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School of Geography

Marta Giannichi

Project title: On-site evaluation of conservation incentives for private lands in Brazil: a bottom-up approach to assess landholders' decision making process

Supervisors: Guy Ziv and Tim Baker

Funding: CNPq Science without Borders

Why did you decide to study for a PhD, and why Leeds?

As simple as it sounds, I decided to start a PhD because I love to study. To be able to deepen yourself into a subject, understand its complexities and still have questions to be answered in the end is fascinating because makes the construction of knowledge endless! My masters’ degree was here in Leeds and although I was part of the Faculty of Biological Sciences, my supervisor was in the School of Geography, more specifically part of the Ecology and Global Change cluster. Since I finished my masters in 2011, I have always kept in touch with my supervisor and that was the main factor the led me to come back and study a PhD in Leeds. I already knew that School of Geography has leading research in tropical forests ecology and conservation and that Leeds was a great place to live. I enjoyed my masters’ course so much that wanted to repeat the experience.

What is your experience of PhD study in the School and what skills have you learnt?

This journey has been fascinating. I see a PhD as process of self-awareness, motivation, discipline, autonomy, and passion about your topic. I cannot think of any professional experience that would bring this combination altogether. Academically speaking, I have learnt great analytical skills. I have learnt how to operate different kinds of software and apply of different methods of acquiring data. But to me, above all, I am learning how to be a scientist, a researcher. I am learning how to participate in scientific debate, how to build arguments based on data, and how to reach conclusions that can potentially help society to overcome and reflect upon its current problems.

What are your career aspirations?

I am passionate about teaching. Hopefully in the future I would like to be a professor in a university. I believe this is a way to return to the society all the knowledge I have acquired as researcher. Ultimately, after a great deal of experience, my biggest ambition is to have a position of important decision-making in the environmental world, such as a Ministry of Environment in my country.

More generally, what would you say to someone else who may be considering studying a PhD in the School of Geography?

I would say go for it. PhD is a great experience by itself. In the School of Geography I am sure one will encounter not only an outstanding academic experience, but also a department with great people that will make this journey remarkable. Everyone here is extremely aware of the challenges to be faced in academia and they will guide you through this the best way possible. The School of Geography is a very sociable environment. I am sure whoever chooses this department will have friends for life.