Doctoral College

Your New DR Presidential Team

Hi, everybody!

Another year dawns, and with it a new presidential team is taking over the recurring presidential team blog. I want to begin as one should begin all important and timely endeavours, by apologising for being late. We originally wanted to introduce ourselves much earlier but as tends to happen in academia, things took longer than expected.

But here we are, so without further ado:

Alex Christiansen

My name is Alex Christiansen, I am a 3rd year Doctoral Researcher in the School of Design and Creative Arts and your LSU Doctoral Researcher President for the year 21/22. My PhD work involves analysing large quantities of social media data from Russians pretending to be American or British to influence elections. It is a bit like a spy movie, except with even more xenophobia and much less action.

Here is a bad picture of me, and a decent picture of my dog:

A picture of Alex and his 8-month-old German Shepherd, Wanda. The picture is taken on a sunny British afternoon. Wanda has a red mane, big brown eyes, and her tongue is lolling in the wind, Alex is looking goofily at the camera.
Alex and Wanda

Four fast facts…

  • I have two first names; Alex and Phillip, both of which are archetypically English despite the fact that I am from the northern part of Denmark.
  • I have a background in Corpus Linguistics, which is like regular Linguistics but bigger and therefore indisputably better.
  • I am from a country (again, Denmark) where the tallest peak is a whopping 170.86 m (that’s 560 feet, less than 1/3rd of the required height for something to be considered a mountain). As a result, I go on hiking trips as often as I can.
  • I have come to understand that the most interesting thing about me is my dog and I pledge to always include a picture of her when writing. This is now a dog blog, sorry.

As a Dane, I believe strongly in equal opportunity, a healthy work-life balance, and the strength of cooperation, and this is what will inform my every action as DR President. It has been a weird year, in every capacity, and I do want to help the university to return to a form of ‘normal’. That said, we must recognise that changes to that normal are necessary as well and the keyword here is mental health. In the 2019 PhD Survey by Nature, more than a third (36%, n = 6,300) reported anxiety and depression amongst other mental health challenges. That was before we faced a pandemic. As we build back, we must do so with this in mind – I hope that university-led initiatives such as the Doctoral Wellbeing Working Group will help us to do so, and I will do my best to make sure that it does. Meanwhile, DRs have proven repeatedly that they will stand up for each other, whether that be through academic support such as writing gyms and cross-school research groups or more human support such as buddy systems, carer networks, and mental health walks. Those people are the reason I applied for this position, and, above all, this is what I hope to support.

JD Bhadra

 My name is Jaydeep (JD) Bhadra, I am a 2nd year Doctoral Researcher in the Building Energy Research Group (BERG) in the School of Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering (ABCE). I am your LSU Doctoral Researcher Vice-President for the academic year 2021/22. My research revolves around quantifying the potential of personal comfort systems for improving sleep quality, thermal comfort, and reduce residential cooling energy demand.

A photo of JD in a snowbound landscape in Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, India.

And that’s me, in a beautiful place called Khajjiar in Himachal Pradesh, India (32.549, 76.059)

Four fast facts…

  • I am from India (the biggest democracy in the world by population) and have spent good years of my life growing up in the eastern region in a state called Assam (known worldwide for its Tea). For me, the first thing in the morning is a cup of tea which gets me going.
  • During my education and professional training, I have lived in southern (Tamil Nadu), western (Gujarat), and northern (Delhi). Perhaps, that is the reason I value Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion with the core of my heart, which has been catalysed by personal experience.
  • I am an Architectural Engineer by education with a MTech in Building Energy Performance and have a fair bit of experience working in the construction industry, consultancy, and research.
  • Beside work, I like to paint, travel, and cook, which are also means of stressbusters for me.

I believe, the challenges for DRs are of different and diverse in nature, ranging from mental health and well-being, equal and fair opportunities and support, post-PhD opportunities and career, financial support, targeted support for International DRs and those with carer or parenting responsibilities. Therefore, I intend to support Alex and work closely with DR reps. Regular and transparent communication with the DR community at large will be key to understand the depth and width of challenges across different schools and will help us to effectively liaison with LSU Exec team, University’s Management and Leadership team to find appropriate solutions.

As the DR Presidential Team, we are here to represent you and be your voice. A PhD journey can sometimes feel quite isolating, but never forget that we are more than a thousand researchers across campuses – we are here to represent each one of those voices. Over the next year, we will be in close communication with the LSU executive, now a smaller team, with the role of Education Officer being taken on jointly until 2022, and our focus will always be on giving Doctoral Researchers the kind of voice they both need and deserve within the LSU and at Loughborough University itself.  

If you have any questions, suggestions, concerns, opinions, success stories, achievements, or general remarks for us, please feel to share with us and get in touch at drpresidentialteam@lboro.ac.uk or on various social media channels. While we cannot promise that we will find solutions for every problem, we endeavour to discuss them with the appropriate team. What we can promise is that we are here to celebrate and support you, your journey and your success stories and achievements as well as your challenges.

If you wish to help us do that, please consider applying to be either a representative or lead representative for your school. More information on both roles can be found here.

For more updates, keep an eye on this space and follow us on Twitter (@DRPresTeamLboro), Instagram (lborodrpres) and WeChat. For more DR interactions in general, consider joining the DR Facebook group.


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