Postgraduate study: PhD student Graham Davies on study, UROP & top tips

Maths equations on a red strip

Full Name: Graham Davies

Undergraduate Course: BSc Mathematics

What type of postgraduate study did you do/are you doing? PhD

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What is the title of your postgraduate course?

Building physical constraints into weather-related risk estimates

Why did you decide to undertake postgraduate study:

  • I was approached about doing the PhD, which involves applying statistics to a real-world industry problem.
  • The main supervisor is someone I know and am happy working with. Also, I have supervisors in the Meteorology department and EDF Energy.
  • Fully funded.
  • From previously doing a UROP project, I believed that it would be something I would enjoy.

Why did you choose to do postgraduate study at Reading?

  • I loved my Undergraduate experience at Reading.
  • Also, it is the only University within a sensible commutable distance from home, and, as a mature student, I didn’t want to relocate.

What has been the best thing about doing postgraduate study?

  • Just being here and seeing all of the exciting research that is going on.
  • With supervisors in Dept Maths and Stats, Dept Meteorology, and EDF Energy I have the opportunity to interact with fellow postgraduate researchers from a variety of disciplines. With Covid restrictions permitting, I am hoping to have the opportunity to visit Paris and work with EDF’s Natural Hazard research team.

What tips would you give to someone considering applying for postgraduate study?

I think:

  • you need to know that you can work well with the supervisor(s)
  • it needs to be in an area that really interests you.   It’s 3 – 4 years of your life, it has to be fun and interesting
  • it needs to be in a subject area that you are good at and are interested in
  • I am lucky that my PhD is a fully-funded opportunity.  I probably would have had to turn it down had it not been, I’m not sure I could have survived (and paid tuition fees) on the Postgraduate loan
  • for me, I wanted to do research that used Maths/Statistics in a real-world setting.

How did your UROP experience influence your decision to go on to postgraduate study?

My UROP project showed me:

  • the answers aren’t known upfront
  • the quality of the data sources aren’t known upfront
  • if you want to take the project in a certain direction, you are encouraged to do so.

A fantastic experience, and, although only 6 weeks, gave me a real insight into what a research role might entail.