October 18, 2023, by Postgraduate Placements Nottingham
The UoN DTP PhD – the lives behind the acronyms 10 years later!
Harriet Day looks back on her experience of the BBSRC DTP and how it shaped her cohort of peers.
In September 2013 I, along with approximately 30 others, embarked upon our PhD journeys at the university of Nottingham. Specifically, we were all doing a “unique” kind of PhD: a doctoral training partnership, or DTP. Being part of a DTP means that you are part of a cohort; each of us would end up doing our own individual PhD project, but we would be doing so at the same time as others in our group, so that we could support one another.
During the first year, our cohort all undertook training together in subjects such as chemistry for biologists, public engagement, report writing and computational coding. All of which were useful for our future careers, but they also helped us all to get to know each other – friendships fast form when you’re all working towards a deadline and no one knows how to use MATLAB. These training sessions were interspersed between our laboratory rotations, where we could each do three short projects in our chosen subject area to get a feel for several labs, supervisors, and techniques. From these rotations, we could then pick our “final project” which would then form the basis of our doctoral study and (hopefully) produce a thesis at the end of the doctoral programme.
“it was hard to imagine that we would end up having DTP Christmas together, in some form or another, every single year for the next decade.”
By the end of the first year, everyone had started their final projects and several of us were living together; it was always helpful to come home to someone who understood what “urgh, labs” meant when asked how you were. A group of us had also taken a trip to Amsterdam, the first of many cohort expeditions, and we were also preparing for our first ever “DTP Christmas”, complete with secret Santa. At the time, it was hard to imagine that we would end up having DTP Christmas together, in some form or another, every single year for the next decade.
“We attended festivals and gigs, presented at UoN Spring school, took part in Mayfest and Biotech YES, […] published papers, and attended at least 5 DTP weddings!”
As the years progressed, we each faced the trials and tribulations of graduate life, both as individuals and as friends. We attended festivals and gigs, presented at UoN Spring school, took part in Mayfest and Biotech YES, sunk hours into board games, went to local and international conferences, completed placements all across the country, got jobs, had parties (many, many parties), published papers, and attended at least 5 DTP weddings.
Earlier this year, almost all of us (plus 2 dogs) also managed to get to the Peak District to celebrate our “10 year DTP anniversary”. Here’s hoping I can organise the “20 year DTP anniversary” and beyond!
Published by the UoN Researcher Academy
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