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Postgraduate Mobility: Student experiences

Read about King's postgraduate students' experiences of studying and researching abroad through their postgraduate options. The below students were all successful applicants to the Global Research Grant. If you are interested in pursuing an overseas study or research placement, please visit out postgraduate options webpage, speak to your department, or contact the Global Mobility Office.

Alejandro Franco, Universidad Católica de Chile, 2015-16

What do you study at King's?

PhD in Spanish and Latin American Studies 

What did your Global Research Grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant allowed me to cover my round trip ticket, rent, bills, food, transport and study costs.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in King's International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

My aim in visiting Chile was to investigate its contemporary theatre and performance. This aligns with King's global interdisciplinary theme of 'Culture & Identity'.

I visited Chile in order to talk with artists and scholars about their understanding of and participation in producing cultural exchanges. I also wished to examine their role in the construction of artistic identities with respect to theatre and performance. In this way, my thesis will make a contribution to King's College London, regarding the multiple strategies through which practitioners and theorists communicate with each other on a national and international level.

Please summarise the benefits of the research conducted: 

I believe that the most important benefit for me was to gain empirical and visual evidence that I can use to support the theories I put forward in my PhD thesis. I will be able to demonstrate a more substantial and realistic link between the cultures I am analysing in search for their similarities and differences. I will further be able to describe theatre and performance on a global level from the perspective of Chilean cultural reality.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King's and your host institution:

I believe the best method for maintaining an active international relationship between two institutions is by enabling students to exchange their knowledge with scholars from other countries. So, my project not only strengthened the already existing partnership between KCL (England) and PUC (Chile), but also confirmed the need for creating strategies through which students from both institutions may collaborate more frequently. This is expecially vital when students' objects of study involve the examination of cultural identities which, due to their transient nature, are continually experiencing transformations. 

Please describe the social and cultural benefits of your time away:

I had not fully anticipated just how pertinant it would be to visit my own country as a researcher. Re-encountering my own culture has given me a new insight on the way one should examine the cultural developments of a society in which the construction of national identity is continually evolving. The lens through which I am observing the theatre and performance manifestations belonging to Chilean society has changed angle.

Furthermore, I believe the chance to compare social realities that spending time away allows you is primordial. If one aims to deepen knowledge about other cultures; 'travelling' becomes an invaluable experience, since one as a human being acquires openness to accepting other lifestyles.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King's and beyond:

This trip has had a crucial impact on my research career. With regards to my future academic and professional development, I now know I will place greater emphasis on the importance of conducting research within disciplines that have not yet been substantially studied by our research community at King's, such as drama and performance.

There has been discussion within King's as to the possibility of establishing a Drama department and I believe my research could help support proposals to do so. This would enable researchers who are currently studying (or have studied) in this institution to further their career within King's. This could also enable King's researchers to move their career in drama beyond academia, helping King’s to improve its global ranking with respect to Art and Humanities.

Carolina Urrego Sandoval, Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD in International Political Economy

Which institution did you go to and why?

I visited Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, Colombia. Specifically, I conducted research at the Faculty of Political Science, Government, and International Relations. The main reason for this visit is that Universidad del Rosario is one the best in the country and has significant experience in the study of conflict and peace. Furthermore, it is strengthening the study and research of International Political Economy which provided and an excellent environment to develop the proposed project.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant allowed me to pay for the flight tickets as well as accommodation and living expenses in Bogota.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research project aligns with KCL’s Interdisciplinary Global Theme of Defence and Security. First, the research provides first-hand state of the art information on the Colombian peace process which was expected to mark the end of end more than 50 years of conflict, and the views of civil society who rejected the agreement in a plebiscite.

Second, the project offers a valuable and interdisciplinary analysis since IPE approaches have been mostly neglected from the peace process literature.

Third, it identifies relevant information regarding the characteristics of intra-state peace processes advanced by local actors rather than by third-parties’ involvement.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

  • Due to the growing interest in International Political Economy (IPE) in Colombia, along with Prof. Ralf Leiteritz, and other scholars from Universidad de los Andes we established a research group on IPE. Currently the group has more than 25 members. There, I coordinate a research line on Trade, Cooperation, Productivity and Competitiveness. The group aims to fill a void in the study of IPE in and from Latin America.

  • As a result of this project I was able to collaborate with another visiting PhD student at Universidad del Rosario: Miss Bettina Benzing from the University of the Federal Armed Forces in Munich. We presented a paper proposal to the WISC workshops on “World Order and Peace. International Politics in the 21st Century in a Global Perspective”. The title of the paper is: “No Good Times for Peace. World Politics and Peacebuilding in a Post-Factual Era Proposal”. We expect to complete the final draft of the article by September.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

It brings together two areas of theoretical and hands-on expertise from both universities: conflict and peace, and International Political Economy.

Consequently, my visit strengthens pre-existing collaboration, and furthers it to the European and International Studies department, specifically within the IPE programme. The reason for this is that during the last two years various research visits between the two institutions have taken place.

First, Prof. Domitilla Sagramoso, from War Studies came to Universidad del Rosario as a visiting scholar. Second, Prof. Oscar Palma from Universidad del Rosario visited the War Studies department at King´s. Third, Prof. Kieran Mitton from War Studies attended a Conference on the Colombian Peace process organised by Prof. Roddy Brett from Universidad del Rosario.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

It allowed me to have a unique academic experience. Notably, to work and collaborate not only with other PhD students but also with well-established scholars such as Prof. Arlene Tickner.

As a Colombian who has been away from her country for a long time, being there during in the aftermath of the peace process, the ratification of the peace plebiscite, and the beginning of the peace agreement implementation is truly a historical moment that will change the future of the country. Therefore, not only did I live in this unique environment, but I applied the skills and knowledge I have acquired to understand how it has unfolded.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

  • First, of all receiving the Global Research Grant is an honour and an important recognition to have on my CV since it is a very competitive award. It suggests the project I presented was interesting to both KCL and Universidad del Rosario.

  • Second, it expanded my research field as it allowed me to study the Colombian peace process and the cognitive elements that influenced its outcome from an IPE perspective.

  • Third, during my visit and as part of the events I attended such as the 16th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates that took place in Bogota, I had the opportunity to expand my network. Notably, I met important scholars, policy makers, and staff from international organisation from Colombia and many other countries.

  • Fourth, during the visit, I also had the opportunity to advance my PhD thesis research and to share my findings with other scholars who provided valuable feedback that will integrate into my work.

Cheng-Pei Lin, Taipei City Hospital, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

Master/Doctor of Philosophy in Palliative Care Research

Which institution did you go to and why?

I chose Taipei City Hospital as my study site in Taiwan is because it is a full-service, total care medical institute with seven branches of healthcare organisations that meet the comprehensive care needs of Taipei’s 2.6 million residents. Most importantly, Taipei City Hospital is providing high quality community-based palliative care for Taipei residents and is keen to establish an international collaboration with distinguished universities or research facilities abroad.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

This Global Research Grant covered the flight tickets to and from Taiwan, the living expenses including accommodation, transportation and meal in Taipei City, and souvenirs for local clinical leaders.

This visit cemented the international collaboration between KCL and Taipei City Hospital building on the previous two meetings at Cicely Saunders Institute. My visit demonstrated the excellent research training by KCL and promoted the postgraduate programme at KCL for recruiting more Taiwanese researchers and clinicians. A Taipei International Symposium of Palliative Care was conducted on 2nd and 3rd of December, 2017 for developing death literacy for high value care. Professor Richard Harding and Dr Ping Guo (academics in Cicely Saunders Institute, King’s College London) were invited to have a speech in the symposium and attend the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) exchange ceremony between KCL and Taipei City Hospital.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

My visit linked the collaboration between KCL and Taipei City Hospital in developing and testing the new innovative healthcare intervention – advance care planning in response to the new legislation in Taiwan. This is important as Global Health is one of the key themes of KCL expertise and expansion.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted.

The value of this trip are three folds: 1) It established a specific study to develop and test advance care planning within the Taiwanese health system in response to current new legislation, 2) It demonstrated local Taiwanese engagement with KCL postgraduate teaching, acting as a local ambassador, and 3) It further advanced the draft work plan that will form a research and education grant application led by Taipei City Hospital to partner and fund activities with KCL.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution.

This visit demonstrated the excellent postgraduate research and education training by KCL through my study to Taiwanese researchers, patients, families and clinicians. Furthermore, it facilitated the international collaboration between KCL and Taipei City Hospital in palliative care by signing an official agreement (MOU) between two parties for further sustainable partnership.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away.

