are you in?

My home university is University of Leicester, Neuroscience Psychology & Behaviour Department, Todor Gerdjikov’s Lab (based at PRF).

2. What type of studentship are you on? CASE, iCASE, etc.

I’m a regular MIBTP student – non iCASE.

3. How did you organise your accommodation for the first year?

I found my accommodation on! There’s also a Facebook page called ‘Warwick Postgraduate students looking for housemates’ – people post rooms/houses there quite often.
A lot of postgrads live in Leamington Spa or Kenilworth and buses go often to both Leamington and Kenilworth (no. 11 bus). Not many UoW students (postgrads anyway) live in Coventry centre as it’s quite far from UoW campus and Leamington Spa/Kenilworth are much nicer areas to live.

4. How did you manage commuting to UoW for the first term?

UoW is in Coventry so if coming by train you need to come to Coventry station. The 12X bus goes every 10 minutes from the station to Uni (and vice versa).

If you are travelling from Leicester it is a bit of a nuisance – you need to catch a connecting train at Nuneaton. Unfortunately, the train times are quite close so if your train from Leicester to Nuneaton or Coventry to Nuneaton is delayed by even a few minutes you will have to wait another hour for the Nuneaton train!
Although I lived in Coventry (Finham area) I still found it a bit of a pain to get to UoW as where I lived wasn’t on the 12X or 11 bus routes.

5. How did you organise your mini-projects?

I chose my mini-projects based on my interests and accommodation availability. As I had a 6-month lease in Coventry I wanted to do my first mini-project at UoW (from January to March). There wasn’t a lot of neuroscience based mini-projects at UoW though – mostly bacteria/plant projects but this list changes year to year. I organised it by emailing the supervisor from the mini-project list.

For my second mini-project I wanted to work with my PhD supervisor to develop my skills and knowledge of the research area before properly starting my PhD in October. This mini-project (from July to end of September/start of October) is based in the lab I will be eventually working but my supervisor will be a collaborator of my supervisor. I asked my PhD supervisor in October if it would be possible to carry out my second mini-project leading into my PhD and once he confirmed he arranged everything with his collaborator – keeping me informed and involved to make sure I was happy with the potential project

6. How did you organise your PIPS?

I chose my PIPS from the PIPS list provided by MIBTP. Contact information is also provided so I contacted the PIPS host and arranged a meeting to discuss what would be required/start and end dates etc.

7. Is there anything you wished you'd known before you started?

I wish I would have known how much moving around there would be in your first year. As it’s a training year you complete 3 months of lectures (based at UoW), 3 month mini-project (at home or away uni), a 3-month PIPS (for non-icase students) and another 3-month mini project (at home or away uni). Of course, you don’t have to complete your PIPS in the first year if you do not want to but I would definitely suggest it before getting started and settled in your home Uni. There will also be a lot of travel for masterclasses – I would suggest choosing them based on interest as opposed to location though!