I’ve always enjoyed working on projects that feel as though they could make a real difference to the world around us

fiona mcbride
Fiona McBride
Sheffield University Management School
PhD researcher
After completing her integrated master's in general engineering, Fiona decided to stay in Sheffield and begin studying her PhD.

Choosing to study a PhD

I’ve always enjoyed working on projects that feel as though they could make a real difference to the world around us. When I read the advert for my project – independent research, interdisciplinary work using engineering skills and logistics and management, with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainability – it seemed like a list of things I was already interested in.

What is your thesis title?

I’m part of the EV Logistics research group, which is within the OMDS cluster. My project title is Capturing wasted energy from urban light rail systems to support fleet EV charging for urban and last mile delivery vehicles. My research area is really at the intersection between logistics and engineering – working out how much energy is being wasted by light rail systems, and when and where we could put it to better use in delivery vehicles.

Why Sheffield University Management School?

I’m supervised by academics from both the Management School and the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, which gives me the opportunity to take a really interdisciplinary approach to my project. I love living in Sheffield. It’s a really friendly, down-to-earth city and being right next to the Peak District is perfect for going on adventures. The University of Sheffield is also a supportive and diverse place to work, with lots of collaboration opportunities and great facilities.

Any advice for someone working on their PhD proposal?

My project was proposed by the Energy Institute, so for me the application process was more about figuring out whether or not I would be a good fit for it. However, I’d suggest meeting potential supervisors and getting to know them and their research areas a little before making any decisions.

How do you find a good work/life balance whilst studying a PhD?

I make sure I take time every week to do fun things for myself, like going climbing or spending time with friends. At the start of every week, I take a look at my calendar and make sure there’s something in there for me. If not, I try to add something in or block out some time to relax.

What does the future hold?

I’ve still got a bit of time to figure that out, but I hope to either continue researching my project area or go and work in an industry that’s related. The work I’m doing could be implemented with the tech that exists right now if the logistics works, so ideally, I’d work on making that happen.

Find a PhD

Search for PhD opportunities at Sheffield and be part of our world-leading research.