Last month has been very busy, after initially start with introductions and settling into doing a PhD, now comes the planning phase. The planning phase involves the student to really understand the project and to start taking ownership which sounds a little odd but really it is planning the initial experiments, working out the stages and how to reach the goal of your research. I already know that many of these plans may not happen as research never goes to plan, if it did then it wouldn’t be research!
Personally I take inspiration from Albert Einstein “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler” which is a great way to think about planning experiments. As the more complicated an experiment is, the more factors need to be considered and if something does go wrong, which it is bound to, it’s very difficult to pinpoint the problem and it may be a contribution of several factors. Also, rather than taking something complicated and making it simpler, it’s far better to use a very simple idea and adapt that. It’s very easy to see the whole project and all the different problems to solve and design something very complicated, I feel it is difficult to break down the experiments into bite size chunks where useful data can be obtained and understood.
As for myself, I’ve planned a few initial stages for my project and I am learning a little bit of programming and computer aided design (CAD) for different parts of my project. My skills before my PhD were only from the biomedical arena and although I could outsource a lot of these challenges to other colleagues, I want to have the essentials skills so I can do the basics as well as understanding the limitations of the different applications. Furthermore, the reason why I wanted to do a PhD was to pick up new skills and continue research into nanomedicine. I feel a job as a researcher is to never stop learning as medicine and technology is always evolving and it’s valuable to pick up any and all skills as they may be useful in the future or at the very least to gain experience.
PhD Update – 2 months.
Funded by EPSRC at the University of Bristol; Associated with Bristol Robotics Lab, University of the West of England.