Benjamin Crossley studied a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Leeds

Benjamin Crossley

What was your area of research?

I was involved in inorganic chemistry, so dealing with metals, but specifically I was trying to develop new anti-cancer drugs.

I was an undergraduate student at Leeds and I did an MChem project for my supervisor. Then I stayed here to do a PhD because I liked Paddy McGowan as a supervisor and the atmosphere of the lab.

Why did you choose a PhD?

I did my third year in industry during my undergrad degree. I worked for a company which made additives for petrol and engine oil near Oxford and I really enjoyed that. That helped me to decide that was what I wanted to go into eventually and I needed a PhD for that.

How did you find the experience of doing a PhD?

Well, there are times when it’s frustrating but then when it is going well it can be incredibly rewarding and interesting.

I actually over ran by about four months. The last thing I was working on was key for the project but it took me a long time to get it to work and when I finally got that sorted it was a big relief and that was a really big achievement for me.

In the third year of my PhD I was testing the compounds which I had made, but that all had to be done over in Bradford, so I was commuting there every day, which was a bit of a pain and I was happy when that part finished.

I would say that doing a PhD is really hard work but perhaps it is really only as hard as you make it. The person who drives you most is yourself and so your own motivation is really driving your project.

What are you doing now?

I am working for a small company that spun out of a company in Manchester - it’s called Yorkshire Process Technology and I am based here in Leeds.

I am working on a project which is in collaboration with the University of Leeds, Cambridge University and some other pharmaceutical companies. We are looking at improving drug synthesis processes. So we are looking at catalysts and things like that.

How hard was it to find a job?

I was quite lucky because the original company already had links with the University of Leeds through my supervisor, and so I had the contact there. When they came over I knew that they were going to have positions available and I managed to get a position.