Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Department of Materials


Charles Jackson

Charles Jackson

PhD Student

To be honest, Loughborough University was a space filler on my UCAS application when I was opting for my undergraduate degree, as I looked at it from an entirely academic viewpoint.  I originally hoped to attend Swansea as it was nearer to home, but after visiting the Materials Department at Loughborough on an open day, I completely changed my mind and decided to come here.  The open day itself was better organised than others I had attended; it flowed really well and I got a real feel for what it was like to be a student at Loughborough by talking with students who were already here.  The Department itself is relatively small, which gives a real family feel to it and after seeing the campus and sports facilities along with the instrumentation and facilities within the Department, I knew it was the place for me.  In terms of my PhD, as I was already very comfortable here and as I understand the department, I didn’t consider going anywhere else.

I’m really lucky to have found my passion this early on in life – research - and when I complete my PhD I am hoping to do my post doctorate in the USA, possibly becoming a lecturer and then  maybe even Head of Department.  I may go into industrial research and work towards becoming a director of a facility such as we have at Loughborough; the Loughborough Materials Characterisation Centre, however, the idea of owning my own business is also appealing and my passion for cars may lead me to open my own garage.

My PhD title is: “Prediction of Microstructural Evolution During Long Term Thermal Aging of Type 321 / Type 347 Weldments.”  For me, this translates to characterising weld microstructures after long-term exposure at high temperatures in nuclear Powerstations. It is sponsored by EDF, and is directly relevant to their power stations.

I have just published my first article – although I am extremely well motivated anyway, this is very exciting and gives a huge motivation to carry on forging forward.   I have always been very clear about the fact I never wanted to be in a job that I hated because I didn’t have any options.  Doing my PhD will give me a huge range of options to do what I want to do, not what I might be forced to do if I didn’t have it.

All of the Department staff are incredibly supportive.  I suffered a great loss in the final year of my degree and without their support I would have really struggled to complete my degree to the standard that I did. The staff here never say ‘no’, they are friendly and kind and will work with you to resolve any issues that they can.

When people think of Loughborough University, they tend to have a stereotypical view of the students who come here i.e. elite athletes.  Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are large numbers of athletes here, there are also large numbers of students with every other kind of interest.  For example, I was the Chair of the Computer Society, and we regularly have weekend gaming sessions lasting 46 hours and I made most of my lasting friendships there.  Now I am a PhD student, my work load has increased, so although I do take part, I also have lots of naps instead of staying up all weekend eating pizza!

The things that I like most about my PhD course is the hands on experimentation, which I really enjoy, but I also get a huge amount of learning from conversations with other PhD students and reading.  There are some brilliant minds and personalities here, so if you’re thinking of doing a PhD, Loughborough is definitely a place to consider!


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