Tom Calverley, from Leatherhead, Surrey, is a PhD student in the Neurovascular Research Laboratory at USW. He has already landed a great job in industry.
"My PhD investigated the neuroprotective benefits of exercise. My interest in this field of research stemmed from the third year of my Sport and Exercise Science degree at USW. I attended a number of lectures and laboratory sessions demonstrating how the human body, particularly the brain, responds to different environments and challenges, and how stressors could be applied to improve physical health. From that moment I was hooked on the physiological adaptations that optimise physical health.
"I conducted my PhD under the expert guidance of Professor Damian Bailey and Dr Chris Marley, and looked at the effect of physical activity on brain health. I conducted a number of studies, the highlight of which was a randomised control trial where older adults completed a 12-week high-intensity interval training programme. A bonus of this was being able to interact with a variety of characters on a daily basis, some of whom were keen on golf, which meant we had common ground.
"One of the main skills I developed as a PhD student was the ability to work independently. While the support available from both the supervisory team and Graduate School was excellent, I was required to oversee all of my research projects and had to “take the ball and run”. This is a skill that I am required to apply on a daily basis in my current role in order to progress the research projects that I am involved in managing.
"The research experience and associated skills that I attained during my time as a PhD student at the University of South Wales have enabled me to pursue a great career in the pharmaceutical industry.
"I now work as an Associate Project Manager at a contract research organisation, a company that runs clinical trials to determine the effectiveness of medical drugs. Simply put, I interact with a wide variety of departments across the company to ensure that the clinical trials are delivered to the expectation of organisations that develop the drugs.
"This role has allowed me to focus on the parts of research that I really enjoyed - interacting with people and overseeing research projects. More importantly, I am able to play a small role in a process that ultimately improves patients’ lives."