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PhD journeys at Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health



PhD: a road to success but make sure you stop for fun along the way!

By Emma J Butcher, on 8 April 2019

Authored by Melanie Kölbel, a 2nd year PhD student at the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOSICH) researching sleep and sickle cell anaemia. Loves outdoor activities and travel. Lead organiser for the GOSICH Postgraduate Society.

Tweet the GOSICH Postgraduate Society at: @ICH_PGsociety

 What does PhD REALLY stand for and why should you (the GOSICH PhD students) follow the Postgraduate society?


While you are going through the Promised hell Down-the-road and Patiently hoping for your last Degree, why not join the Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health (GOSICH) Postgraduate Society (PGS)? They will help you through the journey, which we all know is Pretty hard to Do, because PGS also stands for PhD Group Support.


The PGS was formed in 2008/09 by a few enthusiastic students – Pascal Odent, Kirsty Little, and Suzanne Bartington. It was set up because students felt isolated from each other within GOSICH and wanted a social club that would allow them to come together to share academic and social interests. Since then, the Society has been very successful, offering events such as academic talks, pub quizzes, BBQs, a film club, ice skating at Somerset House, and a Mindfulness Workshop.

Our events help you form friendships, find long-term collaborations, and get advice (research-related or otherwise) to make the rocky road during your PhD smoother and more enjoyable. This will improve your work-life balance and support your mental health, which is needed as a recent study estimated that 32% of PhD students experience depression – much higher than the prevalence in the general population (Levecque et al., 2017).

We have just created a monthly Writing Club to encourage goal setting and productivity, starting on the 5th of April from 1-3pm.  Also upcoming, we will have a summer picnic in the park with lots of free fresh food and drinks for students to socialise, connect, and enjoy time away from their usual office work.

Students are encouraged to suggest and organise event ideas, so get in touch by Facebook or Instagram (or any other method) if this article has inspired you. We are happy to bring in speakers from outside UCL or would love to hear about our own students’ work, so bring along a presentation to practice your speaking skills. Previously, we have organised successful events with a GOSICH early career researcher group, including a student networking event and a recent book presentation by Mary McClarey on how her nursing and research skills helped her to write a successful novel.

We know that the journey of a PhD can be challenging and it is therefore very important to us that students feel connected and informed at ICH. Please get in contact if you have any questions during your time here at ICH. Come forward if you have an idea about a new educational or social event or if you would like to meet new people.

Most of all, remember that PhD also stands for Passionate, hard-working, Dedication. Keep up the good work!

You can follow the GOSICH Postgraduate society on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter:


Reference: Levecque, K., Anseel, F., De Beuckelaer, A., Van der Heyden, J., & Gisle, L. (2017). Work organization and mental health problems in PhD students. Research Policy46(4), 868-879.