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Ollie Odell - Birmingham iCASE

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

University of Birmingham, Sport Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences in Dr Gareth Wallis’ lab.

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

iCASE studentship, industrial partner Volac International.

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

I chose to live near the University of Warwick from September to December, because I had no attachment or commitment to Birmingham. Despite being my home university, I had not studied there before (e.g. for my undergraduate) and felt that living near UoW would be most convenient for the first term. I started the process of looking for accommodation in mid-July. Unfortunately, the UoW accommodation services were unable to help find anywhere for me for a 3-month period. I decided to look for myself and found a room in a shared house with non-students (using spareroom.co.uk) in the Canley/Tile Hill area of Coventry which permitted short-term lets. Unfortunately, the number of these was fairly limited but there were sufficient options available to make a choice. I chose not to view the room/house (which admittedly was risky) because I was organising everything online and had not been to Coventry before. Fortunately, the house was OK and there were no problems.

My mini-project was at UoW/University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire, so I decided to stay in the same accommodation for the second term (January-March).

In April I moved to Birmingham, looking for another short-term let to allow me to integrate into UoB and give me time to find accommodation with other students for the next academic year. I used spareroom.co.uk and viewed a handful of properties. I then contacted Guild Lettings (the University’s accommodation service) who were very helpful, and who found a room in a student house in Selly Oak.

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

The house I stayed in was ~40 min walk to central UoW campus, and ~50min to Gibbet Hill Campus (Life Sciences). Although I don’t mind walking, this was longer than was ideal, and so I decided to use the UoW Nextbike scheme. This is a bike-hire scheme, with bikes all around campus (including at Gibbet Hill, the Sports Centre, the Library and many other locations). For £10 I had unlimited use of the bikes for a term, which reduced my daily commute by 10-20 mins. I would certainly recommend this scheme, as it is cheap and is very handy for getting around the campus quickly.

5. How did you organise your mini-projects?

I spoke to my primary supervisor (in October) and asked whether he had any suggestions for researchers who might be related to my subject area in UoW or University of Leicester. Fortunately, he had collaborated with a researcher at UoW before (and had additional suggestions for others in UoL). I emailed this collaborator explaining the MIBTP programme requirement for a mini-project and that my supervisor had suggested I contact him. We organised a meeting, and it developed from there.

As an iCASE student I did not organise a ‘home’ mini-project, I simply started my PhD in April.

6. How did you organise your PIPS?

As an iCASE student my placement with my Industrial Partner is quite flexible and will likely take place near the end of my second year (after completing a study in Birmingham).

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

The maths training module is not examined or assessed, it is simply to give a foundation for other modules. Everyone finds the taught modules difficult, but they are simply a gateway to the rest of the PhD and may give you some useful skills. If you’d like to ask me any questions just email me at oxo799@student.bham.ac.uk