PhD in Inorganic Chemistry

Nichola Cosgrove

What area of research were you involved in?

During my PhD I was studying inorganic chemistry, particularly phosphorous and catalytic chemistry.  I came to do a PhD because I came for an informal chat with my supervisor Terry Kee and he was very enthusiastic about the project and although it was something which I had never studied as an undergraduate he really sold it to me.

What was your undergraduate degree in?

Pharmaceutical sciences. I have always been interested in biology and chemistry and I could never differentiate between which one I wanted to study and the pharmaceutical sciences side of it incorporated both of those aspects which I enjoyed. For my PhD I wanted to do more chemistry and laboratory based research.

Why did you decide to do a PhD?

I had done an industrial placement for my undergraduate studies and I had enjoyed that side of things. So the only way to get anywhere in that industry was to have a PHD. So really it was for career progression.

What made you choose Leeds?

I did my undergraduate degree in Sheffield but my other half was working here in Leeds and so that was why we ended up here. I looked at other PhD projects in other universities but when I enquired at Leeds that seemed to work out well as it was the project I wanted to do. It already had funding ear-marked for it which was good because I wouldn’t have been able to self-fund the PhD. 

What would you say were the highlights of your PhD?

Going on conferences. I had only been here six months and there was the International phosphorous conference which only comes about every four years and that year it was to be held in China. And I remember I had to get together a poster and an abstract and then send it off to see if they would want me to come along and I actually went to China and ended up winning the best poster prize. So that was a definite highlight. It was great going to other countries and mixing with others from other universities. Otherwise you are stuck in lab doing project work and you miss out on important networking with other students; and also companies and sponsors. 

What are you doing now?

I am currently a post doc here in the School of Chemistry. I am expecting a baby and I want to continue in academia after having my child. I feel that in the end industry would have been a bit too constraining and so I want to continue being in research.