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PhD Development Studies

Anisha is a research scholar from India, undertaking a PhD in Development Studies at Bradford.

She joined the thriving Bradford postgraduate community in July 2019, and is now entering the third year of her PhD.

This is her story:

Preparing for a PhD

“I chose a PhD after completing a Master’s and working at the grassroots level for a while.”

"I completed my Master's in Economic Development at the University of Glasgow, after winning the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship.

"I wanted to do my PhD straight away, but I felt I needed to get some ground experience before. I went back to India and worked in agricultural research for two years, which increased my interest in climate change and sustainable development goals – a guiding factor in choosing my PhD topic.

"The approach I’m taking to my PhD is a conceptual framework rooted in the Capability Approach by Amartya Sen, focusing on the freedoms and wellbeing of people, to really understand what causes water poverty, and how to overcome it.

"My research is bringing more evidence and a renewed determination to address water challenges. Data is the future of everything we know, it is power - one can make a difference with it."

My research area

“My area of research is climate-resilient and community-based water management.”

"Specifically for vulnerable people living in urban and peri-urban areas in the global south; people who live in slums in developing countries, who don’t have equitable and fair access to water resources.

"The idea is to empower them and strengthen the dynamics of community-based water management, so they can build on their capabilities and substantially improve their well-being.

"My research area can be overwhelming at times and COVID-19 has made it challenging for social science researchers, but it has also opened up opportunities for innovative and adaptive ways of carrying your research forward.

"I chose this area of research because water is a fundamental aspect of climate change. It has taught me more about strength and resilience of individuals and communities."

When I was looking for which uni to go to, the supervisor at Bradford had significant credentials in my field. When we connected, I knew Bradford was right for me.

Funding for my project

“I was always keen on doing my PhD in the UK, but it was a big decision about where.”

"Funding was an important priority, because funds are diverted to whichever research project is deemed worthy of investment. It is awarded on a competitive basis.

"My supervisor, Professor P. B. Anand, is brilliant in his field, and managed to secure the Global Challenges Researchers Fund, which provides research funding specifically for developing countries.

"I was fortunate enough to be selected as the researcher to take this research forward."

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The University of Bradford has a lot of diversity on campus, and the fact that it was named the UK’s University of the Year for Social Inclusion also really impressed me. I wanted that multicultural aspect to my chosen university.

Life as a research student

“I didn’t have a problem adjusting on campus. It has been a fulfilling journey, socially and academically, so far.”

"Being an active part of the Department of Peace Studies and International Development (PSID) for over two years has helped me grow and significantly enrich my experience as a researcher, and broadly as an international student, in our culturally rich city of Bradford.

"The Faculty of Management, Law and Social Sciences offers key research training, workshops, seminars, and everything you need to progress with your PhD as soon as you arrive.

"The Bradford community is so warm and open. I’m an extrovert and I love meeting people, but my advice would just be to have a healthy balance between time devoted to your studies, and enough hours spent exploring and travelling. It adds creativity to your experience."

The benefits of studying a PhD

“A PhD gives you autonomy.”

"My Master’s degree was compact, completed over a year-long period, whereas a PhD gives you more flexibility and autonomy to do what you want in your way, validated by scholars.

"I love interacting with different experts on campus, learning more about their subject areas and their journeys. Everyone's individual journeys are different, but we all learn from each other and the bond with other researchers is so fulfilling.

"I like the fact that you can go to any library and access resources from all over the world. That’s what brought me back to the UK after my Master's - I saw the university environment and what it can offer me; everything is so accessible.

"You also get the chance to be published, so it really allows you to put yourself out there in the world."

The teaching and learning approaches at the University are multidisciplinary, and you get to learn from other faculties too. You can really expand your skill set and knowledge of different subject areas.

Planning and development

“Your time is very much driven by your own research agenda.”

"The University frequently holds research training workshops for qualitative and quantitative research, and there are other training modules that are free to attend – such as research ethics, for example. There are plenty of opportunities to attend lectures, sit in your supervisor’s lectures, or just any lectures that you want.

"When you come to the university as a PhD student, you have to fill out a Training Needs analysis, which maps out which skills you need to work on and your goals across academic, social and career pathways. You create a plan for yourself, and devise the different skills you need to develop over the course of your study. It’s very much a holistic development plan, which becomes your guide during your PhD and underpins everything you do."

A future in teaching

“With my PhD, I’d like to take on lectureship.”

"Bradford offers a very good three-month programme if you want to get into teaching, called the Fellowship Scheme, open to all postgraduates.

"The Scheme offers a coherent, whole career framework to support the development of those involved in or aspiring to get into teaching. We get training and a certificate, which allows us to take on classes and tutorials."

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Interested in studying a research degree?

You can apply for an existing project or submit your own PhD research proposal.