Latest Posts

  • Dedicated Careers Support for Researchers at the University

    Are you currently undertaking your PhD or working at the University as an Early Career Researcher?

    We are excited to announce that you now have dedicated Careers Advisers to support you when planning your future career. Fiona Thie and Hayley Cordingley are based in the Employability & Careers Centre (in the Philip Marchant building), but will be offering a range of services through the Doctoral College and Researcher Development Programme.


    Whether you’re looking to stay in Academia or want to explore your options elsewhere, we can help.  Don’t leave it until the end of your PhD to consider your options!  If you are an Early Career Researcher, come and see us to discuss your options and next step.  Our dedicated support includes:

    • 45 minute 1:1 appointments (available Monday-Thursday): A confidential discussion on topics such as career options, career planning, CVs, covering letters, application forms and interview preparation. We also offer practice interviews. To book one, pop into Employability & Careers, Philip Marchant Building or call 01483 689001.
    • 20 minute Quick Query sessions (available Mondays and Thursdays 2-3pm): Shorter sessions to review your CV, covering letter or application form, or answer any career queries you have. To book, sign up on the day from 1:30pm onwards. First come, first served.
    • Interactive Workshops: 1 hour and 2 hour interactive workshops run in the Doctoral College. Workshops are listed on the RDP website.


    Fiona Thie

    I have been a qualified career coach for 12 years, working in HE Careers Services, commercial organisations and running my own business coaching individuals just starting out, experienced professionals and career changers.  Working in the Public Sector, Higher Education, Banking, Oil & Gas and Fast Moving Consumer Goods sectors, I have also recruited into a range of commercial, technical and creative roles by working closely with senior stakeholders and hiring managers, and understanding what qualities they were looking for.  Screening applications, interviewing and running assessment centres has given me the ‘inside view’ on what employers want at both the early career and experienced hire level.  I’m looking forward to supporting you throughout your time at Surrey and in making your next important career decisions!

    Dr Hayley Cordingley

    I started my career much like you doing a PhD, then moved to industry where I spent 10 years working in different areas of R&D as a researcher, a line-manager, and a project-manager collaborating with various industrial and academic partners.  I returned to academia to develop a particular technology, look at creating a start-up, and work as a project manager before deciding to focus on using my knowledge and skills to help other researchers with their careers in 2015.  Over the last 10 years, I have worked as an employee and as a freelancer with a few different HEIs (all on short-term contracts ranging from 7 days to 2 years!) and am really looking forward to meeting up with you – helping you find and secure the next role that’s right for you!


  • The Graduate Returns

    School of English and Languages graduate  Ellie Kerr-Smiley will return to chair a panel at the upcoming Surrey New Writers Festival on 6 May 2017.  In this blog post, Ellie writes about her experiences at Surrey and her development as a creative writer.


    When I first attended The Surrey New Writer’s Festival as a nineteen-year-old second year at the University of Surrey, I honestly had no idea what a writer’s festival would be. Three years and two degrees later, I’ll be returning to The New Writer’s Festival to chair the panel ‘Genre and the Novel’.Transitioning from ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ student at Surrey to speaker has been a long process that has somehow rushed by in the space of four years. Just two months after my eighteenth birthday, I found myself arriving at the University of Surrey campus, teary-eyed and blotchy-faced, and stumbled into the crumbling student accommodation I was to call home for the next twelve months (and that I would still be reminded of, four years later, whenever I catch a whiff of off-milk or damp walls). I was utterly clueless of many things when I arrived at university, but it was my literary ignorance that shone through the most in my first year at Surrey.

    Transitioning from ‘English Literature and Creative Writing’ student at Surrey to speaker has been a long process that has somehow rushed by in the space of four years. Just two months after my eighteenth birthday, I found myself arriving at the University of Surrey campus, teary-eyed and blotchy-faced, and stumbled into the crumbling student accommodation I was to call home for the next twelve months (and that I would still be reminded of, four years later, whenever I catch a whiff of off-milk or damp walls). I was utterly clueless of many things when I arrived at university, but it was my literary ignorance that shone through the most in my first year at Surrey.

    By my second year, I’d begun to find my academic footing, but I was still wobbly. The best parts of my week were the Creative Writing classes that I took as part of my degree; the teaching was inspiring and thought provoking, the books were incredible and the work was challenging. However, I found myself getting confused: what kind of writer was I? What kind of writer did I want to be? Is there even any space for me, with so many other writers out there? All I’d ever wanted to do was write, but now I was lost between paperbacks and people far more talented than myself.

    Early in the second semester of my second year, I attended my first New Writer’s Festival at the invitation of my lecturer, and the festival’s director, Dr Holly Luhning, and sat in on the panel ‘Novelists on the Novel’. What struck me the most about the speakers that day were how different each of them were; how different their work was from each other’s. If there was space for their work, then why couldn’t there be space for me? I began to experiment with my work, as and I did, my writing began to flourish. I became fiercely resistant to picking a style or genre, trying my hand at all and none.

