6th July – 8th July 2016

DTA Summer School

Being part of the newly-founded Doctoral Training Alliance (DTA) is a fantastic opportunity to network with fellow students from institutions across the country. All DTA students specialise in unique areas, but this alliance provides the opportunity for students to share skills and experiences to help guide each other through our PhD’s.

The first Summer School was held in July 2016 at the University of Nottingham and this was a few days away from PhD duties that I was looking forward to. It’s always nice to take a step away from your project to have a look and consider the bigger picture. Experiences gained from these events could also shape or change my PhD.

This Summer School had a distinct focus on industry-based opportunities following our PhD’s. Something I must admit, I haven’t really considered. Thankfully, I wasn’t the only student who hadn’t considered it. I had the opportunity to visit and hear from members of BioCity, a fascinating company who have identified a niche and exploited it. It was intriguing to look around their facilities and see how they work as a business as well as see how businesses have been created through their model. The Summer School has definitely added the thought of Industry work into my future plans, whether I pursue this is yet to be seen.

This Summer School also provided me with the opportunity to present an update on my PhD thus far. This allowed me to build upon my current skill set and work on presenting to different kinds of audiences. This was graded by the fellow DTA students and this has provided me with some really useful feedback to take into future presentations, especially as I have recently had an abstract accepted to present at the European Respiratory Society Congress in London this September.

A rather enjoyable aspect of the DTA Summer School is the chance to meet fellow students who have different backgrounds and perspectives. Also, the social activities that are involved are not only enjoyable, but informative. For example, the highlight of the 3 day school for me was the meal at Trent Bridge cricket ground. As a cricket fan, this was right up my street and I enjoyed it, probably a lot more than everyone else! Nonetheless, the relaxed social atmosphere created during this meal encouraged me to have more engaging discussions with students from other Universities rather than liaising with colleagues from within my institution. As a result of this, I have managed to find a common interest in my research with a fellow student. Even though he is looking into something completely different to me, we use the same piece of machinery. I am relatively new to this machinery (Flow Cytometer), where he has more experience, so he has kindly agreed to come to the University of Lincoln and assist me in my ongoing development, which to me is invaluable (and free!). So off the back of this Summer School, I am now really starting to see the benefits of being part of this Alliance and I for one am very grateful for this opportunity.

I am very much looking forward to the next Summer School at UWE in 2017.