The social and cultural advantages of my visit to Taipei City Hospital are two folds: 1) I used to work as a registered nurse in medical centre in Taiwan so that I am familiar with the social context, cultural and healthcare system; 2) Taiwan is my nation so that I can obtain richer resources and help for studying.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

Through this trip, a good partnership and relationship between KCL and Taipei City Hospital can be established. I am going to establish Taipei City Hospital as my study site for my PhD study, and this collaborative relationship will benefit my study in Taiwan. Furthermore, I might have the opportunity to work with Taipei City Hospital and maintain the sustainable collaboration after I complete my PhD studies. I might apply for a post-doctoral position in terms of global palliative care to advance my research ability, and Taipei City Hospital could be the potential candidate of collaboration in the future building on the MOU agreement between KCL and Taipei City Hospital.

Cydonie Banting, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD in Ethnomusicology

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on a study visit to work with scholars David Pier and Cherie Ndaliko.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

My study visit to UNC has been the most valuable aspect of doctoral study at KCL so far in order to meet specialist scholars working in my niche area of East African music. The grant covered the costs of my accommodation close to the campus, which enabled me to be close to the library, where I spent time making the most of the excellent resources available. The grant further covered my flights to and from the USA, as well as subsistence whilst in North Carolina.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

My research aligned with the KCL 'Culture & Identity' strand as a means to establish strong relationships with scholars working in my area, boost the quality of my doctoral research and to understand the ways in which activism can increase the impact of my PhD project. Cherie Ndaliko is a scholar and activist working on music and aid interventions in the East of Congo and has been particularly influential in this regard. Her critiques are a useful starting point from which to measure my own links to a poor rural Ugandan community, achieved through involvement with a charity.

David Pier's work examines the impact of marketing rhetoric on Ugandan culture, which is illuminating when read in the context of Ugandan populations marketing themselves to western NGOs. Many of these conclusions have far reaching implications on humanitarian aid policy in Africa.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted.

The benefits of my study visit are both personal and broad. I have established close personal links with two scholars and have arranged to carry out additional projects with them in the near future: 1) I will proofread Cherie Ndaliko's forthcoming book 'The Art of Emergency: Aesthetics and Aid in African Crises' and 2) I will collaborate on a paper with David Pier for the Joint KCL/UNC Graduate Conference in Music to be hosted at UNC in May 2018. I will attend this conference and meet personally with both scholars to discuss my doctoral work further, to gain richer insights from specialists in the East African music field.

Aside from the personal benefits of this visit to my PhD research, I am now well-positioned to act as a link between UNC and KCL to encourage new doctoral students to take on the organisation of our joint graduate conferences and establish connections with other graduates whose work overlaps with their own. Through my contact with David Pier, who works in the African Studies Department at UNC, I hope to draw in further interdisciplinary voices into future conferences taking place between KCL and UNC.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution.

The strategic value of my study visit lies in drawing in interdisciplinary voices into the current links between UNC and KCL Music Departments, as described in the expected benefits. I further hope to deepen my personal relationships with UNC colleagues and scholars.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away.

One interesting example from my visit was during my many meetings with Cherie Ndaliko, where it became clear that ideas of 'charity' have important differences in the USA compared to the UK. The charitable status granted by the Charity Commission in the UK (the motivations for which for my organisation, Project Embabazi, were financial, given the benefit of gift aid), differs to the system in America. 'Not-for-profit' is a clearer designation for organisations in the US context, and Ndaliko further identifies the motivations for charitable giving as paternalistic in the UK on the one hand and 'dedication to playing the hero' in the USA on the other hand. These subtle but significant cultural differences are valuable in the context of my research and represent an important realisation that I experienced during my time away.

Other social and cultural insights were gained when I was able to experience Thanksgiving celebrations with the family of friends at UNC in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and see first-hand the strange dialectic between Trump's heartland in the countryside and a staunch rejection of his politics in university centres.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

My study visit to UNC represents an essential step in my professional development in forging relationships with specialist scholars, with whom I hope to collaborate in future research projects. I am particularly interested in establishing a journal in which graduate students and staff from both KCL and UNC can submit articles linked to papers presented at our ongoing conference exchanges, to advance both my own research profile and the exciting work happening at King's.

Emma Molyneux, University of Melbourne, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

Postdoctoral research at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN)

Which institution did you go to and why?

I went to the University of Melbourne to visit Professor George Patton's research group

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered flights and living expenses. It enabled me to spend a week and a half working in Professor George Patton's research group, during which time I worked on analyses for one paper, developed plans for another paper, received expert statistical advice and support, and had many opportunities to network.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

My research, focused on maternal mental health, is firmly situated within the King’s Interdisciplinary Theme of Global Health. Mental illness is a leading cause of the global burden of disease and there is increasing recognition of the importance of maternal mental health as a key modifiable risk factor for adverse child developmental outcomes.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted.

I am joint first author on a paper with members of Professor Patton's research group which will be submitted in January 2018. I plan to collaborate on further papers with the group. Following discussions during my visit, a colleague of mine has also been invite to collaborate with Professor Patton's group on a related paper.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution.

The collaboration feeds into King’s Strategic Vision 2029 to invest in partnerships with world-class institutions and raise King’s profile as an academic leader in the major issues of our time. Professor Patton is a leading psychiatric epidemiologist with an international reputation, and is the current chair of the Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing. The project built on previous highly productive collaborations between King’s researchers and Professor Patton - bringing together complementary expertise in adolescent mental health, from Professor Patton’s team, and in perinatal mental health, from the Section of Women’s Mental Health at the IoPPN where I work. The University of Melbourne is the best university in Australia, and is at the forefront of international research in a number of fields. The relationship between the Section of Women's Mental Health and the University of Melbourne is continuing with a medical student from the University of Melbourne visiting our research group for six months in 2018.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away.

I experienced academic life in a new setting and developed relationships and friendships with a number of researchers in Melbourne.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I aim to establish an independent academic career in psychiatric epidemiology, with a particular focus on the intergenerational transmission of mental disorders. My visit to the University of Melbourne enabled me to develop collaborations for planned fellowship applications, and build links with researchers who have world-leading cohorts for maternal and child health research. Working with Professor Patton and his team also provided an opportunity to advance my skills in longitudinal data analysis and my knowledge of the life-course epidemiology of mental disorders.

Fatima Zahrah Vayani, The University of Newcastle (Australia), 2015-16

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Bioinformatics

Which institution did you go to and why?

The visit to The University of Newcastle, Australia could not be arranged due to unforeseen difficulties. Instead, I visited California State University Channel Islands (CI). I also visited National University of Singapore (NUS) as planned originally. However, I could not visit The University of Hong Kong (HKU) with my supervisors due to personal reasons.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant partially funded my travel and accommodation expenses. In turn, this enabled me to experience collaborative research in a foreign setting. I learnt the process required to establish a new link with a new collaborator, as well as the way in which research is done overseas. I felt as though this experience improved my communication skills. I was also given the opportunity to present my work, which enhanced my presentation skills.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

The design of algorithms for bioinformatics, also known as computational biology, falls within the remit of the Global Health Theme. The Algorithms & Bioinformatics Group at King’s College London (KCL), and the respective groups at NUS and CI specialise in the design of string processing algorithms, in which the strings can be biological sequences, such as DNA or proteins. The analysis of biological sequences has become an essential part of medical research.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted.

  • Publications and software

  • Discussions: further understanding of the problems, developing new solutions

  • Collected data: better insights into the data

  • Other research collaboration ideas explored

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution.

  • established new connections

  • consolidated collaborative networks

  • new opportunities: student-exchange scheme

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away.

Experiencing varied social and cultural norms, in an academic setting, is advantageous because it provides new ideas for best practice in our research group at King’s.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I believe that my communication skills were enhanced on this trip as I had to interact with many new people and was visiting new places. This was an invaluable aspect of the trip, in my opinion, as learning how to communicate with different types of people is very important for my career. Furthermore, delivering a presentation in a new setting is always rewarding.

Francesca Modini, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD in Classics

Which institution did you go to and why?

