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.
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.