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Life at Oxford with help from a Kidson Scholarship

27 November 2023 | news

The Edward and Isabel Kidson Scholarship has helped make the University of Oxford a second home for PhD student Ford Wagner.  

“Getting this scholarship has been essential to my PhD – I would be struggling to meet my course fees without it,” says Ford.

Ford completed a Master of Science in Physics in 2021 at the University of Canterbury before embarking on a PhD in Condensed Matter Physics at Oxford.

His research has focussed on localisation effects in microstructured semiconductors, and he has spent the past seven months developing models to accurately explain his findings.

Some of his biggest achievements throughout the year include the publication of his first research paper, presenting his work at conferences, and passing the Oxford transfer of status (a progress check for his PhD).

The workload at Oxford is not for the fainthearted and while there have been significant highs, Ford has also faced some challenges.

"I experienced many frustrations as I tried to get my models to the next stage. However, the feeling of solving a problem after months of work makes it all worthwhile. In many ways," comments Ford, "the challenges have helped me become a better researcher."

Ford presenting his research at the second-year poster presentation.

Ford has settled into his life in the UK with homesickness disappearing and he has been able to embrace the Oxford experience.

“I am getting more involved with the local community through volunteer initiatives and club activities,” says Ford.

As Ford continues his work, he looks forward to putting the final touches on his manuscript and hopes to see his thesis completed by this time next year.

“Overall, I think I have taken a big step towards being an effective and independent researcher,” says Ford.

The Edward and Isabel Kidson Scholarship is valued at $6,000 per annum for up to three years and up to three scholarships can be awarded each year. The scholarship is awarded to postgraduate students of physics or mathematics, or a combination of both.

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