Neil McFarlane

Neil received a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship in 2018, while studying Chemistry at University of Strathclyde.

What motivated you to undertake a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship?

I undertook my Carnegie Vacation Scholarship between the third and fourth year of my degree, as I did not know what exactly I wanted to pursue as a career at that stage in my undergraduate. By undertaking the scholarship, I was able to try the process of individual research, as well as investigate a field that was somewhat outwith my comfort zone. Due to the nature of my project, what I ended up researching was highly multi-disciplinary, and I learned a lot of skills in different fields. In fact, I have recently started a Ph.D. in one of the fields that I studied during my Scholarship.

What impact did the funding from the Trust have?

The funding allowed me and my supervisor to investigate areas of the research which the group had not been able to study before. This included using a host of expensive reagents which were expected to shed some important light on facets of the group’s research – and, indeed, it did. Moreover, the funding allowed me to perform some experiments which I had designed, without the worry of using my supervisor’s funding which is often scarce in academia.

What advice would you give to students who are thinking of applying?

If I had to give one critical piece of advice to students, it would be that they should not be afraid of making mistakes. Not getting things right the first time and having to repeat experiments, simulations, etc. is an intrinsic part of the research process and is also a crucial part of learning to be an effective researcher. I would also advise students to pick a subject which is not easy for them, as being challenged is the best way to learn.

Awarded: Vacation Scholarship

Field: Chemistry & Chemical Engineering

University: University of Strathclyde

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