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Lewis Spurgin

ame: Lewis Spurgin
Position: BBSRC Research Fellow
School: Biological Sciences
Faculty: Science

Research interests:

I’m an evolutionary biologist interested in understanding in how natural selection, in combination with other evolutionary forces, creates the extraordinary diversity we see in nature. I’m also interested in how a knowledge of evolutionary processes can be used to address important societal challenges, such as preventing spread of agricultural pests and conserving biodiversity. For my current fellowship I am investigating how insect pests adapt to high temperature, at the level of the gene, individual and population.

What appealed to you about your Fellowship?

I love the process of scientific enquiry, and a fellowship gives you a wonderful opportunity to devote a substantial chunk of time to your research. It’s been amazing to have the freedom and ability to take my own ideas, turn them into testable hypotheses, and carry out experiments to find answers. 

From a career perspective, applying for a fellowship has been important too. Securing your own independent research funding makes you an attractive prospect when Universities are hiring lecturers. UEA have a great track record of progressing their fellows into permanent academic posts.

 

“It’s been amazing to have the freedom and ability to take my own ideas, turn them into testable hypotheses, and carry out experiments to find answers."

The Future Leader Fellowship scheme appealed in particular because it’s targeted at early career researchers who are less than four years out of their PhD. While the scheme is still very, very competitive, the field is a little narrower than some of the senior fellowship schemes. The BBSRC are really supportive too – it’s been a wonderful opportunity.

How's it going so far?

Brilliantly! I have made real progress in carrying out my research and am starting to get the first results through. I’m now in the tricky analysis and writing stage. I’ve also started a small research group, and am lucky to be supervising a couple of outstanding PhD students and a Research Technician.

 

“…working at UEA has been an entirely positive experience. The academic community here is supportive, dynamic and (importantly) fun!”

What’s life at UEA like?

Although I’ve lived in other places, Norwich has felt like home ever since I first came here. It’s got the right balance between being a “proper city” while still having a community feel. And working at UEA has been an entirely positive experience. The academic community here is supportive, dynamic and (importantly) fun!

Any advice for would-be-Fellows?

Start early, and do what motivates you. And don’t be afraid to ask people here at UEA for support – they are more than happy to help. I had dedicated help with costing my fellowship application, and UEA academics reviewed my proposal and gave me a mock interview. I’m sure that the help I received from UEA was central to my application being successful.

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Lewis Spurgin

BBSRC Research Fellow, Biological Sciences

Lewis' Project

I’m an evolutionary biologist interested in understanding in how natural selection, in combination with other evolutionary forces, creates the extraordinary diversity we see in nature. I’m also interested in how a knowledge of evolutionary processes can be used to address important societal challenges, such as preventing spread of agricultural pests and conserving biodiversity. For my current fellowship I am investigating how insect pests adapt to high temperature, at the level of the gene, individual and population.