UNC Chapel Hill

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered the cost of flights and part of the accommodation. Essentially, it made possible for me to visit UNC and discuss my work with Professor Janet Downie, a renowned scholar in my field of research.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

My research project on the Imperial rhetorician Aelius Aristides fit the scheme of KCL Global Research Award as far as the theme of Culture and Identity is concerned. Aristides lived in the 'globalised' world of the Roman Empire, where people and cities struggled to reshape their Greek Identity under Roman rulers by constantly looking back to the Culture of ancient Greece. During my stay at UNC, I investigated precisely how Culture and Identity interacted in the imperial period. At the same time, issues of cultural identity have been prominent in my own experience as a visiting scholar in the US, given the fact that I come originally from Italy and am now living and studying in the UK.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted.

The main research aim of my stay at UNC was to discuss my work with Professor Janet Downie, and I think that my research has already benefited invaluably from my meetings with her. I have now a clearer idea of the direction of my overall project, and have come back with some precise suggestions on how to develop the single chapters of the thesis as well. Moreover, I will keep in touch with Janet, who has kindly suggested that I keep her updated about my work and send her anything I would like to discuss with her in the future.

While at UNC I have also had the opportunity to meet other scholars interested in my research, both within UNC Department of Classics and at the nearby Duke University. Also in these cases I have established friendly and collaborative relations, receiving some further constructive feedback, which I will take into account in the development of my project.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution.

My Department and UNC Department of Classics already collaborate to organise an annual colloquium, held alternatively at UNC and in London. Nevertheless, student exchanges are rare: with my research trip to UNC I hope that I have set a significant precedent for other students at King's; through my experience other colleagues have come to know about the possibility to visit UNC and collaborate with the Department there. At the same time, during my stay I have encouraged UNC postgraduates to consider the idea of visiting King's, pointing to the prestige of our institution as well as to the invaluable research resources offered here and in London in general.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away.

During my visit I have come to know the environment of an American campus, significantly different from any European academic environment. I have met other students and took part in some of their social activities.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

As I mentioned, I have established some collaborative relationships with the scholars I have met, and I think these will be helpful for my future career in academia, whether I decide to remain in the UK or to move to live and work in the US.

Fraser Anderson, University of California (San Francisco), 2015-16

Degree programme at King's:

PhD in Women’s Mental Health

What did your Global Research Grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my flights, and some of my accommodation. The rest of my costs were covered by my PhD consumables budget.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in King's International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

The research collaboration aligns with the 'Global Health' theme of King’s International Strategy. The WHO states that the links between mental health problems and maternal health are a major cause for concern. It asserts that attention to maternal mental health and integration of mental health care in existing maternal health programs and activities contribute to achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 5 – improving maternal health. Globally, there is growing interest in perinatal mental health disparities and international partnerships are essential in order for King’s to be at the forefront of this research.

Please summarise the benefits of the research conducted: 

My host Dr. Melanie Thomas and I are both conducting research that aims to improve the mental health of women during pregnancy and the postpartum, with a particular focus on reducing health disparities. The sharing of our expertise has helped further both our understandings, and that of our institutions, into perinatal mental health problems and interventions aimed at reducing them. While the US appears to be ahead of the UK in terms of group antenatal care, the UK may be ahead of the US in terms of researching psychiatric disorders in the perinatal period. My host and I hope to combine our expertise to investigate the psychiatric outcomes associated with group antenatal care. This could benefit women in the UK and the US.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King's and your host institution:

I met with individuals and groups across UCSF who are at the forefront of research in the field of maternal mental health. I was able to present the work that the Section of Women’s Mental Health is doing at KCL to researchers who may wish to collaborate with our group in the future, such as Tom Boyce’s Developmental Pediatrics group and the Center for Health and Community at UCSF, as well as influential researchers in social epidemiology such as Len Syme at UC Berkeley. I was able to meet with research groups such as Solid Start, MAMAS and the Preterm Birth Initiative, who are conducting similar research to us in the UK. This opened up the possibility for sharing expertise on methodologies, but also possibilities for data sharing in the future. Research into perinatal mental health is increasingly being recognised as important, particularly in terms of reducing health disparities, and so building research collaboration between KCL and these groups is of great strategic value.

Please describe the social and cultural benefits of your time away:

Although the United States is often considered to be culturally similar to the UK, the differences that do exist, particularly in relation to my field of research in healthcare, were really eye-opening. Through discussions with healthcare providers, as well as researchers in health, the differences between health and social care systems in the US and the UK were highlighted. The expectation of free, universal healthcare in the UK is easy to take for granted until you go somewhere that does not have this expectation, and so the culture around healthcare provision is very different.

My trip also provided me with the opportunity to travel around California to places that I have always wanted to visit, including Yosemite National Park and Big Sur. I was able to go hiking and camping and experience the amazing beauty of the wilder parts of California.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King's and beyond:

The experience of presenting and discussing my research with leaders in the field at another institution was invaluable for building my confidence in talking about my research and relating it to other projects. As I and my host at UCSF are hoping to continue our collaboration, there may be the opportunity to write publications together in the future, using the qualitative data we are both collecting on mental health access for perinatal women amongst similar populations in San Francisco and London. There are similar programmes of research into group antenatal care (e.g. Centering Pregnancy) going on in London and San Francisco, and my host and I plan to stay in touch about potential collaborations involving psychiatric outcome evaluation of these interventions. This could potentially lead to collaborative research grant applications in the future.

Gabriel F. Y. Tsang, National University of Singapore, 2017-18

Degree programme at King’s

Comparative Literature

Which institution did you go to and why?

National University of Singapore (NUS). It is the best university in Asia.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

It covered the cost of a return flight ticket to Singapore, local transport, accommodation, meals and miscellaneous expenses, enabling me to pay full attention to my research there without any financial worry.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My project focused on the literary representation of geographical space in fiction (defined as a genre including short story, novella and novel) written by Malaysian and Singaporean ethnic-Chinese writers after the end of the British rule in 1957, in order to see whether narrated landscapes can be regarded as Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined community’, which is termed to signify ‘nation’ under collective agreement with nationalism. It is related to the localised culture of Malaysia and Singapore and relevant complexity of identity, textually represented in the post-colonial era.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

Based on the outcome of my PhD research on contemporary Chinese literary history and my research at NUS about grand Southeast Asian history and literature, I will submit a paper to an academic journal called '3L'.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

Southeast Asian literature is a field that KCL has not yet covered. Despite having founded the Lau China Institute and the India Institute in 2008 and 2012 respectively, along with KCL’s strategic relationship with NUS and the University of Hong Kong, KCL still has insufficient concern with the rapid economic and cultural development in Southeast Asian countries and their increasing influence in the globalising world. After a short-term study with Prof. Holden, I highlighted some primary concerns about Southeast Asian English literature at KCL. It not only deepened the strategic relationship between two universities, but also extended the academic map of KCL to an area of which is almost as populous as Europe.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

Besides getting a taste of many kinds of delicious East Asian foods, I experienced the cultural complexity that I previously learnt from paper. The diversity of races, the popularity of English used in an ethnically Chinese-dominated society and the developmentalist ideology broke the cultural imagination I held before.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I learned a lot from the classes I attended on Singaporean literature, and from the supervision that Prof. Holden provided.

During the trip, I got a chance to attend an academic conference held by Nanyang Technological University, which is also a world-renowned university. I knew some people, with which I can keep academic relationships. I also understood more about Southeast Asian academia.

Katie O’Brien, University of California (Davis), 2015-16

Degree programme at King’s

Physiology PhD

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of California, Davis. I went to this institution to work in a laboratory that specialises in the examination of the molecular determinants of skeletal muscle growth.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my travel and living expenses in addition to visa costs, which were all essential in enabling me to undertake this exceptional experience.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Muscle mass and strength are not only important for quality of life, but are also the best predictors of longevity. Deficiencies in muscle growth contribute to muscle wasting due to aging or disease. The research I conducted in Davis aimed to further our understanding of the molecular determinants of muscle size and strength. With the growth in the proportion of ageing individuals, furthering our understanding in this research area is of central importance to Global Health.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

The research conducted included investigation into the potential for dietary supplementation of epicatechin to improve muscle mass in the context of ageing and also muscular dystrophy. In addition, our examination of the molecular events following both short term growth and long term growth stimuli furthered our understanding of these processes and identified future avenues for investigation.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

Investigation into skeletal muscle function, particularly in the context of age related loss of function, is a key research theme in my division at King's. However, the specialties of our group do not extend to the muscle loading models used at UC Davis. This project has therefore enabled me to transfer this knowledge back to my research group and generate links between KCL and UC Davis. This visit has therefore opened doors for developing future collaborations that would be highly beneficial for the research interests of my division at KCL.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

During my time at UC Davis, I became an integrated part of my international laboratory team and benefited hugely from experiencing research in this novel environment. I also became an active member of the student community through becoming a member of UC Davis Released Contemporary Dance Company. I therefore became fully immersed in the culture at UC Davis, both socially and with my research.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

This trip has enabled me to expand the scope of my research experience beyond the main focus of my PhD. During my time at UC Davis, I learnt a plethora of new skills that I would not have been able to gain in the UK, such as specific surgical techniques to induce muscle growth. Additionally, I was able to make connections with researchers in the US and explore potential post-doctoral options. Together, this experience has opened many doors for me, greatly expanding my potential career options.

