Sunday, 17 February 2013

11 - The Graduate School at Sea

Aboard the James Cook  we have 6 current students (Verity, Matt, Diva, Jeff, Aly and Leigh) and 4 graduates (Will, Alex, Adrian and our principal scientist Jon Copley) from our Graduate School of the National Oceanography Centre Southampton. NERC funds these researchers, who make up nearly half of the science contingent aboard. They are studying the different core disciplines of our subject (geology, chemistry and biology) in this exciting interdisciplinary environment.

Matt and Bram inspect the rocks
Shipboard fieldwork is an integral part of the PhD research and on-the-job training for most of our graduate students. Our PhD students have the opportunity to go to sea, either directly as part of their PhD research or to broaden their skills and experiences. Onboard, they are immersed straight into the work patterns of the ship. This involves standing a watch, planning dives, overseeing the logistics of sample collection, learning how to acquire data and quality control complicated and large data sets before lodging them in the data repository and locating them in our GIS system, working in a team under very different and sometimes harsh conditions. They experience the immense satisfaction of discovering new and unexplored areas of the ocean and communicating this excitement to the world via social media and, of course, their research talks and publications. These are the skills employers and funders of our PhD graduates tell us they want; and our graduates get great jobs all over the world.

Seagoing friendships and experiences last a long time whatever career trajectory is chosen; we will all go home changed and with a refreshed view of the world.

By Rachel Mills

Will setting up one of the ROV baskets for a dive

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