In a field in which we experience things like climate skepticism and a rising need for clear, transparent and quality research and analysis, it feels like scientific rigour and academic experience are often essentials.
As someone with a background in physics (Master’s), now with 3 years experience working with climate data and applying data science day in, day out for climate model outputs (CORDEX, UKCP18, for example), I’m wondering where a PhD comes in to my development.
I want to learn the necessary essential foundation of climate science (with a healthy dose of qualifications) that establish me comfortably in the space while giving me confidence to apply for larger positions, if that’s possible (I’m currently acting Lead Environmental and Climate Data Scientist for a small team).
What’s not clear is how much of a barrier a PhD is to developing further - without one, would I be limited to data sciencey roles instead? But also, how do people tend to balance a drive for a career in the city with a PhD, as I recognise the financial support for one doesn’t typically come near traditional salaries, not to mention it’s length to complete. Any feedback or experience from people here would likely be really valuable to hear about!
If you’re working in climate science, does it feel necessary to get a PhD? If you don’t, will it always hold you back in more senior positions, without that authority?
Many thanks for reading