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Making Connections

March 17, 2011 1 comment

Since my research concerns environmental and local issues as a start, I am fast recognizing the importance of having connections with the relevant agencies and companies working in the area. Being part of QUESTOR certainly helps in getting the foot in the door, particularly for first contacts, for meeting QUESTOR industrial partners. Therefore, over the past months I have been trying to get into contact with relevant agencies in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

I have met informally during QUESTOR events with one of the companies in the RoI, who have shown willingness to give support to my project. I have been in contact with them, and hopefully things will move forward soon. Yesterday, I had a meeting with another agency in Northern Ireland. I had been in communication by email for a couple of months now, and had finally managed to organise a trip to their offices, where I was to meet people involved in water chemistry.

Over the past week I was pleased to see that my supervisors were showing interest in attending, with 3 out of my 4 supervisors (the fourth is sick and so could not make it) attending the meeting. It feels good to see their interest in this project, and that they could be present to show support. Therefore yesterday morning saw my two supervisors attending from DCU and myself driving up to their offices. Once we arrived we met with my supervisor from QUB and in we went.

First up, after initial introductions was a short presentation I prepared about my project. This was the part I was most scared about. I was not sure of how much detail I should include or how technical the people I was meeting were. I decided to give a short presentation of around 10minutes. Had only managed to try it completely from start to finish once, yesterday morning. However it seems to have gone well. They commented that it was succinct and to the point at the end, and my supervisor from QUB requested that I send a copy. So it seems that my worries were unfounded.

After my presentation, we got to discussing our possible collaboration and what logistical issues need to be sorted out, what support they could offer etc etc. In general it was a very positive meeting, and I hope that something fruitful comes out of it. They seems really interested in the project, and as usual the main feeling at the end of me explaining what I am working on is that ‘if this works, it will be great’. But Oh Well. That is research.

I hope that what we discussed will come to fruition, but I am sure that even if it does not, this initial contact has been useful and will bring some benefits somehow.

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Hello world!

August 31, 2010 Leave a comment

This blog will hopefully see me through the trials and tribulations of getting a PhD. I will be starting my PhD studies this October at Dublin City University as part of the ATWARM project. I will also have a supervisor from Queen’s University Belfast, where I will be carrying out some of my research.

I will be considered to be an Early Stage Researcher and am funded through the Marie Curie Actions for Initial Training Networks. 14PhD students and 2 post-doctoral researchers will form part of the ATWARM projects at 7 institutions in Germany, UK and Ireland.

My project is project no 3.6 entitled:

Assessment and usefulness of integrating stable isotope data and data on pharmaceuticals to disentangle point and diffuse sources of pollution

The description of the project is:

Identifying the source(s) of nitrate in water bodies is crucial to preserve water quality and achieve sustainability. This project will identify source(s) of nitrate in water bodies. Most nitrate sources are characterised by distinct N and O isotopic compositions, except for sewage and manure, which have overlapping values. This complicates nitrate source identification. The project will assess the effectiveness of integrating isotopic data on nitrate and data on pharmaceuticals to disentangle point and diffuse sources of nitrate pollution.

I look forward to started this new phase of my life. At the moment I am still waiting for official acceptance from the University and receipt of my contract. I look forward to the 30th September when I make my way to Dublin and the 1st of October when I will meet my supervisor to embark on this next stage of my life and also the other students who will be starting their project with me.

I hope this blog will serve to keep in contact with other people working in the same areas as me, and possibly to rant sometimes.