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Testimonials & The Student Experience

Testimonial by Fergus Wallace Anderson

Having completed my A levels I came to Manchester in 2008 to study Sustainable Development (BSc Hons) at Manchester Metropolitan University. I remember from a very early point becoming especially interested in the challenge that climate change poses for society and the issues associated with this such as the management of carbon emissions and the need of society to adapt to the implications of a changing climate.

My initial introduction to CATE and the work they do came through Dr Paul Hooper and Professor Callum Thomas with whom I decided I would like to conduct my final year project. It was not only the significant and specific challenge, nor the role of the industry in the modern socio-economy that sparked my interest in aviation and sustainability, but rather the passion and innovation with which both tutors, as well as the rest of those working within CATE, have for the air transport industry and for making real contributions to addressing the sustainability challenges specific to the industry. This affirmed my choice to enrol on the Sustainable Aviation MSc ran by CATE and MMU.

It has now been 2-3 years that I have been working closely with Callum, Paul and others in CATE. Through this I have learnt of CATE’s substantial achievements, whilst it has given me the opportunity to develop my understanding of the range of sustainability issues related to air transport and to develop ways through which could be addressed, as well as considerable opportunities to meet and establish networks with other academics and industry members from throughout the aviation sector. My current project at CATE and in conjunction with Manchester Airports Group focuses on finding opportunities for carbon reductions within the airport supply chain.

My experience at CATE has confirmed my desire to pursue a career within the air transport industry which focuses on the challenge of achieving sustainability. I believe the skills and knowledge I have developed through the MSc and working with CATE has set me in good stead for this, but the ongoing support of CATE has been invaluable; this has resulted in a promising employment opportunity with a sustainability consultancy, for which I cannot thank Callum and all CATE enough. Should this materialise I would hope to maintain my relationship with CATE, establishing this link between the company, CATE and MMU.


Testimonial by  Jacqueline Carter

I developed an interest in environmental topics when I was growing up, particularly in wildlife conservation.  I also became interested in climate change as increased awareness of this issue started to grow.  Around five years ago, I decided to make a career change from working in IT to working in the environment sector.  After volunteering to gain some experience, I secured a post in the Environmental Business Services Team at Groundwork Manchester, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford.  To develop my career and gain further environmental knowledge, I decided to undertake a part-time Masters in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development at MMU.  The flexibility of the MMU MSc course allowed me to study part-time whilst I continued working at Groundwork.

In the first two years on my MSc, I studied topics such as waste management, air quality, aviation and climate change and environmental management for businesses.  My third year was devoted to a final year project, which would form the basis of my MSc dissertation.  As I had studied Physics for my BSc and worked in IT, I was interested in a project with the climate modelling team in CATE.  I was keen to carry out research in this area as it would involve environmental science, physics and computing, combining my interests and previous experience.  I was pleased to be offered a project investigating the effects of aircraft propulsion efficiency and distance travelled by aircraft on the formation of contrails.  My MSc dissertation was entitled “Use of Flight Track Data for Aircraft Distance and Propulsion Efficiency Calculations”.  Calculations of contrail coverage from aircraft are often made by assuming that aircraft travel along great circle routes and my project investigated the effects of using actual flight track data to calculate total distance travelled and propulsion efficiency.  I used the distance and propulsion efficiency calculations to run the Contrail Modelling and Analysis model (COMA), which was developed at MMU.  From my investigations of flights crossing the North Atlantic Flight Corridor (NAFC) I concluded that contrail coverage is currently underestimated when it is assumed that aircraft travel great circle routes.

I completed my MSc in October 2011 and was able to secure a post as a Research Assistant in the CATE team following completion of my dissertation.  This has given me the opportunity to continue working in climate change research relating to aviation.