Research>Global Academies>Joel Pinney Research Phd

School of Technologies Research PhD Student

About me and my research

My Name is Joel Pinney, and I am a PhD student in the School of Technologies at Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a PhD student for a little under a year and what an experience it has been so far! I first stepped foot in Cardiff met in 2017, where I was enrolled on a BSc (Hons) Computer Science degree. Still, I could have never imagined I would be lucky enough to receive a KESS2 scholarship to continue my education to PhD level. My PhD journey started when I was approached by my lecturer in a business intelligence seminar, observing my keen interest in the field of data visualisations, they approached me with the application. I was already eager to further my knowledge in this field and felt this was the perfect opportunity for me. Studying at Cardiff Met was everything I could have asked for and more, the level of support, guidance and facilities were always remarkable. I enjoyed my time through undergraduate and was thrilled to return to do a PhD.

As the PhD is a KESS2 funded scholarship, I have been positioned part-time at a data science company in the heart of Cardiff. My role is to research a particular problem they are facing, which can later be used as a case study for my thesis. The problem facing the company was the ability to display uncertainty in data visualisations, to make visualisations more clearly understood despite the uncertainty surrounding predictive analytics. As part of my research I will be using EEG (electroencephalogram) to attempt to identify how uncertainty affects the brain and the decisions we make.

The best part about my PhD..

The best part about my PhD is the ability to research what I find interesting. As a PhD student you have the ability to guide your research as you see correct. I can study what I find compelling, educating myself and furthering my knowledge in a subject I enjoy. Alongside this, the opportunities as a PhD student to teach, go to conferences/workshops and other functions is a real enjoyment.

Top PhD tip..

My top PhD tip is never to give up. A PhD can be a very daunting experience at the start as you find it is very different from undergraduate. Throughout the way, you will face challenges and sometimes a 'brick wall' where you simply do not know what to do next, you must use the fantastic support that is available and never give up. Never be afraid to ask your supervisor or another member of staff for help; everyone wants you to succeed and do well.

About my supervisors..

One thing that worried me about starting a PhD was if I would get supported throughout, this was a new challenge for me, and I was nervous I would be left to my own devices to solve it.  However, I could not have been more wrong, the level of support I receive from the university as a whole is impeccable. There is always someone you are able to turn to if you require help, no matter what the problem is. As a PhD student I am assigned a main supervisor who is my first point of contact, the level of support I receive from them is faultless. As I previously said this is a new challenge and I regularly hit that 'brick wall' but it is comforting to know that my supervisor is always one email away to help guide me back on track. My supervisors encouraged me to do the best I can and are always motivating me to push myself to new levels.

Where my PhD has taken me..

Although I have only been a PhD student for less than a year, the overall experience has been amazing. I have been lucky enough to travel to London to meet the author (David McCandless)  of 'Information if beautiful', a true inspiration of my PhD. I have big plans for the rest of the year, I look forward to seeing what my PhD and the future holds at Cardiff met.