Supporting young researchers

PhD students present mini Three Minute Theses to the donors who generously support their projects.

Roger and Sue Whorrod with their PhD studentship holders
Roger and Sue Whorrod with their PhD studentship holders

Honorary graduates and long-term donors to the University, alumnus Roger Whorrod OBE and his wife Sue, are giving £500,000 to provide opportunities to young researchers through a competitive programme of PhD studentships.

In December, a special event was held to celebrate the success of the programme and its students, organised by the Department of Development and Alumni Relations.

Inspired by the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, the Whorrod PhD scholars, Valentina Macchiarulo, Matthew Slade and Kathrin Lauber, were invited to present and explain their research topics to Roger and Sue in just three minutes.

However, unlike the real competition, Roger and Sue were more lenient on the rules, allowing more than a single PowerPoint slide and abstaining from disqualifying scholars who exceeded the time limit!

The projects:

Matthew presented his Chemistry PhD research, which is part of a £4m vaccine delivery project being undertaken by a consortium of academics from the GW4 network of universities. Half of all vaccines in developing countries are wasted due to the challenges in getting the vaccines safely and quickly to people in remote areas. He aims to develop vaccines which can be stored at room temperature, by encasing them in silica.

“This project has the potential to make the world a better place for everyone, which I truly believe is needed now more than ever. With the generosity of Roger and Sue, and others like them, it allows for these life-changing developments to come about sooner.” Matthew Slade

Valentina then explained her research within the Department for Architecture and Civil Engineering, which focuses on satellite monitoring of displacement and damage to property, following underground construction. Valentina is working closely with specialists at NASA to assess damage along a section of the UK’s Crossrail alignment. Ultimately, her research will improve the assessment process, helping to make the construction industry more economical.

“I am truly grateful and honoured to be one of the recipients of the Whorrod PhD Scholarships. Thanks to their generous support I can continue my postgraduate study in a country with a top-level academic system and high quality research.” Valentina Macchiarulo

Finally, Kathrin is working with Professor Anna Gilmore, Director of the Tobacco Control Research Group in the Department for Health, focusing on diseases caused by harmful use of alcohol, tobacco and unhealthy diets. Ultimately, Kathrin hopes to influence national health policy through her research.

“I would like to thank Sue and Roger Whorrod for making this possible. Studying at Bath has been one of the best decisions I’ve made, and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to stay for the next three years.” Kathrin Lauber

Roger commented on the event:

"Sue and I enjoyed the presentations very much... Next year we look forward to visiting them individually to explore their research in more detail."

We look forward to holding a follow-up event next year, when Valentina, Matt and Kathrin will be joined by two more Whorrod Scholars.

Find out more about securing funding for your PhD.

Doctoral research funding