Kevin Rossi, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2017-18

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Physics

Which institution did you go to and why?

Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), a leading institution in Central and South America with a globally renowned tradition in the study of cluster science

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

Flight costs, allowing me to bootstrap the investigation of the potential energy landscape of gold nanoparticles supported on titania, to promote their rational design and in turn their application as catalyst for green energy engines

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

The scope of the research is aimed at the development of next generation device for cost-effective water splitting, pivotal towards the commercialization of green energy engines. This naturally fits in the sustainability and health research strands: less-polluting engines are indeed pivotal towards more sustainable living in metropolis and in drastically cutting noxious emissions affecting the citizens of large cities

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

On a personal level I encountered a new culture and lifestyle. On a professional level I developed an expertise in the use of ab initio electronic structure theory method and optimization algorithms towards probing the potential energy landscape of supported nanoclusters presenting potential application as catalyst. The results of the preliminary set of investigations allowed us to univocally establish the right level of theory needed towards an efficient but accurate determination of the global minimum configuration of supported Au nanoparticle on a TiO2 rutile substrate

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

It fit naturally in the expertise of the groups as well as of the departments involved in the project, further promoting and advertising the continuation of the latter through other grants and proposals.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

I encountered a new lifestyle and culture, the latter of which was enriching on both a personal and a professional level. Furthermore it allowed me to boost my knowledge of Spanish.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

Beyond the personal honour of receiving the grant, I was invited to discuss our research in a department seminar and thus nurtured the cultivation of a larger scientific network.

Kuo-Ching Mei, Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Pharmaceutical Science

Which institution did you go to and why?

I went to two institutions, both in Barcelona: 1) the Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2) and 2) the ALBA Synchrotron. I went to ICN2 because it is a renowned nanotechnology research centre that has the facility to image and analyse the nanomaterials synthesised during my PhD. I also had collaborative experiments with ALBA Synchrotron that allows me to access one of the best synchrotron facilities in the EU for bio-nano interface studies.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my travel (flight tickets and local commutes), accommodation, and living costs. It enabled me to conduct scientific work outside of the UK, network with other European scientists and get to know different people, culture and food. I also took the opportunities to transit via Germany to visit biomedical labs there before landing in Barcelona. I ended up with a new collaborative work with a German lab to supplement my research activities in Spain.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research focuses on drug delivery and nanomedicine using graphene nanosheets, which aligns with the "Global Health" strategy.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

In Spain, we investigated and characterised different graphene resulting from different synthesis methods (ICN2) and looked into how such new nanomaterials interacted with different cells by looking at the DNA, protein, and lipid changes upon exposing to graphene (ALBA Synchrotron). Key quality-by-design principles were identified for how to engineer graphene for biomedical use, key sources of the potential cytotoxicities were also identified. The finding will lead to better and safer 2D nanomaterials for health applications.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

At KCL I worked at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Science where we were stronger in cell/animal works and organic synthesis but lacking large national/cross-national facilities for high-end nanotechnology research.

ICN2 and ALBA Synchrotron, on the other hand, are highly specialised in material science (less biological and medical) and heavily equipped with large research facilities that could not be hosted by university-level institutes.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

I was very excited to experience German and Spanish labs, and to see how science is conducted in different countries, cultures, and even languages. As a PhD student, this allowed me to network with multiple EU research teams at my early stage of career. It was also a unique experience to live in a non-English speaking country just like a local and enjoy different food and music with my newly-met friends.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

The works generated from this visit will result in the submission of two manuscripts to scientific journals soon. My lab at KCL will continue the collaboration between the lab at KCL and ICN2/ALBA after my visit and open new research topics between the three institutions.

The new techniques I learned from the trip also benefits myself for future research as I now have connections to rare-and-large research facilities that will definitely boost my postdoc career even after leaving KCL.

Lucy Vanes, National Institute of Mental Health, 2015-16

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Psychosis Studies

Which institution did you go to and why?

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in order to collaborate with Dr. Bruno Averbeck

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered the flight costs from London to Washington D.C.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Global Health: During my visit to the NIMH, I worked on the analysis of brain imaging data from 50 patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, 25 were refractory to antipsychotic treatment. Treatment resistance is a common occurrence in schizophrenia and there is a yet little knowledge of what causes this. By establishing neuroimaging biomarkers of treatment response, we hope to better predict treatment outcomes for patients with schizophrenia, which will ultimately allow treatment to be tailored adequately. We also expect findings to inform alternative lines of treatment in the future.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

By collaborating with Dr. Bruno Averbeck, an expert in the field of neuroimaging as well as computational modelling, I was able to learn advanced methods of statistical analysis to apply to the neuroimaging data. I will be able to share this knowledge with lab members working on similar data.

In the long-term, we hope that the research project will inform better treatment of psychosis in cases of treatment resistance to antipsychotic medication, as well as establishing predictors of treatment trajectory.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

The project incorporates a paradigm developed by Dr. Aberbeck, and in collaborating with him on the analysis I hope to deepen the relationship between King's and the NIMH. Further collaborations with researchers at the NIMH will be facilitated by the current work, and hopefully inspire future research directions. As the world leading institution for mental health research, links to the NIMH are highly valuable to the IoPPN.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

The visit to the NIMH allowed me to experience research and social life in the U.S., particularly in the area around Washington D.C. I met a number of researchers who were very helpful in introducing me to cultural and work-related aspects of the environment, giving me insight into whether this might be an area I would be interested in living and working in in the future.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I believe this trip has greatly enhanced my knowledge of neuroimaging and modelling techniques that will enrich the work I am undertaking for my PhD. The project will lead to a publication in collaboration with Dr. Averbeck which will be beneficial for a future research career; and the networking opportunity will hopefully help me to navigate the academic world in the future.

Matt Blakeley, The Forsyth Institute, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Dental & Health Sciences

Which institution did you go to and why?

The Forsyth Institute. I chose this destination because it is one of the world leading institutes in oral biology in particular oral microbiology.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant supported the cost of the visa, flight and went partially towards accommodation costs. Without the support of the GRG it would not have been possible financially to visit a lab in the US.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Global Health. The project I was involved with at the Forsyth aims to find prebiotic compounds which inhibit the growth of one of the bacterial involved in periodontal disease (gum disease): Porphyromonas gingivalis. Periodontal Disease is one of the most prevalent inflammatory diseases globally.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

This project aims to identify novel therapeutics for the treatment of periodontal disease. In the long-term, we hope that the research project will inform better treatment of psychosis in cases of treatment resistance to antipsychotic medication, as well as establishing predictors of treatment trajectory.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

Previous research has been conducted between the Dental Institute and the Forsyth Institute in the past, hopefully the trip might highlight current common interests.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

The trip was a great opportunity to study at a world leading institute but also to experience another lab and another country.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

The trip gave me a great chance to see how another lab works and to learn new skills and techniques. I have already started to use these new skills during my PhD at KCL.

Nicolle Dunkerley, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

MSc Clinical Science (Medical Physics)

Which institution did you go to and why?

I visited the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse Cancer Centre and the Ingham Institute in Sydney to complete a self-funded elective placement which is part of my three year programme.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant helped to cover my hostel accommodation and flights. It allowed me to stay for the full six weeks and make the most of the elective placement opportunity.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Radiotherapy research relies on Global Health connections to work together with the joint goal of being able to deliver the best treatment possible to patients. At the Cancer Centre, I had the opportunity to learn about the research conducted within the Physics department and at the Ingham Institute I was able to visit the Australian MRI-Linac program.

