Andrea Vidal Dura

Talking about
Biogeochemistry research

I wanted to do research into trace metals or contamination in soils, so I went to the University of Leeds website and looked at who was working in that area here. I met them and they suggested some ideas, then I wrote a proposal. 

I have three supervisors, one of whom is the lead. It’s a very easy going relationship and it’s very easy to contact them. It’s your project but they are there for you to work with you and are always happy to help you, in the lab, the writing, they encourage you to be independent but they make sure you know they are there for you.

You focus the direction of your research and they support what you are doing. From the beginning of the first year to the end you can feel how independent you become as a postgraduate – even if you have lots of help and meet your supervisors every week or month, you do work individually so that’s very good.

I’m looking forward to going to some conferences this year, and meeting people doing similar work. Networking it is very important when you are doing any kind of research. In our school they organise a lot of seminars and talks so you not only get to know people from your very specific area but other people too, there are socials as well after seminars and you can always learn from others so that’s great.

My advice would be to manage your time. If you have a good schedule of your day you can fit in lots of activities. If you work hard in the first year, the transition to second year is easy and smooth.

I originally came to Leeds for an Erasmus year while I was doing my undergraduate degree. It was an amazing year and it was interesting to see the differences between two educational systems. Here there is a lot of individual work and I think the essays help the students here to have a more critical view of things they are interested in.

Leeds is a good city, the school had a good rating and it was one of the best places for environmental sciences in the UK.