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Sally O'Brien's research secondment at the Alan Turing Institute

last modified Sep 18, 2020 01:38 PM

In January 2020, I began a six-month research placement at the Alan Turing Institute in London, as part of the Alan Turing Institute Enrichment Scheme. The Enrichment scheme offers students currently enrolled on a doctoral programme at a UK university the opportunity to join the Alan Turing Institute for up to 12 months. Students continue their PhD in conjunction with enhance, refresh, and broaden their research by accessing the facilities and opportunities available at the Alan Turing Institute. 

My research also looks at mapping techniques so being able to work alongside others at the Alan Turing Institute with a huge amount of experience in these fields has significantly benefited me and my PhD research." 

                                                                                             - Sally O'Brien

My experience on the Enrichment Scheme gave me the opportunity to explore new avenues and directions in my research. With 35 people in my cohort, and a whole host of academics, researchers, and working groups in the institute, I was able to build up a network of people who are currently working in or share an interest in my field of work. We would have regularly had discussions and brainstorming conversations about how I could develop my research, explore new fields and to see the work in existing fields in a new light. One of the main research developments that I made during my time at the Turing looked at mapping techniques and how there are numerous approaches for mapping data and for mapping people in an organisation.

Unfortunately, the Turing Institute was forced to close in early March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that I had to work from home for the remainder of my placement at the Turing. However, the staff at the Turing Institute were hugely accommodating during this time and continued to provide online group workshops, talks and courses for the students. 

I would recommend to all students who are considering going on a research secondment during their PhD to check out the Enrichment Scheme programme. It was a hugely rewarding experience for me to be a part of and it most definitely benefited my research.