Mark Smith

Mark completed his doctorate at Canterbury Christ Church University College, and is now Senior Lecturer and Postgraduate Research Director at the University of Lincoln having had several teaching roles within higher education.

"During my undergraduate study, I worked on a very ambitious independent research project, which was published as a journal article. I was elated when I was awarded a PhD studentship. The chance to continue and answer more questions that had emerged through my previous research was enlightening. I completed my doctorate at Canterbury Christ Church University College. My research focused on the physiological evaluation of cycling performance.

"I completed my thesis during a one-year lecturing post at Lincoln College. I also gained a PGCE in post-compulsory education, became an accredited practitioner of the Higher Education Academy, and was granted accreditation as a practising exercise physiologist. In 2006, I made the move to the University of Lincoln and started my new role as senior lecturer.

"My work at Lincoln involves teaching, research and consultancy. I spend my time planning research projects, composing book chapters, meeting research students, and managing my undergraduate programme. Occasionally I am allowed out to give a lecture or two, or granted permission to collect some data in the laboratories, but only after I have finished all of my paper work!

"My advice to doctoral researchers is to try to gain as much teaching experience as you can during your doctorate. Also, get as much of the work published as soon after completion as possible. By setting realistic targets to publish aspects of the thesis, you will keep involved in the research. Look at the doctorate as a starting point to your academic career rather than an end point. The experience of overcoming the challenges faced throughout my doctorate, and the newly acquired self-belief that any fresh challenges can also be conquered, is very empowering."