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

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, 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.   Also, 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.

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