Paul Kihiko, Life Sciences
For my URSS project, I helped to evaluate and validate an automated blood diagnostic system (FAPIC) which if it passes clinical trials, will end up in hospitals soon. The system analyses blood samples from bacterial infected patients and determines the specific strain of bacteria and whether any antibiotic resistant genes are present in the bacteria. This will inform the doctors whether a type of antibiotic drug will work or not. To validate if the system worked, I conducted DNA extraction, PCR with gene probes and DNA sequencing on bacteria samples common in blood infections to see whether any antimicrobial genes where present. I then used the same samples on the FAPIC system to check if it gave the same results, showing it worked and after further testing, could move on to clinical trials.
Overall, I really enjoyed my URSS experience. I found out what a career in research is like, improved my laboratory skills for my 3rd-year project and furthered my knowledge on a specific field of my degree. Other skills I gained were; statistical/analytical, organisation, data handling and teamwork to name a few.
Beth Kynman, Physics
Completing an undergraduate research project was not only great fun, but it also taught me lots of valuable skills. My research was in the astrophysics group, and involved extensive programming and modelling of a stellar star system. Going through the Moodle activities alongside my research helped to further develop skills such as reflection, good communication and time management. I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience to anyone thinking of doing further research; the experience consolidated the fact that I would like to do a PhD after university! Even if you don’t though, it is still a highly useful experience and not to mention great to talk about in job applications!
Ife Akrinroyeje, History & Sociology
For my URSS project I researched black feminist activism in the UK and Berlin. The project combined qualitative methods (interviews) with photography to capture and explore how black women and non-binary people are empowering themselves and others. The project was exciting, and I met inspiring feminist activists creating change and challenging inequality in their societies.
I have found the URSS experience extremely rewarding. Without this programme I would not have been able to conduct this project, particularly at this scale. Since undertaking this research, I have had so many fantastic opportunities.
My work for this project has since appeared in print publications including gal-dem and Afropunk, I have presented my research at conferences and events, and my work has been exhibited including at a solo exhibition I created for the Women of Colour Europe conference that was held in Berlin in October.
I thoroughly enjoyed the URSS experience and gained so much from the programme. I have increased my skills in everything from research methods, to creating and presenting research, to communicating research to different audiences to organisation and time-management.
Nicola, Politics and International Studies & Global Sustainable Development
I have carried out my second URSS-financed research project. I spent ten weeks in Rome while being hosted at the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. My research looked at showcasing the impacts of climate change in Italy and the policies that have been implemented to fight the climate crisis. The poster, which resulted from the project, will be exhibited at the Italian pavilion of Cop25 in Chile, in December 2019. Thanks to the URSS bursary I managed to cover my expenses and to attend the UN Climate Conference in Bonn in June 2019, where I was part of the Italian delegation of climate negotiators. At the Conference I supported my colleagues and experienced the functioning of the United Nations. If you are interested in learning more about a specific area of research while exploring the world, don’t miss out on this opportunity! I would do it all over again if I had the chance. My URSS projects have definitely been the highlight of my university experience.