August 11, 2022

Charlotte Smith placement – UKRI Mitacs Canada Globalink research exchange

Charlotte snow shoeing on snow covered mountains with colleagues from the research group

Figure 1 Snow shoeing with some of Naomi’s research group

During the final year of my PhD I completed a research placement at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, as part of the UKRI UK-Canada Doctoral Exchange Programme.

The placement was an opportunity to collaborate internationally on exciting new research that I was able to incorporate into my thesis as an additional chapter. My host supervisor, Professor Naomi Schwartz, and her research team were wonderful, and we have continued working together now that I am back in the UK.

But it wasn’t all work! Naomi’s group went above and beyond to help me settle into the city, introducing me to their friends and helping me make the most of being in Canada. From cross-country skiing and exploring Vancouver Island, to Whale watching and seeing bears sat on the side of the road, my three months in Vancouver were filled with the most incredible experiences.

Charlotte standing at the back of the ferry to Vancouver Island looking at the waves with the Canadian flag

Figure 2 On the ferry to Vancouver Island

The back of Charlotte's head as she looks towards the lghthouse park just outside of Vancouver city

Figure 3 Lighthouse park just outside the city – recommended by a new colleague

Although the application process was challenging, it was worth every ounce of effort – I will never regret the time I invested! Envision was super supportive throughout the whole process and when COVID restrictions threatened to spoil everything, the team were fundamental in securing multiple extensions to the grant so that I wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.

Charlotte standing in snow in front of trees learning to cross-country ski

Figure 4 Learning to cross-country ski with a friend of one of the research group

Charlotte stood in-front of an enormous Red Woods of Cathedral grove on Vancouver Island

Figure 5 Exploring the enormous Red Woods of Cathedral grove on Vancouver Island