First steps to becoming a climate scientist.....

jelleJelle van den Berk is a PhD student at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) based in De Bilt, just outside of Utrecht. Jelle tells us here about what led him to his PhD, his day-to-day life, and the advantages and disadvantages of being a research student in the climate science field.

Why did you choose a PhD in climate science?

After my Physics and Astronomy (Master) at the University of Amsterdam I was looking for a Ph.D. in the physical sciences and I learned about the position at KNMI. Even though my background is in another field the subject seemed really interesting so I applied and was successful.

What are the best points about a PhD?

There’s a lot of freedom to go your own way and to decide what you want to learn more about. Being part of EMBRACE also provides a wide research network with plenty of opportunity to learn from other scientists, which I find very important.

Describe your typical day

I usually divide the day into two or three parts. The morning is best for solving a problem of some sort (a buggy piece of code or doing a bit of theory). The afternoon is better suited for literature review and organising the project. The remainder of the day often lends itself for things that are not under a deadline and perhaps require a bit of creativity; the mind does tend to wander a bit more later in the day after all.

Are there any downsides?

Embarking on a Ph.D. Involves a bit of uncertainty. There is a finite amount of time and you have no idea what will happen afterwards (a common problem for young scientists of course) and not in anyway specific to climate science.

Would you recommend a PhD in climate science to others?

Of course it is a bit early to speak of a career already. The work is engaging and fulfilling and to me that is very important. So I would certainly recommend it to anyone who values these aspects.


Examples of research areas targeted by EMBRACE


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