School of Earth and Environment

Student Profiles

Eoghan Darbyshire

Currently studying for a PhD in Manchester with Professor Hugh Coe

"After finishing my degree in Environmental Science a PhD in the atmospheric sciences appealed to me, however I felt there were a number of prohibitive factors. Although insightful into earth systems, my time spent as undergraduate did not develop the necessary quantitative base, nor atmospheric understanding required for a PhD. Furthermore, I was unsure if a career in research was actually for me. The MRes tackled both these factors, giving me an improved scientific grounding through lectures and assessments and also an appetite for further research through not only my dissertation project, but also involvement in the wider academic community. For instance one invaluable experience was flying over the Sahara on the BAe 146 research aircraft, as part of an international science project. The breadth of experiences during the MRes has successfully lead me into my PhD at the University of Manchester and will continue to serve me well"

Hannah Mantle

Currently studying for a PhD in Leeds with Martyn Chipperfield

“Before applying to the MRes  I had studied an Environmental Science degree with a limited atmospheric component. The MRes  not only gave me a strong background knowledge in my research area (atmospheric chemistry and modelling), but also allowed me to participate fully in the postgraduate community within the department. I particularly enjoyed the independent research project and the significance that is placed on this as part of the MRes course. This was a real chance to get to grips with one research area in particular, and to collaborate with members of successful and active research teams within the university.
The MRes cemented my intention to apply for a PhD position after my masters studies had finished, and I was successful in securing a NERC-funded PhD project within the school. After finishing my MRes, I feel fully prepared for life as a PhD student and am looking forward to a career in research.”

Doug Finch

Currently studying for a PhD in Edinburgh with Professor Paul Palmer

“My PhD is titled Biomass Burning and Tropospheric Chemistry. In particular, about the effect of boreal forest fires have on the atmosphere. The project involves looking at satellite and field data as well as different models to try and develop our understanding of the smoke plumes that come from the forest fires. The project means I can get to play with models, huge amount of data and has the possibility of field work in the future. I've joined Paul Palmers group in Edinburgh called Earth observation and atmospheric chemistry.  I joined the MRes with the intention of continuing onto a PhD after the year. The course really confirmed my desire by being a fantastic insight into the world of research. Being included as part of the research group at the university showed me the way university research works and has really help me in starting my PhD in Edinburgh. The range of courses available also help me improve the areas I was weakest and the fantastic staff there to help really made the year a lot of fun!”

Carly Wright

Currently studying for a PhD at the University of Reading with Professor Suzanne Grey

"After completing a BSc at Leeds I took two years out before deciding i wanted more education.  The MRes seemed the best way to go as I had heard it’s a good introduction to research and therefore a stepping stone towards a PhD, which it most certainly is  in my experience the MRes has a great balance of guidance and independent study which helps bridge the gap between a taught undergraduate degree and a research PhD.  The MRes also provides great flexibility for the students with a wide choice of courses and projects available.  The MRes really was my stepping stone to a PhD and has opened doors for me that i would never have imagined being available before."

Simon O’Meara

Recently completed a PhD in Manchester with Professor Gordon McFiggans

“The MRes fulfilled the expectations I had of it, namely practise at individual research and improving my ability to perform quantitative analysis.  The skills I gained would have been useful in many careers, and are certainly proving invaluable now I am studying a Ph.D.

Will Thurston

Went onto PhD in Leeds with Dr Mark Pritchard and now a researcher at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Melbourne

“I came to the MRes with no background in either atmospheric or earth sciences, but found that the structure of the course gave a good introduction to all aspects of the subject before moving forward onto more specialised topics. As a result of my studies, and having thoroughly enjoyed the chance to do my own research project, I stayed on in Leeds to do a PhD and I feel that the MRes was the ideal grounding for this.”

Whilst the MRes programme provides an ideal training for PhD study, and graduates usually have little trouble obtaining PhD, those who decide to leave academia are also well placed to obtain good jobs - highly numerate graduates with training in independent research are widely sought after. Some of the positions taken up by recent graduates include:

Dominic Sindall

Dominic is the Lead Catastrophe Risk Analyst for Faber Global. His interests and particular expertise are in US hurricane damage and risk assessment. He completed the MRes in 2011 where his Masters dissertation 'The thermodynamic effect of surface heating on haboobs' received UK Meteorological Office prize for best project mark in Atmospheric and Climate Science 2011

“I must say though I think the path I chose was definitely the right one for me at this stage of my career/life. There were a few options on the table once graduating from the MRes course as you know and choosing industry wasn’t necessary the common path for students, but it has worked out. The MRes teaches self-discipline and confidence in researching and assimilating information which prepares you for PhD life. However, in the Catastrophe Risk field there are constant pressures to research and understand hazard and vulnerability for client’s property portfolios. Often you don’t have time to join up with team members or peers so the research, analysis, use of software applications like GIS, SQL amongst others, and report writing is down to the individual. Now that I am building a team of Catastrophe Risk Analysts for the Facultative Reinsurance and Wholesale insurance side of the business (Treaty Reinsurance has an established team of 45 in the UK, 150 globally)  I tend to look for the key skills that I now have as a consequence of the MRes.”

Raizan Rahmat

Forecaster, National Environment Agency (Meteorological Services), Singapore

"Having previously done an MSc (by coursework), I wanted to do a masters course which has a strong focus in research. This was to prepare me for the climate and weather modelling work I would be doing in the research institute in my home country, and in view of my plans to do a PhD eventually. I chose this course because I thought it has hands-on research components which would help me in achieving my objectives. Indeed the course delivered and I'm glad to have chosen it."

Jason Lowenstein

Interim Vice President, GIS & Wind Resource (OwnEnergy, USA)

"The MRes course allowed me to take the quantitative and numerical skills that I acquired from my undergraduate degree in General Physics and directly apply them to the fields of Earth and Atmospheric Science. The MRes course did an excellent job of providing a concrete overview of problems in each of these two disciplines, and instilled the knowledge and research skills essential for a PhD or employment in industry. After completing the MRes in 2004, I went on to complete a PhD in Atmospheric Physics in 2007. After graduating I joined a renewable energy wind development company called OwnEnergy, where I am currently employed. My role at the company is to conduct upfront site feasibility studies for wind development purposes. I also oversee the in-house wind resource efforts-which include met tower installations, turbine layouts and wind resource assessments. The MRes course provided me with the basic concepts and fundamentals in Atmospheric Science, many of which I still apply in my job, on a day to day basis."

Other MRes alumni have gone on to successful careers including;

  • Beamline Associate (Argonne National Laboratory, US)
  • Air Quality Scientist (Golder, UK)
  • Environmental Consultant (Haskoning UK Ltd., Peterborough, UK)
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