PhD Health Economics

What are you most proud of achieving personally or academically as a result of your time at Swansea to date?

The greatest achievement thus far I think is gaining financial support from Pharmacy Research UK.  I was fortunate to already be supported by Swansea University and RCBC for my PhD place but required substantial monies to access the data I needed for the research itself.  I made several unsuccessful funding applications but was given an interview for Pharmacy Research UK in July last year.  I hadn't had to discuss my proposal in such detail before and was really apprehensive about it.  I was delighted when I was informed that they would support the research, not least because I must have been able to communicate the work to a reasonable degree in order to convince them to back me! 

 What do you enjoy most about your PhD? 

PhD research is completely different to anything else I have done in my career until now.  Although I have two undergraduate degrees, I hadn't done a Masters prior to this and so autonomous research was quite something to get used to.  I have been lucky to make some good friends amongst other post-grads and this has been a huge support.  I have also really enjoyed being part of the RCBC Community of Scholars which provides sessions on a wide variety of subjects including media training, coaching and mentoring and political integration.  All this is aimed at making us rounded researchers able to discuss and promote our work in the future.  All of this new learning is fantastic and I'm really enjoying it.

How have your studies changed your academic expectations? 

I always knew studying for a PhD was going to be hard work.  Even then, I've probably massively underestimated the time involved and the permanent sense of guilt you develop for never doing enough work.  I am a part-time researcher so am trying to balance my PhD with my professional role as a pharmacist as well as seeing my husband and children occasionally!  If I can get the balance right, then research at this level is certainly something I would like to continue with. 

What would you tell prospective research students about college life? 

Work hard and enjoy it.  Swansea University has been really supportive to me.  Staff and students are friendly and there is always someone willing to help you out when you get stuck.  Plus - it’s a great place to live!

Future career/academic goals 

My main aim is to finish my PhD and actually pass!  I'm not really looking much beyond that at the moment - it seems a long way off.  However, a recent visit with RCBC to the Senedd in Cardiff has made me realise that in Wales, we have a unique opportunity to directly influence national policy as our government is really accessible.  This has made me think that continuing to undertake Welsh-focussed health research is worthwhile because it is quite possible to see research translated into practice and that's the reason we all do research.