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CARES

 

My research internship experience at CARES in Singapore, Yehia Amar reports

"I strongly recommend the internship scheme for students interested in the research scope within CARES. The program has enriched my PhD experience and my research career. I am grateful to my colleagues in Singapore and Cambridge for their support during this project."

Part of my PhD project at Cambridge requires the gathering of reliable and reproducible data for my chemical reaction case study. The overall project aim is to develop an optimisation and discovery framework for complex chemical systems. This brings together machine learning, as well as theoretical chemistry, and experimental data-gathering, and it neighbours some of the research already underway in other IRPs at CARES. Given the temporary disruption of experimental research at CEB in Cambridge, in light of the building move this summer, this 3-month internship opportunity at CARES presented an excellent opportunity for me to continue my research.

I was impressed at how well-equipped, and well-managed, the CARES lab was, and I was fortunate to have contacts there to help prepare my experimental kit for my arrival. My research was mainly in the High Pressure Catalysis facility in IRP1, where I used a new autoclave reactor system for my asymmetric hydrogenation reactions. For analysis of my results, I used a new Agilent High Performance Liquid Chromatography system equipped with a chiral column. I completed the experimental program in June, and we have now procured the same reactor system in Cambridge, to continue this research. Given the independent nature of my program, as well as the short time scale, and the new equipment, I learned to plan and set up independent research, execute experiments diligently in a short period, present it to my peers, and document for future publication.

During my time in Singapore, I also managed to squeeze in some other activities; I explored the majestic wildlife at the Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park, went diving in the nearby island of Bintan, where I became an SSI-certified Open Water Diver, completed The Performance Series half-marathon race, and reunited with Singaporean friends from my undergraduate years. I was particularly fond of the array of impressive food in Singapore’s hawker centres, and the well-maintained MRT system. As there are so many further things to see and do in Singapore, I did not manage to visit everything on my list, so I hope to have the chance to return again!

I strongly recommend the internship scheme for students interested in the research scope within CARES. The program has enriched my PhD experience and my research career. I am grateful to my colleagues in Singapore and Cambridge for their support during this project.