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A post on the life of a BIT Research Fellow

19th Feb 2013

Perhaps I’ve been affected by ‘ownership bias’, but I’ve had a wonderful time on the BIT Research Fellowship Programme and simply can’t recommend it highly enough. Wherever you plan to work after completing your PhD, the experience you will gain here is invaluable.

As an economist, I’ve always been interested in behavioural science. What this placement has given me is a more formal knowledge of the behavioural literature. I’ve managed to learn a lot during my short time here. In fact, regardless of your area of expertise, learning on the job will be a large part of the work and if you enjoy that you will have a great time.

Since October, I’ve looked at SME lending, energy consumption, housing, and personal savings. It’s been a refreshing change from the life of a PhD where it can feel like one’s been thinking about the same problem since time began. As a bonus, the variety of the work as a Research Fellow has also got me thinking in entirely new ways about the seemingly unsolvable problems in my own research.

This said, since the Christmas break I’ve mainly been working on education projects which I hope to continue to be involved in after my time here officially ends. For example, I’m currently working on an intervention designed to stimulate communication between parents and schools, the success of which will be evaluated with an RCT. Separately, I’ve been researching whether increased physical activity levels in schools improve pupils’ concentration levels and, in turn, academic attainment. The team’s global reputation for innovative work has allowed me to collaborate with senior academics at prestigious universities on the kind of large-scale field experiments that PhD students rarely get the chance to work on.

Beyond this, all the time you are here you will be developing project management skills, an understanding of how government works and, ultimately, how the research you produce is actually deployed by policymakers. Regardless of the profession you choose after you complete your PhD, working here will give you a fresh perspective on the value of the research that you produce.

Raj Chande, BIT Research Fellow and PhD candidate.

Applications for the next BIT Reearch Fellowship Programme close on March 8th 2013.