Student spotlight details
Having discovered that her MSc in Sustainable Urban Development research highlighted scope for further exploration, Aditi is now enrolled on the part-time DPhil programme.
'After earning my architecture license in 2012, I have been engaged in built environment projects to advance sustainability strategies. I have been fortunate to collaborate with various international development organisations mainly in the Asia-Pacific region, and at the time of my MSc and later DPhil, I worked as a policy researcher for an environmental think tank in Japan, the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES).
'Currently, I work as a consultant on urban sustainability and universal accessibility for the World Bank Group, and as a research fellow at IGES. I occasionally lecture in interdisciplinary graduate programmes and executive training programmes. Contributing to the development sector has always been of interest to me. This interest led me to do my first Master's degree at the UN University, focused on reducing the impact of climate change on cities through ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction and building urban resilience. My academic background in architecture and climate change has allowed me to become increasingly involved in urban sustainability projects.
'In order to deepen my theoretical understanding of urban sustainability and to better frame my current projects, I felt the need to follow specific training on this subject. But I also love my work, and I did not want to take a break from my career. The Master’s in Sustainable Urban Development offered an excellent opportunity to study the subject at one of the best universities while working full-time. The commitment to study on weekends and holidays for over two years, along with a full-time job that required frequent work-related travel, was challenging at times. In addition to the personal commitment, the two-year programme was also possible because both my family and work colleagues were very understanding and supportive of my effort to complete the programme.
'The opportunity to participate in academic life at the University is very rewarding. This includes discussions with faculty members and peers and attending seminars and lectures at the college and in the department. Oxford offers many ongoing debates and discussions, especially the Oxford Union. Meeting peers and gaining insights into their research and professional practice is very enriching.
'Conducting doctoral research is a personal milestone for me. For my MSc dissertation, I examined the regulatory acceleration of low-carbon technologies in the urban transport sector, which accounts for one of the key sectors contributing to sustainable and resilient cities. My findings highlighted the scope for further research, and I wanted to contribute to the ongoing discussions.
'However, at first, I wasn’t sure about the significance of my intended contribution and its contribution to the practice of urban sustainability. I took a year break to conduct a literature review and see if my findings were still valid. During that year, I also spoke to many leading academics involved in sustainability transition research to assess the significance of my research proposal. After receiving feedback, I decided to apply for the DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development programme and my application was successful.
'My research examines the field of accelerated transition to electric mobility in urban areas. I focus on how this socio-technical transition could address broader development challenges, such as increasing the representation of women in urban transport and public spaces.
'I would highly encourage people to apply for both the MSc and DPhil programmes or to the current MSc students interested in progressing to the DPhil. I think that both programmes help to develop a critical perspective when engaging with the literature on sustainable urban development and enrich one’s capacity to contribute to the ongoing discussions in the field.'