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School of Geography

Michael Thomas

Modelling Individual and Place Variations in Residential Moves using Commercial Data and Official Statistics

Supervisors: Prof John Stillwell, Dr Myles Gould
Funding:
TALISMAN project - full-time ESRC +3 Project Linked (Talisman) Postgraduate Studentship with an additional Advanced Quantitative Methods stipend. 

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

The opportunity to continue to learn, and be financially comfortable whilst doing so, was too good to turn down. During my undergraduate study I had developed a keen interest in socio-spatial demographic and economic patterns and trends. Of course, a key contributor to the formation of socio-spatial difference is population movement. Consequently, when the opportunity to study micro and macro variations in something as fundamental as residential mobility emerged, I jumped at the chance. Beyond this, the decision to go to the School of Geography was simple given its long and successful research history in the areas of quantitative geography and demography.

What was your experience of PhD study in the School and the skills you learnt?

Overall I had a great three years in the School. I had two great supervisors who were not only genuine experts in the area, but also hugely generous with their time and commitment. Moreover, thanks to the continued ability of the School to attract considerable research funding, I was extremely fortunate to be able travel to various specialist centres around the country in order to receive the best methods training and advice. The Centre for Spatial Analysis and Policy is also very generous in allowing many of its research students the opportunity to participate in international conferences and workshops. In my three years I presented at international conferences in Athens, Copenhagen, Tel Aviv and Wollongong. 

What is your current employment situation and longer term career aspirations?

I am currently employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Population Research Centre, University of Groningen. My current research builds neatly on that of my PhD, where I now focus on exploring the complex interactions and mutual causality between residential relocations, partner relationships and housing trajectories in the life course (in Germany, the Netherlands and the UK). My ambition is to continue learning and to stay in academia for the long term. Thanks to my time at Leeds, I’m hoping these aspirations won’t be too farfetched! 

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

Go for it. So long as you have a genuine passion for your subject of choice, you will receive all of the support and advice necessary for the successful completion of a PhD.