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Husband and wife celebrate PhD success in DEV

Drs Juliet and Tony Colman had to miss the official DEV congregation on 23rd July as Juliet was giving a seminar the next day in Cape Town. Their return however marked an extra special occasion - as the pair received their PhD's together.


It's an unusual scenario for a married couple to work towards their PhDs at the same time, but Dr Tony Colman (right) hopes their experience will encourage other couples in the future to take a similar route.

It was DEV's excellent reputation in gender and development that initially brought Juliet (below, left) to the UEA - a decision followed by husband Tony who had previously been taught by Frank Thistlethwaite, the first Vice-Chancellor of the UEA. Tony first completed his Masters in DEV with a dissertation on Botswana energy policy, before researching their water reforms for his PhD. Juliet joined Tony in Botswana, researching the social and cultural aspects of consumption following up on the work of Isaac Schapera in Mochudi. "The favourite part of the courses for both of us was the fieldwork on site for 10 months", Tony explained, "but we also enjoyed (and still do) the camaraderie of DEV and support of colleagues". 

Juliet believes studying a PhD alongside Tony helped both of them with their work, in terms of both ideas and motivation. "We think we both know each other's PhD thesis really well and we each kept the other going. There was a bit of rivalry on who had the viva first and we each play acted the role of the external examiners". They offered some advice to student's thinking about studying a PhD in DEV. "Choose your topic carefully. You will be living with it for at least 3-4 years and it must be for you a truly important research question that needs to be answered".

Following their PhD achievements, Tony and Juliet will continue to work in New York at the Earth Institute on the SDSN and at the New School, whilst also planning to build on their connections in Southern Africa. The pair also hope to remain as researchers linked to DEV.



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