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Melissa Shaw - Leicester MIBTP

Name: Melissa Shaw

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

I’m based at the University of Leicester in the Cortical Dynamics lab in the Neuroscience, Psychology and Behaviour department.

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

I am on the standard MIBTP programme.

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

I live in privately rented accommodation with my partner in driving distance between Leicester and Warwick. For my mini-project in Birmingham I stayed with a friend Monday to Friday and returned home at the weekends.

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

The journey for me was about 45-60 minutes by driving so was long but manageable. The parking permits at Warwick are reasonable and as long as you are sensible with your time of arrival there are usually spaces available on the main campus. Our sessions were generally concentrated to make fewer, longer days which worked better for commuting.

5. How did you organise your mini-projects?

For my away mini-project, I focussed on which of the proposed topics most interested me or what I thought would be the most relevant. From my own shortlist I then contacted a couple of the supervisors to meet with and discuss the projects in more detail before choosing my preferred option.

6. How did you organise your PIPS?

I was unsure about what sort of placement I wanted originally so asked lots of others about what they were doing and read through a lot of the suggested places that were emailed to us by the MIBTP team. One such email referred to a Grants and Programmes internship with the Academy of Medical Sciences. This caught my interest and I then discussed this with my supervisor as well and submitted an application. I am currently on my placement now and finding it incredibly useful.

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

Travelling between the universities is definitely a logistical issue and also a financial issue. The cost of commuting is high and that should be factored in to any plans about where to live/what method of transport you will be using. It wasn’t an option for me due to where I chose to live but if you are in a position where you can join a car share then I recommend that as an option. For me, I tutored on the weekends to cover my petrol costs.

My other main recommendation is to really get involved in the introductory Speed PhD sessions as they were a great way to meet people which helped greatly when it came to completing the other modules. I found it very useful later on being able to trade help with the Statistics module for some much needed help with the RNA sequencing module.