    I stayed on at Surrey after I graduated, and began a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. This time around I wasn’t wobbly or lost; I didn’t know what kind of writer I was and that was okay. I volunteered at the New Writer’s Festival that year; in the space of two years the festival had grown dramatically and it was brilliant and exhausting and inspiring all at once. I found myself talking confidently to people about my work. Somewhere, in the few years between arriving at Surrey as a shaky teenager on a rainy Sunday, and standing at the festival that day, I’d become someone who had something worth saying, about books, about writing, about herself. When people asked what style or genre I wrote, I told them ‘I don’t. But here’s what I’m working on right now.’ I lacked definition, and I liked it.

    In six days’ time I will graduate from my Master’s Degree with a distinction, and will be awarded the MA Creative Writing Award. I still write a lot. I write prose, I make comics, I experiment a lot with hybrid visual-textual narratives. Is that my niche? Do I need one at all? I’m still not sure of the answer to that, but what I do know is that I wouldn’t even be asking the question, if it weren’t for Surrey.

    On May 6th 2017, I will chair the panel ‘Genre and the Novel’, where the importance of genre and labels in literature will be discussed by a panel of novelists. Perhaps it will change my mind, but, for now, I’m very happy being label-less.

  • Healthcare in the UK

    Hi All! It’s been quite some time. This is part due to having the flu (the inspiration for this blog) and other part due to beginning my industry work placement (more on that in a later post).

    This week’s post is all about healthcare in the UK – the system, how is is for international students, and how to utilize it.

    Healthcare in the UK: An Overview

    You may know by now but healthcare in the UK is remarkably different than that in the US. The healthcare system over here is called the National Health Service, or, “NHS” for short. Many people describe the NHS as “free healthcare.” While in comparison to the US healthcare system the NHS is extremely less expensive, there are some small expenses associated. The largest fee you will likely have to pay for healthcare in the UK is your NHS enrollment fee.

    Enrolling in the NHS

    As a Tier 4 visa holder, you are eligible for NHS services given that you have paid the enrollment fee. When applying for your visa, you will be prompted to pay to join the NHS. When I applied this cost roughly £250 however the fee is subject to change. This is an annual payment meaning that it must be repaid each year.

    Healthcare at Surrey

    The university benefits from its very own medical center located on campus near the Duke of Kent building. During international orientation, you will have the opportunity to register with the “GP” (“general practitioner” – this is how most people refer to doctors here). I highly recommend you take advantage of this opportunity! Once the school year begins, the medical center is packed with first years waiting in line to register. Sometimes the line is even outside the door! Registration is simple and just requires bringing your passport and filling out general information about your health.

    Using the NHS

    Now that you know how to register, let’s discuss actually using the NHS! Surrey’s medical centre is fully digitized with an up and running website that easily allows you to schedule appointments that fit in with your classes: You can always drop in to make an appointment on your way to class as well. As far as the actual process goes, appointments do not vary much from what you have would expect in the States. GPs are highly trained and if you are experiencing recurring symptoms, GPs can refer you to other specialists. GPs may prescribe you prescriptions that you can pick up at any local pharmacy. The majority of prescriptions are free but those that are not only cost a small fee.

    GPs should be used for all general medical issues, however, if you are experiencing a medical emergency, Royal Surrey County Hospital is just a short drive from campus. The emergency room equivalent in the UK is called “A&E” – standing for “accidents and emergency.” A&E should only be used in absolute emergencies and the medical emergency number is 999.

    Centre for Wellbeing

    Health isn’t just about your physical well being – it includes your mental health and life balance too. Right next to the university’s medical centre is the Centre for Wellbeing. The Centre for Wellbeing’s purpose is to support and assist students dealing with personal issues. Utilizing the Centre for Wellbeing is completely free and aside from helping students experiencing difficulties, they also tend to host a number of mindfulness and meditation classes for all students looking to de-stress.

    I hope this post was able to answer your questions about healthcare in the UK. If there is anything this post did not answer, please send us an e-mail at

    Until next time!


  • Why Gender Equality is Key for Economic Growth

    |4/4| To celebrate International Women’s Day we’re releasing new blogs every week this month from Kasmin Cooney (OBE) Righttrack Consultancy founder, sharing her decades of experience in equality and diversity training in the business world. 

    At Surrey Business School we’re passionate about advancing female candidates with the MBA Women in Business Scholarship, covering between 10 – 50% of the total tuition fee awarded on a rolling basis. 

    Statistics show that women are more likely to be employed in low paid/part-time work and are likely to have less financial asset. Yet, women-led businesses are increasingly becoming the driving force of the UK economy.

    New research by Founders4Schools shows that there are 762 women-led companies which have revenues between £1m-£250m and are expanding at a median growth rate of 30% a year, 453 are growing by 20% or more and 281 are growing by 50% or more. The total revenues they together accounted for increased by nearly £2 billion from the last year which was a median annual revenue increase per woman-led company of £900,000.