During my visit, I hope to have raised the profile of King’s College London by promoting the programme and educational opportunities at the university. The UK Scientist Training Programme (STP) is highly valued by health organisations internationally and is only available at three Universities in the UK for Medical Physicists.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

The MRI-Linac research program that I visited aims to develop next generation cancer therapy equipment, in which changing patient anatomy and physiology can be visualised during treatment. The goal is to improve the accuracy of radiotherapy and therefore, improve outcomes for cancer patients. The project is one of only four similar projects worldwide. In the future, it is hoped that MRI-Linacs will be implemented into more UK hospitals to benefit patient treatment. Visiting this research project gave me an insight in some of the problems to overcome with this technology and a greater understanding of how the equipment will be used clinically.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

Current and future students on the STP program will also have the opportunity to complete an elective placement. They will benefit from a link between the university and the host institutes as it gives them options for their placements. The hosting institutes also learnt more about the program and what to expect if more students were to visit from the UK.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

During my time at the institutes, I met many medical physicists, and gained a greater understanding about what working as a physicist in Australia is like. I had the opportunity to see different areas of the institutes and explore the city of Sydney. I stayed in a hostel where I met many lovely people from all over the world, some of which were also completing elective placements relating to healthcare science.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

Visiting the institutes, in particular the MRI-Linac program, has given me knowledge that I would not currently be able to gain in the UK. After completion of my course at King’s, I hope to work in Australia. This elective placement has given me some great contacts and references in order to apply for positions over there, along with some valuable experience.

Ritu Kundu, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2017-18

Degree programme at King’s

PhD (Computer Science)

Which institution did you go to and why?

Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology). For internship/research-collaboration as the team working there is among the experts on my research topic - string algorithm for bioinformatics. Networking and exploring the post-doctoral opportunities were other significant criteria for choosing Georgia Tech.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered part of travel and accommodation costs.

If not for the grant, I would have missed the opportunity of visiting Georgia Tech and meeting Dr. Thankachan who was visiting the university at the same time. He is the person who informed me as well as recommended me for the post-doctoral position with one of the pioneers in my research-field (Prof. Wing-Kin Sung at NUS). I am most grateful to King's Worldwide and my department for providing me with this wonderful opportunity that has proved to be significant for my career.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

The design of algorithms for bioinformatics, also known as computational biology, falls within the remit of the Global Health Theme. The Algorithms & Bioinformatics Group at King’s College London (KCL) and the respective group at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) specialise in the design of the algorithms specifically focussing on biological sequences, such as DNA or proteins. Ongoing advancements in bioinformatics, accentuated by sequencing of human genome, has immense potential to influence health globally. However, there is a long way to go before computational biology attains its goal to drastically improve the way diseases are prevented, diagnosed, and treated. Furthermore, drawbacks like low accuracy and inefficiency of the current methods used in sequencing and analysis of genomic sequences restrict their efficacy.

My research focuses on developing algorithmic and data-driven solutions to address specific issues associated with next generation DNA sequencing technologies (Please refer to my web-page for further details on the “problems” handled heretofore).

The research-visit was aimed to work with the team of Professor Srinivas Aluru (School of Computational Science and Engineering, Georgia Tech). He serves as co-Executive Director for the Georgia Tech Interdisciplinary Research Institute (IRI) in Data Engineering and Science (IDEaS), and co-leads the National Science Foundation (NSF) South Big Data Regional Innovation Hub.

The research work undertaken during the visit was focused on developing bioinformatics methods for high-throughput DNA sequencing, particularly error correction in genome assembly.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

Various brain-storming sessions started a new line of research problems. A few of them were dropped because of various reasons. But one--using a new data-structures called special-bridges--looked promising. We (a couple of members of the team at Georgia Tech and University of Central Florida, and myself) pursued that problem and are now following up using Skype for discussions. I developed a small prototype for the construction of this data-structure.

In addition, I presented my research work and exchanged research-ideas with other members of the team who are working in the same and related fields. It has helped me in developing better insights of the current overall picture of bioinformatics (genomics in particular) as a research field and possible future directions it might take.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

This visit not only strengthened the connection between the two departments at KCL and Georgia Tech, but also established new ones with the departments at other universities. Prof. Narasimhan from Florida International University (FIU) and another team from the University of Central Florida (CFU) headed by Dr. Thankachan were also visiting Georgia Tech at the time.

The consolidation of the networks between our team at KCL and the aforementioned teams could be assessed from the following: (1) The Royal Society joint research application with Prof. Aluru (Georgia Tech) has been applied. (2) Prof. Narasimhan (FIU) visited us and gave a talk at KCL in April. (3) A joint workshop is being conducted at CFU in October.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

I visited the aquarium and socialised with other students at Georgia Tech. I also attended the St. Patrick's Day parade. The composition of the city, and the university itself, provided quite an amazing experience. I remember a shocking contrast as compared to the UK - people there do not wish a tube-station near their homes. They fear that better transportation connectivity would bring the criminal activities closer!

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

As I have stated before, this trip is indirectly the reason that I got one of the best post-doctoral positions in my field. In fact, exploring those opportunities was one of the primary reasons of this trip. In addition, I could expand my professional network with several great connections. The proposed research work is progressing at a satisfactory pace. Overall, I would call this a successful trip and can't thank King's worldwide and my department enough for this "game-changing" opportunity.

Robin Bartlett, University of Chicago, 2017-18

Degree programme at King’s

Mathematics Research Postgraduate at the London School of Geometry and Number Theory (LSGNT Doctoral Training Centre).

Which institution did you go to and why?

I went to the University of Chicago because it has one of the strongest mathematics departments, and strong links to much of the research done in London on number theory.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

I used the grant in combination with another travel grant to fund travel and accommodation for my visit, as well as provide me with a visiting student position with access to an office and department facilities.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research is in a field of mathematics called number theory. One of the most important modern applications of number theory is towards cybersecurity, through cryptography and encryption. In Chicago my research focused on objects which generalise those appearing in elliptic curve cryptography. I worked on establishing theoretical results on these objects which we hope will have practical applications to improving existing encryption systems.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

In Chicago I was able to extend results on an important conjecture in this field, the so called Serre weight conjecture, to any dimension. These results were previously only known in the two-dimensional case. I expect to publish these results soon.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

The principal strategic value of this project was that it has allowed a link between the departments though which further collaboration can be made. Because of my visit, another student from the LSGNT Doctoral Training Centre has already organised a visit to the University of Chicago this Autumn.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

I enjoyed spending a long period of time living in the US, and it allowed me to experience the country in a way I had not been able to during the previous short visits I had made. This was important for me because I am considering applying for academic positions in the US, and this visit gave me the chance to see if I would enjoy life there.

I was also able to make several friendships with the graduate students and post-doctorates in Chicago, and hope these friendships enable mathematical collaboration in the future.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I believe one of the most beneficial parts of my trip was that it allowed me to talk about my work outside of the UK. I gave several seminar-talks and made short visits to research institutions outside Chicago. As I mentioned above I plan to apply for academic positions at some of these institutions and I hope that the networking opportunities my trip gave me help these applications.

Saleh Alessy, National Cancer Institute, 2017-18

Degree programme at King’s

PhD student, Cancer Epidemiology, Population and Global Health School of Cancer and Pharmacological Sciences Faculty of Life Sciences.

Which institution did you go to and why?

I spent five weeks at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) attending the Summer Curriculum in Cancer Prevention hosted by Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP). This program has been going for the last twenty years receiving about 90 participants annually from all over the world.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my travel costs, and part of the accommodation. The grant helped me to attend this prestigious course and get the chance to network with many scientists in the field

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Beside attending the course, I met with Dr Michelle Mollica, the program director for the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the NCI after her lecture on survivorship and health and research. We discussed her ongoing research using USA patient experience dataset (SEER-CAHPS) and the similar work I am doing in my PhD UK dataset hold by Public Health England. This meeting allowed me to learn what is being done there, what we can collaborate on, and identify opportunities for developing future comparative studies. Thus, I believe this aligns with KCL’s International Strategy’s Global Health theme.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

Both courses consisted of lectures given by scholars at NCI and other prestigious-academic institutions in the USA. In addition to the deep knowledge I developed in cancer prevention from the lectures, participants were expected to draft a project proposal related to their research of interest and will receive feedback from their peers and course faculty mentors. I used this chance to develop cancer epidemiology and prevention workshop proposal to be delivered in Saudi Arabia and received feedback on it from my mentor and peers. I also had the chance to formally meet with several participants and scientists to discuss cancer prevention.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

I met Dr. Azzam, the course director and well-known cancer prevention scientist as well as Dr. Mollic, the person in charge with patients experience dataset in USA. We discussed introducing them formally to my research group. This is expected to result in collaboration that assess whether variation in cancer patients’ experiences influence patients’ survival using US and UK datasets. In addition, these two courses have added a lot of values to my cancer epidemiology educations. Sharing my experience with our school might result in more students, from our school, going to this course.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

Traveling and learning about different cultures is one of the things I love to do. Although this visit to the USA was not the first one, it was unique because I met participants from more than 30 countries. Getting to know these people and learn about their cultures were valuable additions to list of cultures I have learned about in my life. In addition to that, I have built friendships with some of these people, which added a lot to my social life. Additionally, Washington DC is well known for its collections of museums. I got the chance to go most of these museums and learned a lot about American and human history.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

My visit to NCI allowed me to develop new in-depth knowledge, explore an international curriculum at a world-class partner institution, and enabled me to develop networks and collaborations that will support my future career. Specifically, I communicated with some cancer epidemiologists from NCI, john Hopkins, and Harvard to join their team for postdoctoral training. I also had several meetings with NCI scholars who want to deliver some cancer prevention projects in the Middle east, which could be a great chance for me when I go back home and start my research career.

