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Jessica Scivier - Birmingham MIBTP

Name: Jessica Scivier

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

University of Birmingham, Biosciences, Plant Sciences

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

The normal MIBTP studentship, BBSRC which involves 2 mini-projects and PIPs

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

I organised private accommodation through spare room, where I found a really nice house with fellow postgraduates.

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

It was slightly stressful due to the traffic, but the route by car is relatively simple if you follow google maps. In the morning it would take me roughly 50 minutes/ 1 hour, whereas at night it could take up to 2 hours. I understand the days at Warwick are long but try to stay and do work in the library if you are finishing at rush hour. Otherwise, you waste lots of time in traffic, by about 7pm it will take you 35 minutes to get back to Birmingham - so it is worth it.! The parking is more tricky, I advise getting a parking permit for the few months you are commuting regularly. The parking on the campus where the School of Life Sciences building is, fills up by 8.30 am, so you need to get parked early in the morning. Alternatively, you can turn up later and there is always parking on the main campus just factor in the ~15 minute walk to the other campus/shuttle bus. I found that at anytime of the day Car Park 15 had spaces on the main campus. For the induction week, if you are stressed about the parking you can buy a visitors scratch card at the front desk in the life sciences building. Please take into consideration they only accept cash; it is approximately £5.20 but increases slightly every year. Be cautious with your money, as commuting it more expensive than you expect. If you can try to share car journeys and split the cost of petrol.

5. How did you organise your mini-projects?

I asked for advise from my supervisor and I took note of the projects I liked at the symposium; which is held during the induction week. I subsequently contacted the supervisors I liked by email and arranged meetings with them to discuss potential projects. I was fortunate and my first choice was available and enthusiastic to work with me. I attempted to find a project which would help grow skills that I knew would be fundamental for my PhD project.

6. How did you organise your PIPS?

I am yet to undertake my PIPs, but it was a combination of emailing representatives at companies and using personal contacts to get in touch with people. Do not be discourage by lack of replies or rejections, I would always email everyone at least twice.

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

I would advise considering renting temporary accommodation in Warwick before you rent at your home University. For the first three months the majority of your PhD contact is at Warwick. I had little involvement at Birmingham during this time and would have been happy to forgo some of the social activities in Birmingham for extra sleep and less commuting.