Ada’s experience on applying for an FSBI studentship

Hi, I’m Ada, a first-year PhD student funded by the FSBI Studentship program.

My path to a PhD place started in 2018 when I decided to apply for a research-focused masters  in freshwater and fish ecology in the UK.

The first decision was to contact Prof Anne Magurran, at the University of St Andrews, after reading some of her exciting work, and ask whether there would be any opportunities to do a project with her group.

Right after my first email, I received a very nice and positive response. With Anne’s help, I was accepted to do a project studying temporal diversity change in freshwater fish communities on the Caribbean island of Trinidad!

The great experience I received through this masters made me confident that I would enjoy embarking on a longer PhD project.

 

Take time to find out whether you enjoy the day-to-day aspects of your research

 

Firstly, find out if you enjoy the academic research lifestyle. There is no point doing a PhD if the way the academic world works frustrates you.

If you are unsure of what academia is like, then I would advise undertaking an internship or masters by research.

 

Start planning you PhD studentship proposal well in advance

 

Secondly, start writing your proposal as soon as you get a PhD idea that you are excited about. It takes longer than you think!

Start by writing a brief outline, making your objectives and hypotheses clear.

Then, take it to your supervisor or contact your desired future supervisor and pitch it to them! They can help you develop your proposal and give you the direction needed.

In my case, having great guidance from my supervisors and the help & encouragement of all the members of the research team was very important. I doubt I would have achieved anything had I not been in this environment.

Furthermore, attending conferences and symposiums is a great way to get your name and ideas out there to relevant and proactive supervisors, just like Joe Perkins did!

The FSBI PhD studentship is a wonderful opportunity!

 

Without the opportunity offered by the FSBI this project would have not been possible.

Fish are incredibly interesting and an essential resource for humans. It is fantastic that there is an organisation dedicated to research on all aspects of their biology.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How the 2019 symposium led to my PhD place

My name is Joseph Perkins and I am a student FSBI member finishing my masters by research degree at the University of Salford.

In the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to get accepted to deliver a speed talk at the FSBI symposium in Hull.

The symposium was focused on advances in eDNA-based approaches to fish ecology and management. The conference was fantastically orchestrated, the talks were incredibly delivered, and the social events provided the chance to meet wonderful scientists, in which their work I have been reading and admiring throughout my studies.

“If I did not join the FSBI or apply for this conference, this opportunity may not have presented itself.”

After I nervously delivered by presentation, I approached a PhD student from James Cook University whose presentation was incredibly inspiring. Here we spoke about the amazing research she had done, along with other research at JCU, this then led to the projects they had on offer. That very evening, I got onto my laptop and found an exciting PhD opportunity at JCU.

Now a few months down the line, I have been offered and now accepted the PhD position. I have obtained a scholarship and I am now in the final stages of completing my visa, before starting the PhD in July at JCU in Townsville, Australia.

Push yourself and your research, no matter how nervous you are!Click To Tweet

As a master’s student, my advice would be to push yourself and your research, no matter how nervous you are.

With this, you need amazing organisations such as FSBI to give students, as well as established scientists the opportunity to showcase what they have achieved, so they too, can progress and get such wonderful opportunities like I have.