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The University of Southampton

David Evans MChem Chemistry with research project abroad*, 2016


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I was in Caen in northern France researching organo-boron catalysis.

Tell us more about your placement

I was in Caen in northern France researching organo-boron catalysis. It was a new type of chemistry and our work was written up in an academic journal. I tried to improve my French while I was there but as everyone in the lab spoke English, it didn’t get much better, I’m afraid. Living in France was lovely, it was a great chance to learn to live independently and gave me a great sense of freedom.

Why did you choose the University of Southampton?

I knew it was a good university and it also meant I could live at home for a little while and do some part-time work. I had met Dr David Read from Southampton through an outreach programme at college, he was very helpful and said I should have no problem getting in with my expected grades. I went to see a few other universities but they weren’t as friendly and far more formal.

What was the highlight of your degree?

I got more than 90 per cent for my project and one of the staff said it was the highest mark he’d seen so I was very happy with that. I also enjoyed meeting new people in this very different environment, I’ve made so many friends and I’ll take so many experiences from my time here that I wouldn’t have had if I hadn’t been to university.

What are you doing next?

I’m staying on at Southampton to do a PhD with Professor Bruno Linclau on the fluorination of bioactive compounds. That’ll be for three years starting in the autumn. The PhD is funded by a company and I may consider going into industry after it’s over, or maybe I’ll stay in research. I’ve got time to decide what I want to do.

*Formerly MChem Chemistry with six-month placement

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