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9 Things You Need to Know About Applying for a PhD with a CDT

The advantages of being part of a Centre for Doctoral Training
researchers in CDT's
21 Feb 2019

9 Considerations When Applying for a PhD in a CDT

1. Cohorts

A big part of joining a CDT is that you will be a member of a cohort. Think about what this will mean for you. What will you gain from this and what might you contribute to the group? Consider how your strengths could enhance your ability to collaborate with others and how being in a cohort might help with areas you’re less confident about. In a CDT you get to learn how to work with others, appreciate diversity, be part of a team, lead and collaborate and gain from peer to peer learning. This can have a significant long-term impact on your prospects for completing your PhD successfully and excelling in your future career.

2. Industry Partners

You will have access to a wide range of industry partners. This will provide you with fantastic opportunities to collaborate, learn commercial skills, find short term placements, spot consultancy openings, build contacts for your future career prospects, gain insight into industry and provide routes to impact.

3. Career

The majority of PhD students find themselves working outside academia after they finish their studies. There’s lots of interesting research about this, see The Royal Society’s “The Scientific Century”, Vitae’s 2016 report on “What do research staff do next? ” and a great article in Nature journal “Science PhDs lead to enjoyable jobs” based on research by education researcher Sally Hancock from the University of York and biochemist Reinhart Reithmeier at the University of Toronto. The bottom line is that there’s a good chance you will end up working in a job in industry, in a role you probably didn’t expect to be doing and you’ll be enjoying it!

careers in industry

Scientific Career Paths

4. Networks

You’ll be plugging into an existing network that you simply wouldn’t be able to create on your own. There will be ready-made links to all sorts of people and public and private organisations.

5. Making a Difference

CDT Centres bring together diverse areas of expertise to train engineers and scientists with the skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle today’s evolving issues, and future challenges. You’ll be researching areas of national importance so think about the impact you want to have. Why are you interested in this particular area of research and what difference will you be able to make with your research now and in the long term? What will be the benefits of collaboration and what disciplines in particular would you look to collaborate with to achieve your research goals?

6. Skills

CDT’s are all about training future leaders in their field so you can expect to be learning a broad range of technical skills from experts at some of the top facilities in the country. Therefore you’ll be gaining and learning transferable skills; take a look at this article in Science journal to start to build a picture of the key skills that will help you to be successful. You can also see on the Skillfluence competencies page some of the competencies you can learn and develop during your PhD.

7. Entrepreneurship

Many of the CDT’s have enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurship as key features of their purpose. This relates to the impact and translation of your research and you will learn to approach your research and design projects in a way that considers the context and impact pathways from the start.

8. Scientific Impact

Scientifically you’ll be making a difference as you can see in this fabulous graphic “The Illustrated Guide to a Ph.D.” by Professor Matt Might from the school of computing at the University of Utah.

Scientific knowledge and impact

The Illustrated Guide to a PhD

9. Inspiration

Inspiration comes as a result of working alongside other smart, curious people who are fascinated by solving problems and pushing the boundaries of human knowledge.

Find out about our work with CDT’s here