Meryem Erbilek

Electronic Engineering PhD

My supervision process has helped me to improve my personal and research skills. 

Why did you choose to study at Kent?

There are two reasons: first Kent is in the top ten universities in the UK in the field of Electronic Engineering; and second, the Image and Information Engineering research group at Kent is one of the best in the UK for research in biometric systems and security, which is the area I am most interested in.

What are you researching?

My research covers the following areas: iris segmentation and recognition; signature feature analysis and recognition; ageing effects in biometric systems – especially in iris and signature modalities; predicting soft-biometric information such as age and gender from biometrics – especially from iris images and signature samples; and analysis of differences between handwritten signatures and digital tablets. I really enjoy being part of a research group and doing the research itself.

How have you found the supervision process?

My supervision process has helped me to improve my personal and research skills. I have learnt that undertaking a PhD is not only about studying and improving science but also about improving my personal development with the power of science as well. 

How have you funded your studies?

The School of Engineering and Digital Arts (EDA) and the University gave me a full scholarship for three years to complete my PhD studies. Also, the School paid for me to attend an international conference and present my paper.

How does postgraduate study differ from undergraduate study?

I think that through your undergraduate studies you learn about your subject from experts in the field who tell you what to study and how to do it. Through your postgraduate studies, you work independently to improve your knowledge of your subject and through your research you expand the knowledge base in your subject area.

How do you think your studies at Kent will affect your employment prospects?

Through my studies, I have gained both personal and research skills. I have published several papers in international journals and at conferences. I am now employed as a research associate and work on several projects. I believe this experience has helped me to gain additional skills to those usually acquired by PhD students and think these skills will make me more employable in the future.

What does doing a further degree give you that a first degree doesn’t?

I think studying for a postgraduate degree gives you the opportunity and the freedom to discover, learn and use your skills to improve science.

What are you planning to do next?

I have completed my PhD and am working as a research associate at EDA at the moment. However, I plan to work as an academic and establish myself as an important researcher in the field of Biometrics, and to make powerful and useful contributions to science and, of course, to the world.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking about taking a research degree at Kent?

I would say: you should know that doing a PhD is not a course of study – as your undergraduate degree was – more it’s a kind of dream, aim, passion, and one of the biggest life adventures you will ever have!