Bristol Cohort 5 student Daniel Power has just returned from an invaluable research visit to Columbia University in New York, USA, where he was hosted by Professor Pierre Gentine in the Department of Earth and Environmental Engineering.

Dan’s PhD is focused on “Increasing our understanding of land-atmosphere interactions using Cosmic-Ray Neutron Soil Moisture Sensors and Machine Learning”. Dan relished his time with the Gentine Lab Group, taking the opportunity to participate in weekly meetings, present his research, utilise unpublished data and collaborate with other researchers. Working with the cross disciplinary group demonstrated that there are many ways to approach machine learning research in the earth sciences and that the choice of method – and pitfalls – are often universal. Dan is already working on new academic papers as a result of his visit, and he plans to present at AGU in late 2022.

Dan assessed his research visit as a “great experience”, which energised him after the challenges of working on a PhD during a pandemic. From a personal perspective Dan made new friends and connections and took every opportunity to explore New York City and neighbouring areas during his free time.

Dan considers that his research visit has benefited both the University of Bristol and Columbia University and he envisages that collaborations between the two institutions will continue.