Rokas Elijosius

Name: Rokas Elijošius

Hometown: Karmėlava, Lithuania

Extracurricular interests: Badminton, choir, reading

Postgraduate degree: PhD in Physics

Undergraduate life at Catz

"Back in school I participated in the International Chemistry Olympiad, during which I had a chance to meet other pupils thinking of applying to world-class universities. Among them Cambridge was quite the popular choice, and indeed Catz was mentioned particularly often – in no small part thanks to Dr Peter Wothers who at the time was leading the UK team at the Olympiad. This swayed me to apply to Catz and luckily, I got an offer to study Natural Sciences here back in 2017.

"I have really enjoyed my time at Catz, I will especially fondly remember my supervisors who always indulged me in going slightly off-topic during our supervisions."

Postgraduate life at Catz

“Since starting my MPhil and now during my PhD I have been living in private accommodation; however, I still have the pleasure of visiting the College's Island site every so often. Funnily enough, I have been able to participate in Catz’s badminton team training more regularly as a postgraduate than an undergraduate. I think the reason is that the level of work for postgraduate courses seems much more sustained compared to the intensity of an undergraduate course over 8-week terms in Cambridge."

Postgraduate studies

“Synthetic chemistry has advanced massively in the last few decades – both in terms of complexity of molecules we can make, and in terms of understanding in how we make them. However, outside academic labs it is often still easier to just screen hundreds of conditions to try and make a particular reaction ‘’go’’. In my research, I try to combine the physical understanding of chemistry we have with experimental data using machine learning. The greatest challenge here is coming up with ways to represent chemical systems while retaining certain intrinsic physical properties. If successful, such data-driven models have the potential to significantly speed up reaction screening as well to reduce the overall waste generated by the chemical industry.

The Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme

“I am really glad to have been selected for the Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme. In addition to being one of the most generous scholarships in the UK, both for maintenance and for personal research allowance, I found the programme very considerate of its scholars' time, with very little administrative overhead."

Advice for undergraduates thinking of applying for postgraduate studies

“From my own experience, it is important to recognise that undergraduate and postgraduate study is fundamentally different. At undergraduate level, the scope is fixed: you know the number of exams you will have at the end of the year and roughly the topics you must understand. As a postgraduate now, the scope of a project if often open-ended and one can explore tens of different approaches to solve a problem before something starts to click."