Scholarship Holders

Find out about our past scholarship holders and how University of Sheffield scholarships help them pursue their outstanding ideas.

University Prize Scholarships

We award up to five prestigious University Prize Scholarships each year to the very best PhD applicants in any subject across the University.  Sayali Haldipurkar and Rebecca Cohen in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health have both received these rewards.

Sayali Haldipurkar: University Prize Scholarship

Sayali was awarded the University Prize Scholarship in 2013.

Photo of University Prize AwardeeMy background and chosen research project
I am international student from India and have previously obtained a BSc in Biotechnology (Pune, India) followed by a MSc. in Molecular Medicine from the University of Sheffield.

I am currently in the department of Infection, Immunity and Cardiovascular Disease where I'm working on the molecular genetics of a micro-organism called Burkholderia cenocepacia.

Burkholderia cenocepacia is a bacterium that causes serious opportunistic infections in immunocompromised patients, particularly those with cystic fibrosis.

In this PhD, I have been using a broad range of molecular biological techniques, including DNA cloning, directed mutagenesis, mutant generation, transcription analysis (including microarrays, reporter analysis), promoter identification, deep sequencing, etc. to conduct my research.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
The Medical School, within the University of Sheffield carries out world-class research in the various fields of infection, immunity and applied medical research. Sheffield is at the forefront of quality publications owing to its exciting research focussed atmosphere and a well equipped board of scientists and staff.

Further, having lived in Sheffield during my Masters, I developed a strong bond with the city and is friendly people, thus making my choice not too difficult at all.

What winning the scholarship means to me
As I mentioned above, I was extremely keen on working at the Medical School due to the amazing quality of research and the kind of exposure I would get here to expand my horizons.

As an international student to be fully funded was a dream come true especially in the kind of difficult and tense era we live in where it hard to find funding and visa regulations have been tightened. It came to me like a breath of fresh air to learn that University of Sheffield works beyond boundaries and that really restored my faith in its ability to put its quality of research beyond everything else

My experience here so far
I have had an amazing experience so far and have found a wonderful support system in terms of a professional and personal network in Sheffield

My plans for the future
I do feel that once I complete my Phd from the University of Sheffield I have the confidence in my abilities to embark on my career in research that I'm so passionate about. I plan to mainly apply to Industry positions in research and development. I am open to carry on working in academia if the opportunity presents itself.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
My main advice would be to try and obtain good grades and possibly a good rank in your Bachelors/Masters.
A good understanding of why exactly you want to do a PhD is important. The interviewers of the scholarship do take their job very seriously so make sure you are apt for the position, have an understanding of the department and supervisor you will be working with and are very serious about your degree. Be interested in also working in student committees, etc. so that you can build your CV in transferable skills. Finally, I think that there is no alternative to hard work and your honesty in your passion so trust your own unique abilities!

Rebecca Cohen: University Prize Scholarship

Rebecca was awarded the University Prize Scholarship in 2015.

Photo of University Prize Scholarship HolderMy background and chosen research project
I was introduced to the topic of neuroscience as part of my undergraduate degree and as a subject it immediately captured my interest. This interest ultimately allowed me to complete an MRes course, as part of which I spent time working in a lab focussed on the molecular basis of neurodegeneration. I found this such a fascinating and important area of research that I was keen to keep working within the field for my PhD.

I was lucky to be offered a PhD here in Sheffield which seemed to fit my area of interest perfectly. My project is based on the recently discovered gene C9ORF72, in which mutations have been found that can cause both fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) and motor neuron disease (MND). Relatively little is known about the normal function of C9ORF72 within the cell and so this will form the basis of my project. By finding out more about its normal function, we may be able to help unravel the ways in which C9ORF72 mutations can lead to disease.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
I was really keen to come to Sheffield as the project on offer was exactly what I was interested in doing. On top of this, I knew that the neuroscience department here has a great reputation. I was particularly interested in working within SITraN, a department focussed specifically on neurodegenerative research. I've also always really liked Sheffield as a city, which made me even more enthusiastic to come here.

