Balsher Singh Sidhu

Reorienting rainfed agriculture: Increasing resilience to climate variability through optimized irrigation strategies
Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

At the risk of sounding banal, I believe that graduate school is the best place to satiate your curiosity without any limitations. I have always had an interest in the food-water nexus in developing countries, and a doctoral degree was the perfect path to learn about and contribute towards the growing knowledge in this field.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

UBC is routinely ranked among the global leaders in environmental research. There is an active and diverse community engaged in answering questions of global significance, and my research interests aligned really well with ongoing research at UBC in general and my department in particular. Also, I would be lying if I say that the weather of BC did not influence my decision to come here.

What is it specifically, that your program offers, that attracted you?

The interdisciplinary approach that the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability (IRES) adopts to tackling problems related to climate and resources was the deal sealer for me. The questions my research hopes to answer need multi-pronged analyses from both natural and social sciences perspective, and there is no dearth of such experts for guidance at the IRES.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

Even though I have been here for more than a year now, UBC continues to surprise me with the depth and breadth of groundbreaking research being conducted here in the field of environment and sustainability.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

In the summers, you will find me at the beach with a book. In the winters, you will find me in a warm and cozy coffee shop, again with a book.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Graduate school, although daunting at times, is the perfect place to search for and engage in things you are really passionate about. There are countless opportunities around, all you have to do is be proactive and take advantage of all the resources at your disposal. Don’t hesitate to ask for advice or assistance; people are usually more helpful than you think. And don’t be discouraged by small failures along the way; in the end, it will all be worth the effort.


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