Sara De Martin, Yale University, 2018-19

Degree programme at King's

Master/Doctor of Philosophy in Classics Research

Which institution did you go to and why?

I went to Yale University to work on my PhD dissertation under the supervision of Yale Professor Pauline LeVen, whose specialty is the study of archaic song culture and its reception in later periods of Greek antiquity.

How long did you go for?

I was officially enrolled at Yale for two months (1 March-30 April). I travelled back to London on May 7th.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered accommodation costs ($800 per month, for two months), travel costs (return flight London-New York, transfer from New York airport to New Haven; and train tickets to Princeton and New York), and some living costs (£150).

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

During the two months, I made good progress with my dissertation. Firstly, I partially redrafted a chapter that I had worked upon before leaving (on Imperial reuses of Theognidean lines), and I discussed it with Prof LeVen. I then started working on an article and received from Prof LeVen some comments on its first version. We then discussed together a plan for the reworking of one chapter of my dissertation (on Theognidean reuses in 5th/4th c. BCE Athens). I then redrafted this chapter and discussed it with Prof LeVen before leaving New Haven on May 1st, 2019. Apart from the progress made with my dissertation drafts, the many conversations with PhD students and professors that I had over the two months prompted me to partially rethink or enlarge the theoretical framework of my research. Apart from my exchange with Prof LeVen, at Yale I had the chance to meet and chat with Prof Egbert Bakker (expert in Homeric epic and language and archaic and classical lyric), and with many of Yale Classics graduate students. I also travelled to Princeton, where I had very stimulating discussions with Proff Andrew Ford (expert in ancient poetry and poetical criticism) and Johannes Haubold (who works on wisdom literature interactions between the Near East and the Ancient Greek world). Before flying back to London, I spent some days in New York, where I met Prof Katharina Volk of Columbia University, who worked on Latin didactic poetry, and Lawrence Kowerski of CUNY, whom I contacted because of his interest for the Theognidea. All in all, it has been a very stimulating stay that has allowed me to gain new insights on some of the textual material that I am handling for my dissertation.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King's and your host institution

My Yale advisor, Prof Pauline LeVen, has already been a guest of King's Department of Classics in May 2018, when she delivered a keynote lecture at a conference on ancient lyric poetry organised by King's Classics PhD students. My presence at Yale has furthered the relationship between the two Departments. Engaging in Yale Classics Department life and attending seminars and lectures, I made myself known to Yale Classics community as KCL student, and to talk about my research as output of KCL Classics Department. Hopefully, this will help the reinforcement of the contacts and collaboration between the two Departments in the near future.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

During my stay, I lived in a shared flat with two other American people. They were both Yale students, but based in other Departments. Their company has allowed me to better understand some dynamics of American graduate school and graduate life. One of my flatmates was enrolled in Nursery school, while the other had an interest in politics and LGBTQs rights. Thus, conversation with them allowed me to gain some insights in matters of American welfare and current political debates.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King's and beyond?

Apart from prompting me to partially rethink or enlarge the theoretical framework of my research, conversation with professors employed in several universities of the East Coast has been generally very inspiring and has allowed me to understand that I am passionate about communicating and sharing my research. I now look forward to a future of collaboration with inspiring colleagues. In full awareness that the academic job market is constantly shrinking, I feel now motivated enough to make all necessary efforts to pursue the academic career.

Sinziana Pop, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

Master/Doctor of Philosophy in MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology Research FT

Which institution did you go to and why?

National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Bangalore, India. There I visited the lab of Dr. Sanjay Sane to establish a collaboration in between our lab and his.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered for visa fees, flights, accommodation and allowance for food. The grant enabled me to travel to Bangalore, India and to live on-site.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My PhD research concerns the development of the nervous system that controls flight in insects. My research also impacts matters such as ecology and pest control, which aligns with KCL’s International Strategy for Global Health. Among the insects I am studying are aphids, major global pests, which cause considerable damage to cotton and legume crops.

In the lab of Dr. Sane I have learnt how to use high-speed videography to observe flight behaviour in mutant flies which have been genetically engineered to develop extra neurons. I found that these mutant flies are not able to stabilise at take-off. My findings on the development of neural circuits that control flight can be used to develop strategies to prevent aphids from dispersing, limiting the amount of damage they cause to crops.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

The direct benefits of the research I conducted during my stay at NCBS are towards our basic understanding on how aberrations in neural development can lead to defects in adult behaviour. A fly which generated extra neurons during development because of general disruptions in programmed cell death had a perturbed flight: it was not able to stabilise in the initial phases of take-off.

An indirect benefit is the contribution to developing strategies for pest control. Furthermore, the research I conducted allowed me to learn how to set up, conduct and analyse behavioural assays. I can use this knowledge to establish an insect behaviour room in our own Centre.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

My research project marks the beginning of an official collaboration in between our lab led by Dr. Darren Williams and the lab of Dr. Sanjay Sane at NCBS. The two labs complement their research very well, we are experts in fly genetics and imaging, while Dr. Sane's lab consists of experts in insect behaviour. With the guidance of Dr. Sane's lab I learned how to perform and interpret behavioural assays. In turn, I was able to share my knowledge of fly genetics and gave advice on cell tracing techniques.

While at NCBS, I often talked to young researchers about KCL and the Centre for Developmental Neurobiology. I encouraged them to read about the various research groups in our Institution and to consider them for a collaboration or for their next step in their careers.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

The Global Research Grant has allowed me to experience a wonderfully different social and research environment. I have learnt about Indian culture with an added bonus of a few Hindi words. I now understand more and feel a deep connection with the Indian way of life. I would describe it as 'delightful chaos'.

The research environment at NCBS can be described by genuine enthusiasm, a sense of community, openness, great quality and profound knowledge. There I have encountered passionate and committed young scientists and I can say they gave me a 'science boost'. I have greatly enjoyed my time at NCBS and in India and I have returned refreshed and motivated.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

My trip had a great impact on the advancement of my career. First, it was a source of motivation and it reinforced my genuine enjoyment for science and research. Second, it allowed me to conduct research in a different setting, increasing my ability to adapt. Third, it allowed me to meet other scientists and form what I think will be meaningful and long-lasting professional connections. Last, but not least, my trip marked the beginning of the official collaboration in between Dr. Williams and Dr. Sane, hence KCL and NCBS. In the future I plan to fortify this collaboration and return to NCBS.

Sophie Stevens, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,  2013-14

Degree programme at King’s

PhD in Spanish And Spanish American Studies Research.

Which institution did you go to and why?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). I chose to go there because it has a fantastic reputation in the field of Latin American Studies and because my supervisor at KCL had links with Professor Adam Versényi, who works on Latin American theatre translation and who agreed to supervise my work at UNC.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

I wanted to carry out research at UNC to broaden the scope of my PhD and the critical approaches employed in my thesis. I knew that working with Professor Versényi would be a fantastic opportunity: his role at UNC is Chair of Dramatic Art and so he offered a different perspective on my research, in particular, on staging and performing translations of Latin American plays.

My supervisor introduced us via email and once we had exchanged ideas about what I wanted to achieve and how a visit to UNC would benefit my research, Professor Versényi put me in contact with other colleagues to help me to meet the objectives of my visit.

I wanted to find out about certain outreach projects at UNC to understand how the university creates innovative ways for research to have an impact in the wider community. I wanted to learn about Latino/a studies in the US and the crossovers with my own research, which could pave the way for future projects. I also wanted to meet and participate in activities with graduate students, so I asked to sit in on some relevant graduate (MA and PhD) seminars.

