Alex Chatel
Alex Chatel

I enjoy the freedom that I get in steering my research in a direction that I find most relevant and interesting.

Graduated: 2009

Current occupation: Studying for an EngD in Biochemical Engineering, University College London/Glaxosmithkline

What route have you taken to get to your current position?

Doing my master’s research project opened my eyes to the field of biotechnology and bioengineering and contributed to my decision of pursuing further studies in the field.

What does this position involve?

While studying for an EngD the candidate is expected to complete a research thesis (as for a PhD) while collaborating between an academic institution and a company. The research topic is thus industrially and commercially relevant. An EngD candidate is also expected to include other discipline in his research such as economic evaluation, business planning or policy decision tools on top of the purely scientific aspect.

The position involves frequent travel and collaboration with the sponsor company. Because two parties with potentially diverging end goals - eg academic institutions are interested in fundamental understanding while companies care more about commercially meaningful research - are involved in the project organisation, management and to some extent diplomacy are skills that will be essential to learn.

What does this position involve?

I enjoy the freedom that I get in steering my research in a direction that I find most relevant and interesting. The creative environment generated by people researching is also thrilling. Living in the centre of one of the great capitals of Europe, with its party scene and thousands of restaurants is also a definite advantage!

What did you most enjoy about your course?

The variety of courses - there is opportunity to go into many different fields.

What skills/knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

Critical and scientific thinking.

What advice would you give to students applying for the same programme that you took?

You have to be pro-active: applying for a PhD or an EngD takes some effort. You have to first have a good think about what topic or field you’d like to study further. Then you’ll have to look at where you would want to do it and which institution is specialised in it. Finally, you’ll have to get in touch with individual lecturers and professors and also probably do a formal application through the institution’s website to express your interest.

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