Alan Mardan is in the second year of a PhD at the University of Salford, in which he’s researching the learning experience in civil and structural engineering. He graduated from the university with a degree in Civil Engineering in 2010, before completing a Masters in the same subject.

After taking a year out to work in his home country of Sweden, Alan returned to Salford to undertake his PhD after successfully secured funding from one of the university’s generous donors. He explains how the financial help has enabled him to pursue his ambition to contribute to civil engineering education.

"I started my PhD in January last year, after winning a scholarship competition funded by MGF Trench Construction Systems Ltd. I had to submit my proposal, then had an interview to explain why I wanted to do the research."

"I’ve been interested in my research area - enhancing students’ learning and the approriate understanding of structural forms – for a long time, and finding out about the scholarship motivated me even more. I’d already done an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at Salford, graduating in 2010, then I went straight into my Masters degree here, which I did full time before going back home to Sweden to get work experience in my field and work in civil and structural engineering."

"I was really keen to carry out this research at Salford, but without this scholarship and my lecturer, who believed in my ability, it would have been very difficult, if not impossible, for me to progress to this level. The fees are £4,052 per year over three years, and my scholarship pays them in full. I support myself by working as a part-time member of staff at the university, as a lecturer  in Civil Engineering."

"The people at MGF take a very keen interest in my work, they’re very enthusiastic and supportive at the same time. The university also holds regular events for donors to meet the students they’re funding, and that’s a very important and positive part of the relationship."

"My research will contribute to the wider society of civil and structural engineering education, and that’s my way of paying something back. This is a very invaluable gift that’s been given to me, and I’d love to contribute towards a positive outcome in the education of others in this sector."

"For me personally, being funded to do this PhD has allowed my dreams and ambitions to come true.
It’s not a straighfoward process, it’s hard work, you need lots of enthusiasm and planning and organisation, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time."

"I love what I’m doing and the fact that someone is supporting me to do it makes it mean even more."