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Case studies

Amna Nazir

Amna Nazir

Taking regular breaks is crucial for your health and wellbeing. During my doctoral studies, I made sure to take regular breaks and it really did wonders!

says Amna Nazir, former AHRC-funded doctoral student.

Read the interview with Amna in our feature.

Agata Frymus

Agata Frymus

Accept failure is part of the process and so apply for everything you can as this gives you lots more opportunities!

says Agata Frymus, former AHRC-funded doctoral student.

Read the interview with Agata in our feature.

Lynda Clark

Lynda Clark

Publicise every success, however small it may feel to you, as that can lead to people getting in touch with further opportunities. If you're not in a field with prizes and journals, then I think a good website with a few interesting blog posts can really help - I was able to think through some of my thesis ideas via blog posts.

says Lynda Clark, AHRC-funded doctoral student.

Read the interview with Lynda in our feature.

Juliet Jacques

Juliet Jacques

It's so important to cultivate networks by attending relevant events and exploring the possibility of exchange programmes.

says Juliet, a former AHRC-funded doctoral student.

Read the interview with Juliet in our feature.

Karen Patel

Karen Patel

It facilitated my shift from industry to academia, and the funding I have gained from the AHRC since has enabled me to build an academic career. Without the support from the AHRC and Birmingham City University, I think it would have been almost impossible for me to do that."

says Karen Patel, AHRC-funded doctoral student, Creative Economy Engagement Fellowship (CEEF) fellow and current RCUK/UKRI Innovation Fellows award holder.

Read the interview with Karen in our feature.

Natalie Ferris – Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow, School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, University of Edinburgh

Dr Natalie Ferris

AHRC-funded doctoral studies allow you to forge connections, to become – at that very early point in your career – part of a supportive community of researchers"

says Natalie Ferris who graduated with an AHRC-funded DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2017.

Read the interview with Natalie in our feature.

Rachel Hanna – Sociolinguistic Specialist at SIL International

Dr Rachel Hanna

Take the opportunities you are given, and prioritise. Don’t compare yourself to other doctoral students too often as everyone’s PhD is so different."

says Rachel Hanna who completed her AHRC-funded PhD at Queen’s University, Belfast, in 2019.

Read the interview with Rachel in our feature.

Martin Gliniecki - Immigration Compliance and Enforcement Lead for Wales and the South-West, Home Office

Martin Gliniecki

I don’t think I would be able to complete this DPhil if I wasn’t enthused about the subject matter, but equally there’s also a part of me that says: Once you’ve taken on a responsibility of something like an AHRC grant, you can’t let them down."

says Martin Gliniecki who completed his AHRC-funded doctoral award at Oxford University in 2019.

Read the interview with Martin in our feature.


Paul Yates - Solicitor Advocate, Head of Pro Bono at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Paul Yates

Imagine being able to spend three whole years investigating a topic you have chosen because it fascinates you the most. You’re working with the world experts in that field: your PhD supervisor, PhD examiners and other academics from around the world.”

says Dr Paul Yates who completed his PhD in 2002.

Read the interview with Paul in our feature.


Elaine Tierney - Teaching and Training Co-ordinator at Victoria and Albert Research Institute

Elaine Tierney

In my experience in working with our PhD students and having been one myself; they have the headspace or bandwidth to think about the V&A differently.”

says Dr Elaine Tierney who completed doctoral award with the Art History Department at Sussex .

Read the interview with Elaine in our feature.


Cathy Ratcliff – Talks about her motivations for studying for her PhD

Cathy Ratcliff

It’s only through an arts and humanities approach that you can really answer in depth the questions that are also addressed in a different way by social science.”

says Cathy Ratcliff who completed her PhD at the University of Edinburgh in 2017.

Read the interview with Cathy in our feature.


Peter Burch – How PhD training provides you with transferable skills

Dr Peter Burch

It’s probably the single most useful thing I’ve done both on a personal and a professional level.”

says Dr Peter Burch who completed his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2015.

Read the interview with Peter in our feature.


Alexandra Woodall – Getting involved with networks

Dr Erica Harrison

The people I met because of my PhD are still part of my networks and the opportunity to talk about my research with academics was fantastic. Those relationships have continued to this day.”

says Dr Alexandra Woodall who got her Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD at the University of Leicester in 2016.

Read the interview with Alexandra in our feature.


Erica Harrison – Using a PhD in 'challenging environments'

Dr Erica Harrison

The mentality of doing a PhD is that it always feels like Sunday night and you haven’t done your homework!”

says Dr Erica Harrison who got her Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD at the University of Bristol, partnering with Czech Radio to study the Czechoslovak Government-in-Exile.

Read the interview with Erica in our feature.

Niall Geraghty – The benefits of doing a PhD

Niall Geraghty

…Enjoy it! It’s a wonderful opportunity to have that length of time to dedicate solely to one project. It won’t be repeated in the same way again…”

says Niall Geraghty who completed his PhD in Contemporary Argentine Literature at the University of Cambridge in 2015.

Read the interview with Niall in our feature.

Malcolm McNeill – Chinese Painting Specialist at Christie’s

Malcolm McNeill

…the prestige of the AHRC award, once you have it on your CV, gives gravity to your later career. That made a difference, I think, in a number of the jobs that I applied for…”

says Malcolm McNeill who studied Chinese language at the University of Cambridge before working in Taipei and studying for his Masters at SOAS.

Read the interview with Malcolm in our feature.

Anne-Marie Eze - Director of Scholarly and Public Programmes

Anne-Marie Eze

It’s an unparalleled experience in many ways when it comes to problem solving. Doing a PhD certainly gives you that skill.”

says Anne-Marie who did her PhD at The Courtauld Institute of Art and the British Library.

Read the interview with Anne-Marie in our feature.

Justine Reilly - founder and Director of Sporting Heritage

Justine Reilly

I never wanted my PhD to be something that sat on the shelf - I wanted to do research that I could take out into the world and use to make a difference.”

says Dr Reilly who did her PhD at the University of Central Lancashire.

Read the interview with Justine in our feature.

John Miles - founder and CTO of Inkpath Ltd.

John Miles

Without my PhD there's no way I'd be doing what I do now and that's as much to do with the broader skills I've learned – such as independent learning and discovering my own drive – as the PhD itself.”

says Dr Miles who did his PhD at the University of Oxford.

Read the interview with John in our feature.