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Profile: Current Nuffield Scholar

Aisla Jones, 2020 Nuffield Scholar

Aisla started the IBERS Nuffield Scholarship Project (New Awards) module in Feb 2021. She kindly agreed to an interview to help give other Nuffield Scholars an idea of what it was like to use the module to support the development of her Nuffield report and use it to gain gaining postgraduate credits. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your Nuffield topic

I’m Aisla Jones, and I’m the Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager at Co-Op. My Nuffield topic is looking at responsible sourcing of aquaculture feed, which can be responsible for a large proportion of the environment footprint and cost of aquaculture production. My project aims to understand the environmental impacts of feed production and the opportunities for the supply chain to support the most sustainable options.

What made you decide to take our online Nuffield module?

I’ve got a bit of a scientific background having previously studied for a master’s degree and worked as a research assistant. I wanted to carry out my Nuffield project in a more structured and scientific way to enable me to have a greater impact upon the audience I was hoping to reach.

What did you think it would be like to be a distance learner?

I had never done it before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest.

What was it like? Highs and lows

It definitely meant that I jumped into the background reading for my project at an early stage which has been of great benefit and was a big positive. The low was definitely trying to write my literature review during the Covid lockdown!

What have you enjoyed most?

This might make me sound like a bit of a nerd, but I have really enjoyed the fact that I am now able to have more productive conversations with both academics and members of the aquaculture supply chain. The extra knowledge from the academic reading has made academic contacts more accessible, and I now feel like I am sitting in the middle of the Venn diagram in my field, rather than within one of its circles.

How do you feel the module has helped with your Nuffield studies?

It has given me more structure. I did my last academic qualification 10 years ago and it has allowed me to refresh those skills. Things like how to find scientific evidence for my work and reference it – it was all in there somewhere, but I appreciated the help to bring it back to the front of my mind and apply it to my Nuffield project.

How well do you think the format works for working people?

There is a significant time and energy contribution that needs to go into it, and that is quite difficult when you’re working full time. It’s not always the time itself, but the headspace that you sometimes lack. The fact that the programme is so flexible makes this easier to manage, but I would advise you to consider negotiating a little specific time each month to study, with your employer, if you can.

What’s next for you?

With the Covid situation starting to ease, I’m really just looking forward to getting out there and collecting my data, putting the academic skills into practice, and (hopefully) writing a report that makes a splash in the aquaculture world!

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