What winning the scholarship means to me
Winning the University Prize definitely helped to give me more confidence. It helped me to feel sure that doing a PhD was the right thing for me and that I was well suited to the project I chose.

My experience here so far
It has been an intense experience so far: it's going to be a challenge but I'm looking forward to seeing where my project takes me.

My plans for the future
I'm not sure yet exactly what I want to do after my PhD - at the minute I'm just focussing on the next three years! It seems like there are loads of careers events and opportunities offered to postgraduate students here though, so I'm going to go along to as much as I can and see what takes my interest.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
Make sure you're really interested in the area you've chosen and get as much experience as you can before applying. If you're going to spend three years researching one topic, you have to make sure it's something you're going to be passionate about!

Harry Worthington Scholarships

We award up to two Harry Worthington Scholarships each year - these scholarships were founded under the will of Miss Doreen Worthington in memory of her father Harry, a local steel manufacturer, and are awarded to exceptional candidates in any subject.

Felix Weihs in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology was awarded the Harry Worthington Scholarship in 2013.  He has submitted his thesis and is awaiting his Viva.

Harry Worthington AwardeeMy background and chosen research project
I completed my undergraduate Biology degree in Tübingen (Germany) where I also did a masters in Microbiology and I spent half a year at the University of Oslo on exchange. My research focuses on the human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus. In order to better understand how this bacterium does its evil business I would like to reveal the fundamental mechanisms of how proteins are organised and interact with each other.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
Sheffield provides an outstanding opportunity for a PhD in molecular biology. The facilities and research groups are excellent and give plenty of options for collaborations. Additionally, there is a tight network between the departments which allows to work inter-disciplinary work and to hear different perspectives.

What winning the scholarship means to me
Simply put, I could not have started my PhD studies without it. This scholarship gave me the opportunity to fully focus on my project and be financially independent.

My experience here so far
My supervisor along with my collegues are very supportive and provide great guidance. I feel like I have already learned more than I would have expected.There are many interesting seminars and talk.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
Stay sane and if you feel like PhD frustration is overwhelming you, keep in mind that your peers are going through the same and might have a solution.

Doctoral Academy Scholarships

Our five Sheffield faculties award Doctoral Academy Scholarships on a competitive basis.  Amir Jafari (Faculty of Engineering), Krissy Moore and Joshua Thomas (Faculty of Arts) tell their experiences below.

Amir Jafari: Faculty of Engineering Doctoral Academy Award

Amir was awarded a Scholarship from the Faculty of Engineering in 2013.  An Iranian National, he studied his Undergraduate and Postgraduate degrees at Sheffield.

My background and chosen research project
My research is entitled 'Towards Next Generation of Cellular Communications – Ultra Dense Small Cell Networks'. It looks at optimisation of Mobile Networks.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
The University of Sheffield is ranked among the top 100 in the world and the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department is among the top 5 departments in UK. Sheffield itself is also a brilliant place to live with all the amenities it has. Having gained my BEng and MSc degrees from Sheffield, I had no doubt about pursuing my PhD at Sheffield.

What winning the scholarship means to me
As an overseas student, the university scholarship gave me the peace of mind I needed to concentrate on my PhD. It was a memorable moment when I was informed that among many competitive and strong applicants, I have been selected from the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department for the Faculty of Engineering scholarship. I can still picture all the moments when I was running from the Portobello Centre to Sir Frederick Mappin Building for the big news.

My experience here so far
Doing a PhD is a tough job with a lot of ups and downs and my PhD experience is not an exception. As part of my PhD, I got the very unique opportunity to join industry and collaborate with the world known Bell Laboratories for the past two years. The opportunity to work closely with industry and learn to look at problems from an industry perspective has been one thing that I have been always aiming for and I am delighted that it came through during my PhD. Apparently, this could have not been possible without the generous scholarship I received from the Faculty of Engineering as well as the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department.

My plans for the future
I am planning to visit the University of Texas at Austin as a visiting researcher. Upon my return, I will defend my PhD and then I am keen on joining industry where I will able to fully utilize the expertise I have gained throughout my PhD.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
My only advice is to work hard and don’t surrender. You will soon realize that all the hard work will pay off. And don't forget to enjoy your life in Sheffield.