I shaped my visit as much as I could before leaving the UK to maximise the time that I had at UNC. I set up meetings during the first week to make sure that I contacted the people that I wanted to meet and so that I could find out about seminars and events to attend during my stay. I also scheduled an appointment with an Information Specialist at the library for some training to ensure that I knew how to search for and access resources.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

Before I arrived in the US, Professor Versényi put me in contact with a graduate student also working on Latin American studies. This was helpful as she provided advice about UNC and settling in. I met up with her in my first week and she showed me around the campus. She introduced me to other UNC grads and through her and the department I found out about events that I could attend. At UNC, like at KCL, there is a vibrant and diverse graduate community and most research seminars are followed by social activities, like a trip to one of the local microbreweries. I think that the time of year of my visit, which was the start of the fall semester, also had an impact on the variety of things on offer as there is always a buzz around the start of term. My university ‘OneCard’ gave me access to student activities, including American football games, film screenings and fitness centres so I was able to participate in all aspects of student life on campus.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

The visit was extremely important for my PhD. My regular meetings with Professor Versényi allowed me to enhance the scope of my research. The library at UNC (which shares its catalogue with Duke University meaning that a wider range of material is available) contained relevant resources, including texts that I had not previously been able to access in the UK. This included two translations into English by US academics of a play that I am studying in my thesis. Professor Versényi edits a theatre translation journal and provided useful recommendations for submitting an article for publication, which I hope to do in the coming year. Working in a department of Dramatic Art was an interesting experience and provided key ideas for a project that I am now undertaking in collaboration with a theatre practitioner and King’s Cultural Institute. In terms of my career development, the visit created opportunities for networking and to make new contacts who will be valuable in the future when I am looking for post-doc opportunities or when I’m organising international conferences. The visit also provided a unique insight into the education system in the US, both in terms of specific approaches within my discipline and a wider understanding of postgraduate study.

Stephanie Forkel, University of California (San Francisco), 2015-16

Degree programme at King’s

Neuroimaging

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of California, San Francisco.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered some of my accommodation and public transport expenses.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

Global health.

It has been an exciting and inspiring few weeks in the San Francisco Bay Area. This newly gained international outlook will contribute positively to all areas of my research and has certainly solidified future collaborations. During these weeks, the research team in San Francisco and myself have been able to streamline our neuroimaging data acquisition and neurolinguistic assessments in patients with stroke and brain tumours. As well as having assessments align we also have overlapping time points when these assessments will be conducted for our patients in London and San Francisco. In addition, I volunteered myself as travelling head and to be scanned at all facilities to be able to assess the variability the scanner hardware. All these efforts will in combination allow us to pool our clinical data for study designs with higher power leading to publications with more impact to the community, patient care, and communication with patients and their families.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

Spending this extended period with the research labs around the various campuses around the bay area allowed me to make form new collaborative relationships with international scientists in my field. We exchanged current projects, ideas, and helped with writing papers and book chapters where we had complementary expertise. The output of these weeks has been tremendous, and we achieved to streamline our patient recruitment efforts and patient assessments which enables us to pool data in the future and be able to have more meaningful clinical studies available for the community. At the same time, we rigorously compared our data analysis pipelines and defined the best parameters to be used in future studies.

I was giving a presentation on the work I am conducting at KCL every single week I was in San Francisco all of which were met with great interest and researchers being interested in joining our lab in London.

Future collaborations will be facilitated by this visit and we are aiming to submit join grant applications in the future.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

The San Francisco Bay area and London are both key hubs for medical and research excellence with unique access to patients. Pooling these resources in a joint effort is mutually beneficial for both institutes and will help increase the international influence KCL has. Having streamlined recruitment, assessment, and data analysis across our centres as well as having myself be scanned as traveling head opens up the possibility to conduct joint research and co-write grant applications with international impact.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

The world has become smaller for me as I’ve now made friends at the other side of the world. In the current political climate, it was particular enriching to be immersed in scientific endeavours that know no geographical or national boundaries. Everyone I met in those four weeks was equally excited about exploring the best way to study anatomy, language and the brain and improve the lives of generations of stroke patients to come. In addition to many socialising activities within the lab, such as joint lunches, writing group, and discussions, I was also invited to join lab members outside of work for outdoor actives. All this fostered mutual feelings of friendship.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I was able to help with data analysis, which will grant me an authorship on a paper by the hosting research team and we defined projects to write up as grant proposals for future collaborations

Owing to the warm welcome I received and the fierce interest in my work expressed by colleagues in San Francisco, I was able to showcase the work I have been conducting at KCL for the past years and certainly expand my personal outreach as well as promoting the work of my KCL team.

I monitored my online impact and was able to attract an additional 46 reads of my papers by people visiting my research gate profile. In addition, the Facebook group I am hosting for clinical neuroanatomy, which focusses on talks I am organising around KCL, but is also used as a vehicle to advertise related science news, reached a startling audience of 15,225 readers.

Thomas Ensom, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

Digital Humanities Research PhD.

Which institution did you go to and why?

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, as they have been at the forefront of research in the conservation of software-based art, which is my PhD research topic.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my flights to and from San Francisco and a portion of my accommodation while based there. In doing so, it enabled me to complete a three-week research fellowship at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), during which I investigated the history and conservation status of an artwork commissioned by SFMOMA in the mid-1990s. This installation-based work was technically complex, and much of my project involved the careful piecing together of its development and display through analysis of components, documentation and interviews. I was then able to develop and present a set of conservation recommendations at a departmental meeting.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

The research I undertook sits at the intersection of the Sustainable Cities and Culture & Identity strands. It sought to address concerns over the sustainability of digital cultural heritage through work at the cutting edge of art conservation and digital preservation. Software-based artworks are an important cultural output yet there is uncertainty over how we might ensure their long-term legacy - this research represented work toward lessening this risk of loss.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

The research was hugely beneficial to my ongoing PhD research, and helped me further develop ideas which have now become a significant part of my thesis. There were also considerable benefits in terms of learning opportunities, as through my time at SFMOMA I was able to work with individuals at the absolute forefront of their field. I would consider the experience a considerable benefit to my professional and academic development.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

The project forged a new link between KCL's Department of Digital Humanities and SFMOMA - one which could be of great benefit given the importance of connections between work in this research area and museums. It also provided a way for those at SFMOMA to become more aware of the cutting-edge digital preservation research going on at King's at the UK in general.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

During my time at SFMOMA I forged new professional relationships with several individuals with whom I worked closely during my time there. I feel that these new contacts are likely to bey important in my career as it develops, particularly as international collaboration becomes more and more critical. My time away was also an incredible opportunity to live and work within a vibrant and energetic American city, one with a rich history in the computer technology at the core of my research. It was an amazing experience that will stick with me for a long time.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I feel the trip enriched my PhD research and so will directly contribute to the advancement of my research career in this sense. I also feel that links forged with colleagues at SFMOMA, and their recognition of my research, may well be advantageous in the future. The general research skills I developed by undertaking the research, particularly in communication and teamwork with others, are likely to be very valuable to my professional development.

Thomas Froehlich, University of São Paulo, 2015-16

Degree programme at King’s

PhD Brazilian Studies

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of São Paulo (USP), Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (PUC-SP), Getulio Vargas Foundation (FGV): Because they seemed to have the best IR research centres in Sao Paulo and therefore seemed suited as cooperation partners

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered the flights, local transport, and partially the living/housing costs.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research focuses on the Atlantic Basin Initiative which aims to deepen cooperation between the North- and the South-Atlantic regions. Defence & Security is one central area of cooperation.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

I have found possible partners at FGV who are willing to work on joint grant applications in the future. After submitting my PhD this fall, I want to apply for a scholarship to return to FGV temporarily and prepare a joint application for a broader research project.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

Especially with FGV, there is a good chance to further deepen the relationship with KCL as there is no formal agreement at the moment. This could be a possible outcome of future research projects that will be carried out jointly.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

It is very important to not only look at a country as a research subject from the outside but also immerse in the culture to fully understand its internal workings. This is especially true for Brazil, where a common saying is that "Brazil is not for beginners." The exchange with researchers and people with different cultural backgrounds offers new ways of thinking and questioning of dominant discourses in the context of British academia.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

I hope to establish long-term cooperation with the partners in Brazil and hopefully find employment through this initial contact.