    It is delightful to see women making such a major contribution to the growth of the British economy; they are shattering stereotypes and glass ceilings that shouldn’t have even existed in the first place.

    Even though the UK has fallen to 9th place last year in terms of female board representation percentages in Europe, it seems that the UK is becoming the best place in the world for female entrepreneurs to further their business ventures.

    Kasmin Cooney (OBE) Righttrack Consultancy founder

  • Using the National Health Service (NHS)

    Hey everyone:)

    Firstly, apologies for being M.I.A for the past 2+ weeks. I did mention in my previous post that I’ll be talking about the Surrey Decides elections but I thought I would postpone it. Today I would like to share my experience of what happens if a medical-related issue arises as I was diagnosed with a kidney infection (hence why I’ve been M.I.A)

    The abdominal pain begun on a Sunday night and was progressively becoming worse. Me, being the avoider that I am, just put it down to possibly food poisoning. However, by Tuesday morning the pain was unbearable and on advice from my mother over Skype, she suggested I make an appointment to see a doctor as soon as possible. It’s quite different here in terms of seeing a doctor. Back home, we could just walk into a clinic and register and wait our turn to be examined by a doctor. Here, seeing a doctor is by appointment basis unless visiting Accident & Emergency (A&E) at Royal Surrey County Hospital (it’s located a 20-minute walk from the University campus)

    I rang the Guildowns Group Practice and asked for an emergency appointment to see a doctor, stating that I was concerned I may have appendicitis and was immediately booked in to see a doctor at 11.30am that same morning at Wodeland Surgery, a 15-minute walk from the university campus.

    Side-note: As a Surrey University student & being international, I would strongly encourage students to register themselves with the NHS Student Health Center, (it’s free) located on campus itself as soon as they arrive at Surrey University. This way, when I rang for an appointment, all my details were already in the system.

    A friend was kind enough to drive me to the clinic for my 11.30am appointment. It was very straightforward as there is an electronic sign-in tab to inform the receptionist & doctor that you’ve arrived. Not too long after, I was seen by the doctor whom suspected I may have early on-set appendicitis and that if the pain persisted, I should make my way to A&E immediately. As I had a previously arranged meeting scheduled for that evening, I decided to play the wait-and-see game in terms of if the pain got better or worse.

    Unfortunately, by that same evening, the pain had not subsided and I made my way to the Surrey County Hospital A&E. Again, it was straightforward, whereby the receptionist checked my details in the system (since I am registered at the on-campus NHS) and I informed her that the GP referred me here due to suspected appendicitis. I then took a seat and within 10 minutes was seen by a nurse who prescribed me Panadol for the pain and checked me to assign to a category (mine was Majors). I was then taken to the Majors waiting area, to be seen by a doctor.

    I had blood taken and tests done whilst the doctor checked me once again and went through my medical history. With the results in hand, the doctor concluded that it was most likely a kidney infection due to my symptoms and the specific area the pain was located at. I was prescribed antibiotics which was to be taken for a duration of 7 days as well as painkillers (all free of charge). Given the option, I preferred to go back to my university accommodation instead of spending a night at the hospital. I was told however, that there was still a chance of it being appendicitis and that if the pain did not subside in a couple of days, to come back and ask to be admitted straightaway. Thankfully, turns out, it was only a kidney infection and after the 7 days of antibiotics, I’m on the road to recovery!

    My experience dealing with the NHS has been nothing short of great and pleasant 🙂 I was treated well throughout the ordeal and encountered no issues/problems. I was scared and worried but the staff at both the clinic and hospital helped ease my fears and answered all questions I had. It was scary, being in the hospital without my parents around to speak to the doctors. But it was okay. I have supportive friends who kept checking in with me and offered to keep me company whilst waiting to be seen at the hospital 😀 Word of advice: Always keep your close friends in the loop because you need support especially during medical emergencies. Everything was covered as well, meaning I didn’t need to spend a dime for everything from the GP visit to the antibiotics from the hospital.

    Side-note: All Malaysians coming to study at the UK for longer than 6 months are now required to pay a ‘health surcharge’ of £150 per year to gain access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), after which students are eligible to use NHS services

    Anyways, that’s all for today!

    Till next time: selamat tinggal x

  • Anne Skeldon paper appears in Scientific Reports and picked up by BBC and the print media

    The paper The effects of self-selected light-dark cycles and social constraints on human sleep and circadian timing: a modeling approach, co-authored by Anne Skeldon, Andrew Phillips (Harvard), and Derk-Jan Dijk (FHMS, Surrey) has been published in the journal Scientific Reports.  The paper is attracting considerable media attention.  Anne spoke on BBC Surrey radio today (28 March), and the story has been picked up by the Times, Metro, Daily Mail, and the Belfast Telegraph.  The University has a press release on the paper here.

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