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The STOR-i MRes year contains a wide range of activities, some of which I expected as preparation for life as a PhD student, for example, being introduced to a vast number of exciting research areas then writing miniature reports on topics of my choice. Others were less expected, such as writing a blog on my experiences within the programme, creating a model to produce live odds during the Euros, climbing mountains in the Lake District and having the opportunity to take part in the annual STOR-i Bake off! There is also a large focus on teamwork, with several group posters, presentations and problem solving days. The staff couldn’t be more supportive and approachable, all in all I found it both an enjoyable and challenging year! Plus, my PhD project now gives me the opportunity to travel to Monterey, California next year!
The STOR-i programme is an excellent opportunity as it allows you to develop far more than academic skills. I have recently completed the MRes year and found it both challenging and extremely rewarding. The MRes year has not only built upon my knowledge and understanding of statistics and operational research, it has also allowed me to explore my own research interests. In my opinion, the most valuable part of the MRes year was the additional training and experience in a range of different areas such as programming, presenting, website development and blogging. The engagement with industry is especially rewarding since it allows you to see the impact that STOR has in the “real world”. Finally, one of my favourite things about STOR-i is the community. Whether you’re exchanging ideas at the STOR-i forums or participating in the STOR-i Bake Off, you feel like you’re part of something special and exciting.
After having completed the MRes year at the STOR-i Centre for Doctoral Training at Lancaster University, it is I think safe to say that I am as prepared as I could possibly be to begin my PhD studies. If the past twelve months has taught me one thing, it is that doing a PhD will be both academically enriching and a personal pleasure. Certainly I do not envisage a singular dull moment for the next three years: based in Lancaster, with links to a multitude of stunning natural parks - a regular haunt during the MRes - as well as other northern cities such as Manchester, in the company of such an engaged and friendly cohort of fellow STOR-ians, my time would be quite occupied enough even without the opportunities to expand my statistical and operational research horizons, particularly when it comes to establishing lasting links with a network of other industrial and academic partners. Already, despite having only been formally partnered with my prime industrial research contact (BT) for a little over a fortnight, the involvement has been great: in addition to a multitude of research visits and important technical learning sessions, I have had the privilege of representing BT as a `future research leader' at the launch of their pioneering new Tommy Flowers Institute. On a more general academic note, the opportunities afforded by being a member of STOR-i and of Lancaster University are great indeed, with a variety of seminars, masterclasses, workshops and conferences - all of which attract the very best mathematical and statistical minds, both national and international - augmenting an already extremely useful programme. Quite how I went from simply knowing I wanted to do a PhD to being equipped with a fairly thorough research perspective for the next three years, is too long a tale to tell, but suffice to say it is a great, personal and unmissable STOR-i indeed.
Prior to joining STOR-i my background was mostly in statistics. The Mres programme gave me valuable exposure to OR and broadened my knowledge of current areas of research, both of which helped me choose a PhD topic. The first term is comprised of taught courses to provide a solid foundation for the subsequent terms, where the focus is more towards research. Throughout the year there are numerous opportunities for group work in the form of group projects and industrial problem solving days. Whilst I have found the Mres to be challenging, I do feel that it has prepared me well for my PhD.