Alumni case study: Sumeet Agarwal

Alumni case study: Sumeet Agarwal
Systems Biology
Job title
Assistant Professor
Indian Institute of Technology Delhi

In what way was your DPhil important to your employer?

All three of them were important. The level of qualification was a pre-requisite for getting this position. The subject area was important in that it chimed with a growth area identified by the institution. The skills acquired were of course important and were assessed in the hiring process, both research skills and teaching/communication skills.

In what ways have the skills and knowledge from your DPhil been useful in your current role?

I am in an academic job, so the skills and knowledge from the DPhil have been essential. My research work has largely been a continuation and expansion of what I did during my DPhil. My teaching has also drawn upon both the knowledge and the presentation/communication skills acquired during the DPhil. Additionally, the contacts or academic networks acquired during the DPhil have also been very useful, and I have continued to collaborate with many of those people and to turn to them for various sorts of assistance and advice.

What do you think has been of most value to you in undertaking a DPhil at Oxford?

The incredible number and variety of talented people I got a chance to interact with and learn from.

How do you think you benefited from being part of a cohort?

I would say I've benefited in all of those ways. With the DTC cohort, one of the biggest benefits was just the opportunity to interact with people from such a diverse range of backgrounds, which naturally meant that one was learning a lot. It has certainly been a big factor in my being able to get into cross-disciplinary research and being able to have productive interactions with people from a wide range of academic disciplines, even in my current career. I have also continued to collaborate to some extent with some people from these cohorts, especially my supervisor and his group.

What would you say to someone who was considering doing a DPhil at the DTC?

The DTC is a great model for interdisciplinary education and research. It's a place where you learn by doing, by intensively immersing yourself in one subject at a time, by talking to and working with people (whether peers, lecturers, or tutors) who approach the problem of understanding life from a great diversity of perspectives. It's a place which helps you to really broaden your horizons, enabling you to communicate and exchange ideas with people from many academic disciplines. So whether you're a biologist, mathematician, engineer, computer scientist, physicist, chemist, or medical doctor: if you're interested in being at the cutting-edge of cross-disciplinary life sciences research, and working with a great bunch of people on cool problems, you could hardly do better than joining the DTC.