A person working in a laboratory

ChemistryLiam McLean

Liam McLean is a PhD student in Pure & Applied Chemistry at Strathclyde. Find out below what he enjoys most about Strathclyde, living in Glasgow and his recent placement with GlaxoSmithKline.

Why did you choose to study at Strathclyde?

For me, chemistry at the University of Strathclyde has a very diverse outlook on research with interests in catalysis, synthesis, chemical biology, polymers, spectroscopy among many other disciplines. This allows for unique thinking when you speak to different academics and students throughout the department.

Additionally, I liked that the University of Strathclyde has several industry contacts and as a result, the research being carried out can directly impact the chemical industries.

What do you enjoy about living/studying in Glasgow?

Glasgow is a busy city with anything you need at your doorstep be it food, sports, cinema or nightlife, there’s something for everyone. Accommodation is relatively affordable and close to the University campus, the perfect combination for a PhD student.

What has been the best bit about your studies at Strathclyde?

I work as part of a highly motivated research team, filled with like-minded people, which I find very engaging.

Additionally, I have enjoyed the challenge of research which has allowed me to apply my own initiative to problems and given me plenty of opportunities to develop practical skills within the lab and communication skills in the form of written and oral communication.

You recently completed a Secondment at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), how did you apply for the role?

Due to the University of Strathclyde/GlaxoSmithKline partnership, I was fortunate enough to receive industrial CASE PhD funding from the EPSRC and GSK. As a part of that funding, I undertook a CASE placement for three months at their research site in Stevenage, UK.

What did you do during the placement?

I was able to undertake an exciting research project whilst at GSK. Additionally, I had the opportunity to perform computational chemistry which supplemented my research at Strathclyde.

What was your favourite part about working at GSK?

Like at Strathclyde, the people I was working with were motivated and engaging which made for a great working environment. Moreover, it was exciting to be able to utilise the resources available at GSK allowing me to increase my output. I also enjoyed being included in meetings regarding the synthesis of challenging targets that GSK was interested in.

Would you recommend it to others studying the same course?

Certainly! The industrial placement gave me different perspectives on research and particularly allowed me to see, first hand, the needs of industry which is always an important consideration in research.

What do you enjoy most about studying at Strathclyde?

Strathclyde has a motivated and friendly chemistry department. Allowing me to speak to learn multiple perspectives in approaching a problem, from a variety of students and academics. Additionally, regular lectures from outside speakers have given me an opportunity to see several academics at various stages in their career talk about their work.

What do you plan to do once you've graduated?

I am interested in pursuing postdoctoral research.