A Danish perspective of being a PhD student in Foulum
Uffe Krogh is a living proof that the course of life may be a result of coincidences. He thought that he was going to be a farmer, but now he is on the threshold of a scientist career at Aarhus University, De-partment of Animal Science. After his PhD defence on 1 March 2017, he got employed as a scientific as-sistant in the department until May after which date a postdoc position may be a possibility. We caught Uffe for some quick questions regarding his experiences as a PhD student.
What was your background?
My plan was to become a farmer and to get my own farm, and I therefore have an agricultural education. However, I learned that the fast development in agriculture made it difficult to settle down as a farmer, and that life as a farmer is a matter of being a business manager more than being a farmer. I therefore decided to study and to combine my interests in biology and agriculture which is possible when studying agrobiology at Aarhus University. Peter Kappel Theil was my supervisor when I wrote my bachelor's thesis. We work well together and in cooperation with him, I decided that the 4 year PhD education was a good solution for me. After my bachelor's exam, I started the PhD education and during this, I exchanged my qualification exam for a master's degree. I March 2017, the PhD education was a reality.
What was it like to be a PhD student in Foulum?
It has been very interesting to be a PhD student with a lot of professional challenges and the possibility of performing interesting catheter experiments with sows. Performing experiments and seeing the subsequent results and discussing them with my supervisors is a fun way to work. During the education, I spent half a year at Michigan State University in the US where I participated in an amino experiment with sows. I had many discussions with my American "supervisor" in relation to my PhD project and in general in relation to the subject.
I was a student member of the department's PhD committee for a couple of years. This was very profitable, and it was a good way to get to know the university system, the decision makers etc. In my experience, the opinions of the student members count, and it is in fact possible to change things.
It has been very educational to attend many of the PhD defences taking place in Foulum. This was a good way to learn how it is done and to prepare for my own defence.
What was your PhD project about and what was your motivation for choosing this subject?
In my PhD project, I examined sows in the last part of pregnancy and during the lactating period. Today, sows give birth to may pigs, and thus there is a higher need for nutrients for the sow's udder and the production of both raw milk and milk. Among other things, I examined what happens to the udder and the sow in the last part of pregnancy and during the lactating period as well as the possibility of improving things through feeding.
I chose this subject because I had already worked with lactating sows in my bachelor project, so when my supervisor offered me the opportunity to work even more with this subject I accepted.
If you are interested in learning more about Uffe's experiences of studying in the Department of Animal Science, please contact him. You can find an article (in Danish) based on Uffe's PhD thesis here.
Uffe Krogh, Department of Animal Science, Aarhus University
Tel: +45 8715 7967