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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Award-winning student graduates having secured PhD funding to help further his research

Queen’s Graduate, Reece Mills

Queen’s graduate, Reece Mills

Reece Mills graduated this week with a Master's in Marine Biology with Professional Studies having secured funding for a PhD.

Reece, from Larne, graduates from Queen's University Belfast having completed a professional studies year working with both the Agri-Food and Bioscience Institute (AFBI) and Marine Environmental Consultancy, FjordStrong.

Commenting on his professional studies experience, the School of Biological Sciences Reece said:

"The time I spent at Fjord Strong, which is a commercial spinout from Queen's, was particularly influential for later projects / took on at the University and for that I am very grateful.

"During my time with FjordStrong, I have worked on various projects, many of which involved gaining hands on experience working at sea, deploying and retrieving a range of survey equipment. The highlight, however, would have to be the time I spent on a project in Orkney, Scotland surveying for potential egg laying sites of the critically endangered Flapper Skate fish.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time with AFBI and with Fjord Strong, so I was delighted when the team at Fjord Strong offered me a more permanent position with them once I had completed my professional studies placement."

During his time at Queen's, Reece has been the recipient of several awards that recognise the impact of his student projects. In 2023, he was awarded the Dai Roberts Memorial Medal for his Honours Project on Stereo-Baited Remote Underwater Video Systems and most recently received The Royal Society of Biology Advanced Accreditation Award for an MSci thesis.

Looking ahead, Reece is thrilled to have secured funding for a PhD which he will take up later this year.

Having been successful in the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Postgraduate Studentship Competition 2024, Reece's PhD research will build on his experience at FjordStrong and his undergraduate and master's research projects.

When speaking of his time at Queen's, Reece said:

"I am extremely grateful to both my supervisors, Drs Jonathan Houghton and Patrick Collins, for their continued support and guidance throughout my degree.

Their enthusiasm and passion for marine science, conveyed in lectures and meetings, not only made the learning process enjoyable and engaging, but also further inspired me to pursue a career in marine research.

"Many thanks should also go to Ruairi Gallagher, CEO and Ecological Consultant at Fjord Strong for having me onboard and providing me with the opportunity to gain such invaluable experience in marine surveying and research.”


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