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Past Questions

  1. Hi Emily, this is Monika, a final year Chemical Engineering student at University of Hull. I have applied for the EngD Fomulation Engineering programme, where they have asked me for my research proposal. How would you advice me to approach this? Did you have to submit one when you applied? If yes, do they always give you the one you choose or they assign it to you? Many thanks and hope you to hear from you soon! Take care.

    Hello Monika, Thanks for getting in touch! Great to hear you are applying for an EngD at Birmingham, I would highly recommend the course. When I applied, I did not have to do a research proposal since the project was already laid out. However, I know this is a common thing for some doctorates. In terms of my advice, it is definitely worth doing a thorough literature review in the chosen field depending on if there is a word limit. The key is impact though - what will your research bring to the field, what are the key aims and objectives and how do they relate to industry advancements? Make sure you bring in all your experience and tailor it to the aims of the sponsor company (if there is one?). Summarise your planned approach and experimental methodologies you will use. I am not sure of the specifics of how this research proposal system works in terms of assignment as I did not go through this process. This is a question for the programme manager of the course, Dr Richard Greenwood, so I would email him about the specifics. Hope this helps, and sorry I have not had direct experience of your question. Best wishes, Emily

  2. How have you funded your postgraduate studies?

    When you apply for the EngD the funding comes with it.

  3. What has been the highlight of your time at Birmingham?

    My highlight to date has been the shear amount of facilities available at Birmingham, not only from a research perspective but also from a sports and societies perspective.

  4. What was your motivation for undertaking postgraduate study?

    After attaining a Chemistry degree, I worked in the consumer goods industry for two years, specifically on Strepsils. However, it became clear within the company that it is advantageous to have a further postgraduate qualification in terms of your progression. As such, I decided to search for an industrial focused PhD and that’s when I came across the EngD programme at the University of Birmingham. This programme allows you to work on a project very relevant to industry with prolonged experience at the sponsor company.

  5. Can you describe your journey from school to where you are now?

    After sixth form, I started at the University of Oxford on a 4 year MChem course. After the end of 4 years I attained a 1st class degree. At this point I wasn’t really sure what to do – I had an offer on KPMG’s graduate scheme. However, I deferred this offer and went to work for the consumer goods company Reckitt Benckiser, specifically on aerosols and Strepsils. I really enjoyed this work so I decided against training to be an accountant. After 2 year at Reckitt Benckiser, I decided it would be beneficial to attain a further qualification so I search for an industrial PhD and that is when I came across the EngD in formulation engineering at University of Birmingham.

  6. Have you joined any clubs or societies, gone on any research trips or done any volunteering?

    I have been to three conferences in Europe, where I have promoted my research and also gained insight into other advances in formulation and chemical engineering. I am also a STEM ambassador, which requires me to go into schools on a fairly regular basis to promote science and engineering through the means of talks, career days etc.

  7. Do you have anything lined up for once you have completed your degree?

    I still have a year and a half yet, but I am hoping to go back into the consumer goods industry, in a project management R&D role.

  8. What, for you, are the best things about the course?

    The EngD course is very diverse, which I enjoy. As well as carrying out your research project, there are also modules that must be completed. These can include topics such as project management and marketing and as such helps prepare you for industry work in the future. Aside from this, there is also the opportunity to spend prolonged periods at the sponsor company. For me, I have spent a total of 3 months at P&G Brussels during my course, which I have really enjoyed.

  9. How will your degree prepare you for what you want to do afterwards?

    I am hoping that with an EngD qualification it will help to accelerate my progression in the R&D sector of a consumer goods company such as P&G, Unilever or P&G. The industrial experience I have had at my sponsor company is valuable in terms of work experience when applying for jobs.

  10. Why did you choose the University of Birmingham?

    The main reason that I chose Birmingham was for the EngD programme, since this is the only university that offers the formulation engineering EngD. Aside from this, study at Birmingham was very attractive as a result of its lovely campus, good transport links and sport facilities.

  11. What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering postgraduate study in your field?

    In term of advice for potential postgraduate students, I would say make sure you are really keen and interested in your project and project area since it will become your life for 3-4 years! I would also speak to as many people in the research group that you can to understand how the group works and the facilities available.