James Pope

James Pope

Why did you decide to study at Leeds?

The PhD project in Palaeo-climate was an excellent project in a great city. Mostly though, it was the knowledge that I would be led by a world leader in the field with support from other internationally excellent staff throughout the department. The opportunity to grow and develop as a researcher in such a surrounding was incredibly enticing and I knew that beginning my career at Leeds would give me the best chance to follow any future path of my choosing.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

I have always loved finding out why things worked and my PhD gives me a chance to understand a climate system that is an analogue to today’s climate, while at the same time allowing me to develop skills that will make me a versatile researcher in the future. I am studying a completely new area for me and I am fascinated to learn about it, I have never read so many papers in my life because I want to not just because I must! My research enables me to fulfil dreams I have had since I was beginning my undergraduate dissertation in the summer of 2007.

What has been the best part of studying at Leeds so far?

The community of researchers who mingle with each other as equals, PhDs, Post Docs and staff are all together. Oh, and the travel to conferences!

How would you describe the experience of being a PhD student?

Being a PhD student is very different to anything you will previously have done, even if you have undertaken a research masters. You have more freedom to work your way but at the same time more responsibilities. However, it has so far lived up to and exceeded my wildest dreams.

What are the academic facilities for student like?

Excellent, and I’m sure the new building will only make the experience better.

What kind of support do you get from your supervisor?

Alan is a guide to me, showing me which paths I must walk down, however, he allows me to forge my own way down these paths. However, your supervisor will become what you need either a guide or a friend a leader or a supporter, it’s a personal bond that varies by student. 

What do you like about the School of Earth and Environment?

It has a really good mix of staff and student backgrounds and research interests, enabling the maximum opportunities and sources of advice.

Tell us about your career plans.

I would hope to get some industrial experience may be in government organisations or NGO’s away from academia for a few years before returning to academia to pass on what I know. 

What do you do in your spare time?

I enjoy playing Squash, Cricket and a quite random sport called Racketlon (look it up!). I also torture myself by supporting a non-league football team and my adopted nation, Scotland in the vast majority of sporting events. 

Tell us what you think about the University as a whole as a place to study.

The University of Leeds offers a first rate experience whether you are still wanting to party like an undergrad or behave like an adult researcher. It caters to all for a good time.