Careers, Guest blog

Guest Blog – Sharing my MSc Journey

First blog by Morgan Daniel

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Graph to demonstrate the proportion of researchers working in different fields

Source: Keeping pace: Progress in dementia research capacity (2017) by Alzheimer’s Research UK

Over the next 12 months, NIHR Dementia Researcher is following Morgan Daniel as she studies for her Dementia MSc at University College London. Morgan will be blogging, podcasting and occasionally taking over our twitter feed to share news from her studies and life, documenting the hi’s and lows’, with tips for others who are considering post-graduate studies. 

In 2017 there were approximately 26,300 cancer researchers in the UK, compared to 6,100 working in dementia (link to statistics from Alzheimer’s Research UK website) – further funding is required, but also the people to make use of funding. One of the core aims of NIHR Dementia Researcher is to inspire people to consider working in dementia research, we hope that through this partnership, we can support others to know that they are not alone, inspire students to complete their studies and encourage young people to consider dementia research as their career.

This is Morgan’s first blog, enjoy reading, and then head over to our podcast feed, and get to know her a little better in our first meeting.

Adam Smith

My name is Morgan. I’m a postgraduate student at University College London (UCL) and I’ll be documenting my experience of studying MSc Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research (Neuroscience) for Dementia Researcher over the coming year.

I’m originally from Loch Lomond, less than an hour outside of Glasgow, in Scotland. I studied BSc (Hons) Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow, so moving to a city as large and populated as London will come as a huge change.

Morgan on her first visit to Queens Square

I suppose I have always known that I wanted to become a “scientist”, and I actually identified biology as my future field at a very young age. I excelled in biology in school and was always particularly keen on neuroscience, but dementia, and in particular Alzheimer’s disease, were my clear passion from the beginning of my scientific education. Like many, I have witnessed the effects of dementia first hand. The devastating effect that dementia can have upon a patient and their loved ones inspired me to work towards a career in dementia research. I became fascinated by the biological causes of dementia and the physical manifestations of the disease, and was shocked by the lack of support available for research into this illness. I therefore decided that I wanted to contribute in some way to bettering the lives of those affected by dementia.

It is this focus on dementia research that brought me to UCL. Across the world, UCL is renowned for providing such a high standard of neuroscience research and is also home to the first ever neurological hospital, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, providing excellent research and clinical based education (see picture attached – my mum took the classic “first day at school” photos). Having the opportunity to study at Queen’s Square, the Institute of Neurology, will provide me with excellent networking opportunities and will hopefully be the immersive research environment that I felt I would need during my postgraduate education.

Having found this course in my second year of undergraduate study, I quickly realised that it was the only one of its kind in the UK. The content is tailored my exact interests and I can’t wait to begin my first modules. I am looking forward to working with and getting to know my peers, while socially distanced for the time being, and I hope to make the most out of my time at UCL. It is such a diverse and varied institution, with students and staff from across the globe contributing to it’s culture, and I will try my best to be as involved as I possibly can.

While moving to London and starting at a new institution is extremely daunting, I can’t wait to settle in and begin to experience all that London has to offer – only this time as a local rather than a tourist. Scotland will always be my home and as they say, you can take the girl out of Glasgow but you can’t take Glasgow out of the girl. That being said, I am so ready for this new chapter in my life. Having worked so hard to reach this initial stage in my research career, I’m not going to let a global pandemic ruin the excitement.

Until next time,



Morgan Daniel

Morgan Daniel is an MSc Student at University College London, studying the along the ‘Dementia: Causes, Treatments and Research (Neuroscience)’ track, Originally from Loch Lomond, Morgan completed her BSc in Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Glasgow in 2019, and she hates all forms of potato!  Morgan is sharing her MSc journey during 2020 / 2021 with NIHR Dementia Researcher.

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