Tom Barry, The University of Hong Kong, 2015-2016

Degree programme at King's:

Post-doctoral research fellow in Psychology

What did your Global Research Grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

Principally, the grant allowed me to travel to Hong Kong and stay for two weeks during which I was able to conduct meetings with my collaborators in HKU regarding the proposed project.

The project was expanded after the initial plans so that we could investigate additional facets of mental health and the cognitive and behavioural processes that are thought to underlie anxiety disorders. My main collaborator in HKU (Dr. Barbara Lo) also invited a PhD student of hers to include this project into her thesis. This meant that we would have someone to deliver the project and it also enabled us to expand the project.

My time was spent meeting with Dr Lo and the new PhD student to coordinate the details of the project and the measures that would be included within. We now plan to gather data in March/April and analyse and report on results in July/June. We are currently at the stage of waiting for ethical approval, the application for which was completed during the stay.

I was also able to conduct a workshop during my stay, presenting my work to the Department of Psychology in HKU. I was able to meet some other potential collaborators who share other research interests with myself too.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in King's International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity?

As the work concerned an investigation into mental health in Hong Kong, it not only aligned with the 'Global Health' theme, but also 'Culture and Identity' as we were/are principally trying to investigate the unique qualities of anxiety and emotional disorder in young people in Hong Kong, that may differ from that of their elders, or from their counterparts in London.

Please summarise the benefits of the research conducted: 

The trip has had several benefits:

1. It has benefitted the planned project, as it has allowed us to expand it and coordinate its new design, bringing in a PhD student and organising how it is delivered.

2. It has had several benefits to me as an individual:

  • The award will help my future fellowship and grant applications by showing the breadth of my research focus and my international perspective, whilst also illustrating my ability to gain funding.

  • I will benefit from the relationships I’ve been able to develop whilst in HKU and the opportunity to develop existing and new collaborations with other researchers. This may lead to larger projects in the future.

  • I have developed my skills in presenting my work to an international audience and in developing international collaborative projects. I have also learnt a lot about Hong Kong and its academic world.

3. It will hopefully be of benefit to the people of Hong Kong when we are able to deliver the project that was organised during the trip. It is hoped that this will contribute towards our understanding of what drives young people’s anxieties in Hong Kong and how these can be addressed. It is also hoped that when we are able to publish the work locally it will contribute towards reducing the stigma that exists in Hong Kong, and elsewhere, surrounding mental health problems.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King's and your host institution:

Through the trip and the project that has subsequently been organised, we have been able to take the first steps in a project that may build towards publications and future grant applications involving HKU and KCL researchers.

It is my hope that this trip has provided the beginning of a long collaborative relationship between my lab in KCL and that of our collaborators in HKU. I hope that we will continue to share knowledge and expertise and to develop new and valuable research plans.

I hope that we are now successful in obtaining future funds for other short trips to coordinate the latter parts of this study, as well as larger grants for future plans that will develop from this study.  

Yotam Levy, University of Minnesota, 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

Human Physiological Sciences Research, PhD

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of Minnesota, USA. I was invited by a researcher to conduct a study with him.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered my rent and some of my living expenses. As I had presumed, I found that living close to the university was significantly important in being able to truly relax and immerse myself in all the new experiences, be it research or simply living in the US. This has proven to be very fruitful for my results. It would not have been possible without the grant.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research aligned with Global Health very well, as I was researching muscle ageing and disorders.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

I have learned many laboratory techniques in molecular biology and cell culture, which have significantly expanded my practical skills as a researcher of muscle physiology. More importantly, it has exposed me to a vast range of studies that allow me to evaluate my studies from different angles.

I am now able to better comprehend my field and communicate with researchers who use complementary techniques to my own. As a result, I am certain my research at King's will become of much higher quality. In terms of research, we now work on various projects with the University of Minnesota (see below), which all study ageing and muscle diseases. Many interesting facts should be revealed through those studies that will aid the scientific community and hopefully the general public.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

While I was there, I started two more projects in collaboration with bioengineers, biochemists and cell biologists from the University of Minnesota. Additionally, my supervisor at KCL and the researcher in my host laboratory have also decided to embark on a novel research idea and applied for funding together with an additional researcher in Singapore. Together, they combine knowledge in muscle physiology, molecular biology and bioengineering. The project should cover aspects of pathology starting at the single molecule level, all the way to an entire organism. This project should significantly expand our knowledge in muscle diseases and ageing. I am certain all these projects will significantly deepen the relationship between KCL and the University of Minnesota.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

I enjoyed researching at such a large university, as I could attend many seminars in different fields and meet numerous researchers. Thus, we were able to commence all the projects discussed above.

It has, moreover, broadened my professional network to researchers in the US and Singapore. Networks function in such a way that is impossible to predict what doors will be opened. This is true for personal and university gain, but also for research. The more researchers I meet, the more likely it is that my research will have a significant social and cultural impact one day, not only as I am capable of communicating with many different cultures, but also as I expand my knowledge through my association with those cultures. This is true on an individual level. Nevertheless, if all researchers do that, we have a highly complex network that connects all researchers together. That is the only way to create significant social and cultural impact - by working together.

Therefore, I believe the impact is yet to be shown, but becomes more and more evident each day.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

Overall, this trip has broadened my laboratory skills, altered my perspective on my studies and expanded my professional network. This experience will enable me to pursue a career with a focus on muscle nuclei and their transcription and synthesis power in health and disease, using techniques from cell culture, molecular biology, optogenetics, biophysics, bioengineering and advanced microscopy. Living in the United States for two months and researching at the University of Minnesota has been a tremendous time in my life, which I will never forget! Thank you!

Zeno Leoni, University of California (Los Angeles), 2016-17

Degree programme at King’s

PhD International Political Economy

Which institution did you go to and why?

University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) because it offered highly qualified scholars of US history and geopolitics. It was also beneficial for my department to network with this institution.

What did the grant cover and what did it enable you to do?

The grant covered the return flight ticket from London to Los Angeles, and covered the cost of a room in LA and of food shopping. It enabled meet important scholars in person and to visit other institutions spread across the metropolitan area of LA.

How did your research align with one or more of the four global themes in the fourth strand of the King’s International Strategy: Defence & Security; Global Health; Sustainable Cities; Culture & Identity

My research aligns with two global themes: "Defence and Security" and "Culture and Identity" because it explores the relation between Obama's security policy in Asia-Pacific and the influence of American nationalism in his cultural discourse adopted to underpin the geopolitical shift in the Pacific region.

Please summarise any expected benefits of the research conducted

During the trip I had the chance to receive the feedback of scholars who are known internationally. This will allow me to publish an article on Obama's nationalism in an important academic journal (Geopolitics). This publication will impact my CV in a very positive way.

Furthermore, I had access to the UCLA library and to the Huntington Library, where I found resources that allowed me to enrich the research started at KCL.

Please summarise the strategic value of your project in deepening the relationship between King’s and your host institution

While pursuing my research, I attempted to circulate a new KCL blog on US Global Affairs across various departments of KCL and UCLA. The value of this blog is to help cultivate an interest at KCL for a subject which has been overlooked in recent years. The blog will take advantage of professional contacts with UCLA. The benefits of this blog - which has been launched recently, and is already hosting some interventions - is that students and members of staff will be able to get to know their counterparts across the ocean and to develop panel proposals for upcoming international conferences such as ISA's ones. At the same time I am forming a panel myself with people met at UCLA.

Please describe the social and cultural advantages of your time away

With regard to social and cultural advantages, I had the chance to get to know research students that share my interests on US geopolitics and identity but US urban geography. In particular, visiting Los Angeles gave me the opportunity to explore one of the most studied cities in the world by urban geographers, given the peculiar position of the city and its organisation of space.

Furthermore, I had the chance to visit the National Japanese Museum where I learned about US concentration camps during WWII and the Huntington Library, which in addition to old collections it offered a visit to beautiful botanic gardens with plants from all over the world.

Finally, California is a very multicultural place with a peculiar climate, and this gave me the chance to get to know a very different region of the US.

Please describe any possible impacts of the trip on the advancement of your research career at King’s and beyond?

The main impact of this trip on my career will be that of the contacts developed. This will allow me to have an open door with regard to information and opportunities in California and in the American job market, given that my supervisor is a world-leading scholar in his subject. I plan to keep in touch with him for future conference panels. I also plan to send him my PhD thesis when it is complete.

Furthermore, given the current British job market, this trip added to my CV an important experience which demonstrates my dynamic approach to international networking and finding funding.


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