Q1. Why did you apply for the Lab programme?
Applying to become an active Fellow of the SDG Impact Lab appealed to me in three distinct ways: First, I perceived the programme's content to perfectly complement my PhD studies as it allowed me to gain practical knowledge about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Second, the founding principle of the Oxford SDG Impact Lab of bridging the ‘gap’ between academic research and industry to generate real-world impact resonated with me from the first moment I learned about it. Lastly, I saw the program as the ideal platform to interact and closely work with highly ambitious, like-minded fellows, with diverse sets of academic backgrounds and skill sets, who have all joined the program for one common reason: seeking personal growth through mutual learning.
Q2. How would you describe your experience?
The SDG Lab journey has been truly remarkable for me. During the seven-month fellowship, I had the opportunity to learn more about the complexity of the 17 SDGs from the ground up. I felt challenged in crafting and designing a viable project plan that breaks down the overarching SDGs into measurable and achievable outcomes within the time and resources available. In retrospect, I can proudly say that my team and I successfully overcame this challenge with the guidance of our mentor and our innovative and adaptive working style. Overall, the lab experience has strengthened my leadership skills to work effectively in teams, my communication and presentation skills to clearly convey the results of our work, and my project management skills to independently plan and execute work packages.
Q3. What was the highlight of the Lab experience for you?
Definitely my team! Working with William and Justin has been an extraordinary experience. We managed to establish an environment of open communication and mutual trust and support that allowed us to excel at the tasks we agreed upon. Our skills complemented each other in a way that let us achieve the set goals in a very efficient and time-saving manner. Going forward, we are very open to exploring further opportunities for collaboration, with the possibility of starting our own venture together to address even more SDG-related challenges based on an entrepreneurial, action-oriented approach.
Q4. What has been the value of undertaking the Lab programme?
I would describe the added value of having participated in the Oxford SDG Impact Lab as a ‘springboard of opportunities’. The programme itself gave me the opportunity to obtain practical training related to the SDGs from one of the world’s leading academic institutions, at Oxford University, which will certainly enhance my credibility and employability prospects to pursue a career in the broader realm of sustainable development upon completion of my PhD. Moreover, as an active Lab Fellow, I have had direct exposure to very senior people in executive roles who are in a position to initiate change to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs. I am confident that through my active participation in the SDG Lab, more opportunities will arise in the future, allowing me to form new partnerships (SDG #17) to collectively make a difference for a more equitable and sustainable world.
Anything else you would really like to add?
Participating in the SDG Lab would not have been possible without the trusted support of my PhD supervisor, Charlie Wilson, and my wider research team, iDODDLE, for which I am grateful in many ways. In addition, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Lab team for spearheading the initiative and ensuring that the program runs smoothly and continues to improve year after year. Finally, a genuine thank you to all of the other fellows with whom I have had the chance to interact and form close friendships. I am incredibly excited to see where your career paths will take you.