Skip to main content

Research Student Spotlight December : Thitipoom Chailert


Our spotlight on the work and lives of the next generation of water@leeds researchers.

This month we spoke to Thitipoom Chailert from the School of Civil Engineering.

PhD title: Enhancing flash flood forecasting accuracy via machine learning.

Supervisors: Professor Mark Trigg, School of Civil Engineering,  Dr Abdulrahman Altahhan and Dr Evangelos Pournaras School of Computing

Tell us a bit about yourself

I came from Chiang Rai, the northernmost city in Thailand. I had lived in various regions across the country from the north to the central and southern parts. Following my geology undergraduate degree, I entered the technical sales role in an oil and gas services company. Time passed, and though I moved to a new company, I remained in a sales position. The prospect of further education was always on my mind, and when the opportunity arose, I seized it. I pursued a master’s degree in data science in the United Kingdom, subsequently opting to advance to the PhD level.

Why did you choose University of Leeds?

I researched leading UK universities in water-related studies and found the water@leeds research group at the University of Leeds. The group has produced a lot of interesting work. Additionally, the University of Leeds welcomes many international students from all over the world and offers comprehensive support for academic and student life matters.

What is your research about?

My aim is to apply data science to the field of natural disaster management studies. Natural disasters are a big topic. Focusing on a specific calamity refines my PhD research. In Thailand, floods are a recurring major disaster, with flash floods being particularly severe, causing significant damage to both property and lives.

What did you wish you knew before starting a PhD?

For me, a PhD study is different compared to undergraduate or master’s studies. In a PhD, you have to create your own path with guidelines from your supervisors. No one truly knows how your path will go or what the finishing line looks like. Someone said the PhD journey is like riding a roller coaster where you go up on top of everything and hopelessly down out of control, sometimes slow, and sometimes fast. If you ask me what I wish I had known before starting my PhD, well, it is the importance of possessing unwavering patience and maintaining consistent effort – and of course, a solid foundation of knowledge is necessary!

More about Thitipoom's research can be found in his School of Civil Engineering profile.