Riaz Agha has been awarded several scholarships during his time at the University of Oxford: firstly, to fund his studies for a part time MSc in Surgical Science and Practice at Kellogg College, and then to allow him to study at Balliol College for a doctorate. Riaz explains here how the funding he has received has improved his practice and brought benefits to patients.
As a trainee in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, I was delighted to be awarded two scholarships to study for the new part time MSc in Surgical Science and Practice at Oxford University. Gaining such financial assistance was crucial to me being able to complete the MSc without enduring excessive financial hardship. The MSc itself was a fantastic programme and allowed me to acquire knowledge and skills that will be useful for the rest of my career. For example in areas such as; evidence based healthcare, how to be a medical educator, human factors, teamwork and communication, leadership and management, quality and systems analysis and surgical technology and robotics.
It was during my MSc that I applied for a doctorate and was extremely lucky to be awarded a Clarendon Scholarship that would cover all my fees (including those of Balliol College!). Scholarship funding has made me a more effective and well-rounded surgical trainee and is bringing real benefits to patients. My development has become more holistic and crucially I have the opportunity to develop my clinical and academic careers congruently. This has led to rich and unique synergies and collaborations with others internationally, on projects that really engage me, and link in with my clinical development.
Surgical trainees should definitely consider Oxford as a premier place to do a higher degree, develop themselves and their network further.