[PORTRAIT] Rulan Verma, PhD student at CNRS Rhône Auvergne

On The October 1, 2023

Rulan Verma, PhD student at the IRCELyon laboratory shares with us her experience with Espace Ulys!

 Why did you choose the Université de Lyon for your research?

I worked as a research fellow at IIT Delhi, India on the topic of urban air pollution. I wanted to expand my knowledge on the topic of urban air pollution as it is a big issue in many Indian cities. I saw an advertisement from Dr Matthieu Riva for a PhD position at IRCELYON. This lab has several state-of-the-art instruments, some of the best in the world, my supervisors Dr Matthieu Riva and Dr Christian George are well renowned in this field and therefore this laboratory was the perfect fit for expanding my knowledge.
The lab is involved in several collaborations and knowledge exchanges which provides the perfect ground for doing research. For example, I got the opportunity to attend a summer school in Hyytiälä Forestry Field Station Finland, where we were able to study atmospheric and climate research at one of the world-renowned centers and visited SMEAR- II station, so this was a very good collaborative opportunity.

How did you know about Espace Ulys and why did you ask for our services?

I got selected for the PhD in May 2020, receiving the funding in July 2020 to commence from October 2020, and everything was in some sort of lockdown [Covid-19 pandemic]. My supervisors in France are the ones who told me to contact Espace Ulys because I got my contract quite late so Espace Ulys helped me with getting the right kind of visa and accommodation. I don’t think I could’ve managed to do the procedure from home [in New Delhi]. Espace Ulys was really proactive in responding to me.

In your opinion, what are the advantages for international PhD students and researchers to registering to Espace Ulys?

I personally got help with everything, from making appointments with the prefecture for my residence permit [in 2020 the application was not yet online] to finding accommodation. Settling in a new city, in a new country and not knowing the language can be very challenging. Espace Ulys makes that process very smooth so you can focus on your studies and research and start enjoying your life rather than getting lost in the administrative maze.

What would be your advice to new international researchers / PhD students arriving in Lyon?

Most researchers in a new city spend a lot of their time in laboratories, especially those in core sciences (like chemistry and biology). For me, it is very important to go out and enjoy the city. Plus, Lyon is a very beautiful city, there are so many activities in Lyon, which are offered to students for free by different organizations or by the university. You can also develop a new skill. For example, I now cycle everywhere because Lyon is so cycle friendly. I also learned the skill of making radio programs on Radio Anthropocène where I hosted a show titled “On the other side of the world”.

What in your opinion symbolizes Lyon?

Lyon is a city that is both old and young at the same time. That really symbolizes the city for me. Also, it’s a good size for a city; you have so much you can do and can be anywhere within a short time. It also has a lot of natural places close by like Parc de la Tête d’Or. The beauty of Lyon is that it’s old with a lot of history and has a young population so there is always something happening, especially in the summer.

Since you received funding for your thesis, what was that process like?

I received my funding through a competition at the University of Lyon, by École Urbaine de Lyon. I interviewed first with my supervisors and after getting their consent to supervise me, I developed a research proposal to apply for Doctoral contract funding grant. I gave an online interview with the jury members and finally was selected for the funding.

Photo credit - Université de Lyon