Hello, I’m Heidi! Next week I’m graduating from my undergraduate MSci Pharmacology with Industrial Placement degree, and at the beginning of July I’ll begin my PhD studies at the University of Aberdeen. On December 14th 2014 I applied for my dream PhD, I interviewed for it on January 13th 2015 and was offered the position just two hours later.
The PhD programme I’m beginning is quite a rare one; it’s the first studentship as part of the UK’s Trial Forge project. Trial Forge is a project aimed at improving the efficiency of clinical trials. The idea is based on the way that the British cycling team made improvements in their bikes for the London 2012 Olympics; improving the efficiency of every aspect of the bike by less than 1% gives an additive improvement which will make a big difference to the performance and ranking of the team.
Trial Forge will eventually be made up of multiple arms which each focus on distinct parts of the clinical trials process, because I will be the first PhD student I was given the chance to come up with my own ideas and I’ll be able to mold my project outline and aims as I get to grips with the work. I’ve chosen to focus on the way that volunteers are recruited into trials; what makes volunteers say yes to taking part in a trial, how can we improve the amount of volunteers in each trial, are the extensive amounts of inclusion criteria for volunteers really necessary? – that kind of thing. I’m sure the project will grow arms and legs and I’ll have to clip it back and refocus numerous times throughout the next few years, but initial enthusiasm and eagerness to get as much research done as possible is all good for now.
I’m going to update this blog regularly in an effort to keep track of my PhD, and to allow me to look back on a very important time in my life; ultimately I’ll sign off as Dr. Heidi Gardner. I hope I’m able to provide an entertaining insight into what studying for a PhD is like, if you guys have any questions at all please get in touch – just leave a comment in the box below!