Joshua Thomas: Faculty of Arts and Humanities Doctoral Academy Award

FCA Doctoral Academy Award HolderJoshua was awarded a Doctoral Academy Award in the Department of Philosophy in 2014

My background and chosen Research Project
I studied for my BA and MA degrees in Philosophy at the University of Sheffield, mostly focusing on matters of applied ethics and political philosophy. After taking a year out I returned to pursue a PhD with the Philosophy Department.

My thesis is an analytical investigation into the meaning of life and, in particular, the relationship between meaning and human mortality.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
I had spent four years at the university, so I already knew how supportive and friendly the Philosophy Department was. On top of this, I love living in Sheffield as a city; the parks, the culture, and the atmosphere make it a perfect place to study, not to mention the pubs.

What winning the scholarship means to me
It was the best news I ever received. Without the scholarship there's no way I could have afforded to take on a PhD. The subject of my research is hugely important to me, so getting the chance to devote 3 full years to it is amazing. In addition, after putting so much effort into my past degrees and my research proposal, being awarded the scholarship was an incredible validation to receive from the university; it's a clear message that someone out there thinks your ideas are worth hearing and encouraging.

My experience here so far
Some aspects such as giving presentations and taking on teaching responsibilities have been very challenging, but I honestly think it's helped me grow so much as a person.

My plans for the future
While I haven't made my mind up yet, the longer I spend working at the university, the more I am drawn to the idea of pursuing a career in academia. If I were to leave academia though, I would like to spend my time and skills doing something pro-social, such as working for a charity or a political organisation.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
Take the PhD work one step at a time and don't worry too much at the start about how things will fit together - everything will start to fall into place eventually. Also, try to get involved with as many of the academic and social activities your department puts on as possible - the contacts you make will be helpful in lots of ways.

Krissy Moore: Faculty of Arts and Humanities Doctoral Academy Award

Krissy was awarded a Doctoral Academy Award in the Department of Archaeology in 2015

DA Arts holderMy background and chosen Research Project
I have been doing archaeology in the UK, one way or another, since 2010. After completing a double honours degree in Archaeology and Japanese at the Australian National University in 2007, including a year studying at Tsukuba University in Japan in 2005, I worked as a consulting archaeologist in Sydney for two years. When my contract ended I came to the UK on a two year working holiday visa and backpacked between commercial archaeology digs, farm volunteering with WWOOF, and supervising on training digs with York Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield.

Why I chose to come to Sheffield
During my working holiday, I spent a month as survey training supervisor on Dr Hugh Wilmott's dig at Thornton Abbey, North Lincolnshire (2011). I was very impressed with the picture painted of Sheffield's archaeology department by the other supervisors, most of whom were MA or PhD students.

As a result I did an MA in Landscape Archaeology at Sheffield in 2012-13. I enjoyed this year very much, and thanks to the experience I gained on the course I won my dream job as Community Archaeologist for Northumberland National Park. I knew it was a 12-month contract so I used some of my time to develop a strong PhD proposal investigating the army training base in Otterburn, within the Park, in partnership with the Park and the MoD. Being able to have Dr Bob Johnston and Dr Gianna Ayala as my academic supervisors was a big reason behind my return to academia.

What winning the scholarship means to me
I simply would not have been able to undertake this PhD without the university's funding and I am very grateful to be able to remain in the UK to continue my studies.

My experience here so far
Excellent. All the student services are very helpful and I'm very happy I've been able to meet my fellow PhD students here in the Department at Northgate House.

My plans for the future
Once I complete my PhD I hope to go on to work in archaeological resource management in the UK. I know this will be more challenging due to my non-EU background so I am also building up teaching experience and research publications to support a postdoc application.

Any advice for prospective PhD students?
Please make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you are an international student like myself, remember that you will be spending a *long* time away from home. Make sure to keep a social life outside of your studies, as hard as that may seem - Sheffield's a beautiful city in a beautiful part of the world, so get out there and explore it.