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Has anyone's lab been closed again due to the pandemic?
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I am still waiting to get lab access after the last lockdown. Lab access has always been dependent on who your supervisor is where I am, there has never been any fairness, this situation is just exacerbating existing problems.

Intellectual Property issue?
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I applied for an advertised PhD which I am in the final year of. A postdoc also applied for an advertised 2 yr fellowship on this topic, the advert wording was pretty much the same. The postdoc started 6 months after me worked separately and didn't collaborate with me and I needed to make some changes to my PhD due to them which I wasn't happy with and which caused me ongoing issues with my project. Now this postdoc has an academic role at another University and is advertising pretty much the same PhD as I applied for, to work with/ for her. This came up when I was doing a search for postdoc jobs related to my work. This postdoc treated me pretty badly. They sent me emails at midnight saying they needed the lab space the next day so I couldn't then do my planned work and if I was using equipment they wanted to use I had to stop my experiment. When I raised concerns about this no one cared. The lab is small so space had to be shared, there is no individual bench space. They made me very nervous about using the lab. Her manner was very abrupt and bossy. I was also bullied by the person who supervised her and if she supervises like them I am very concerned for the person she ends up supervising. It was a very toxic environment. Despite changes made to my PhD the PhD she is advertising is very similar and overlapping with my own and includes work that was originally planned to be part of my PhD. I considered emailing the director/ PI of that group with a copy of the PhD advertisement I applied for and details of what I am doing. I would want to share my experience to help ensure someone else isn't treated like me, but would hold back from doing that. Then I thought it may just be deemed inappropriate and go against me. So often I feel silenced and isolated. It helps a little maybe to share my frustration about this situation. Bullying seems to be quite prevalent in academia, at least in the field I work in, as victims feel silenced and systems in place make situations worse and protect the bullies.

Have you been back to the lab and are you working in shifts?
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Rewt - have you had any information at all about when you might be able to get back into labs? I'm assuming you are at one of the Welsh universities. I'm out of the country at the moment working on my PhD, where I can use lab facilities, but will be returning to study at Cardiff Uni in August, or most likely working from home in England. The VC's communications outline plans for undergrads but the postgrad info via the intranet doesn't reveal much. There is some vague information about a phased approach to buildings access but that is it.

1st Year PhD - Removed from Project
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These environments can be difficult. It seems someone may have taken against you and if you fight this you will likely face more difficulties even if you do win and can resume study. From what you say the lab sounds toxic. While looking for postdocs I have seen a number of PhD opportunities advertised with July application deadlines. If you look now you might find a new project for an October start.

COVID Funded Extensions
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I agree with the points above. The Russell Group University I am at would likely just dismiss such a dispute, and do so a year after raising it. My Engineering PhD is experimental and I am in the same situation as Rewt, although his sounds slightly better in that there may be a possibility of funding an extension. My stipend is associated with an EPSRC 'programme' grant. EPSRC 'training' grants fund PhD stipends and those who have them will get funded extensions. Programme grants shouldn't fund PhD students in any way although some associated with such grants manage to get conference funding.

COVID Funded Extensions
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My stipend is funded directly by a RG University and 3-6 month extensions due to COVID-19 are unfunded. UKRI funded students are getting funded extensions as far as I am aware.

How hard is it to find a postdoc?
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Try not to get disheartened. When I mention postdocs I don't get encouragement, industry jobs are instead mentioned and actively promoted to PhD students. Partly this is due to there being far more PhDs than postdocs. I haven't been supported as much as I would have liked, my references come from co-supervisors.

Getting your research published is important if you want to do a postdoc, so your supervisor may have a point about the writing.

Postdoc applications
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I also had to provide an academic CV and 1 page statement of interest, which from research online is a bit different to a cover letter. All in all seems the bar was set high at the application stage for this one.

Postdoc applications
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For this particular university it was the only Postdoc advertised that required papers to be submitted as part of the application, others just required that the CV contained a list of publications. I have only been looking for a few months but I have not seen this on any other advert I have looked at. This was listed as a compulsory requirement for the application process for this particular post. This post is directly relevant to my PhD research and the first I have seen which has been.

Postdoc applications
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Hi,

I am aiming to have my thesis submitted by the end of this September. I started looking into postdocs recently and came across one that suited my skills and interests very well. As part of the application process 3 papers were required to be submitted. I emailed about this beforehand as to meet that requirement one paper would be at draft stage, I was advised that would be okay. The deadline for submission was 10 days ago and I haven't heard anything. As this is the first postdoc application I don't know what to expect. For those who have had experiences of applying for and securing these roles what have you encountered in respect of timescales?

I will also add that due to having encountered bullying in the first year of my PhD, and the University I am at not resolving issues or supporting me in any way, I have had to work very independently on my PhD with a little external support.

Informal First Meeting
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Sounds positive. I recall having to get in contact to arrange my first meeting, with the supervisory team. This was quite formal and uncomfortable. I recall asking questions, trying to anyway, and finding things were not as I had expected in any way. I don't think my experience was normal though, it sounds like you don't have anything to worry about.
Your meeting sounds like it will be quite relaxed and its just to help you to get settled. Maybe ask about how the supervision will be organised, frequency of meetings etc.

Have you seen anyone who got a postdoc job without a first-authored paper?
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Congrats. How far are you from completing your PhD? I have been thinking about when the best time to start applying for postdocs will be (also in science). I probably wouldn't be able to start a position until next Jan.

Advice on what to do about academic situation that ended badly?
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You had a lack of support in your RA role and were dealing with a complex situation you should not have been left alone to deal with like it sounds you were. This put you under a lot of stress. It clearly still affects you how things were left with your Department so I would advise getting in contact as I think this would help you. I would disagree with putting statements like 'I do not expect a reply' however. Personally I would start with saying what you are doing know, hopefully you are getting on well with the PhD and could mention that. Try to keep the message positive and not too long. Then mention your previous RA role and briefly the issues you were dealing with without naming the student concerned and impact this had on you, and then apologise for what you had said. I'm pretty sure they will understand. I emphasise keeping this brief as they are more likely to then read and reply to the message.

PhD with 2:2 MChem possible?
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Some places I applied to informed me that with an undergrad masters like you have I was at a disadvantage compared to those with an MSc, and I had a 2:1 from a RG university. Your chances are very low I'm afraid. I think you would likely need to complete an MSc or MRes and get a good result to have a chance of getting accepted onto a fully funded PhD anywhere. There were PhDs which I could not be considered for at RG Universities as they specified that a 1st is required, generally its at least a high 2:1 and I speak from experience of applying for science PhDs at RG Universities. While you may be capable of doing a PhD requirements can be set by the funder in respect of the degree result you must have achieved and generally its so competitive to get a fully funded place that with a 2:2 you just wouldn't make the shortlist.

Funding query
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I've experienced some pretty horrendous bullying since starting my PhD. I have persevered and I am now nearing the end of my second year. I have presented work at two conferences through which I've published and a workshop, I won grants/ awards to attend all of these. I have first authored all of my publications, a collaborator looked through these and made comments and was named as second supervisor but its mostly my own work. My project is part of a £5M grant yet all requests for funding from this have been denied or just ignored, the PI is only giving funding to the students he supervises it seems where I am based. Hence why I've had to apply for external funding to present my work. I'm the only one he doesn't supervise. There are other Universities who are part of this project and the PhD students at those all get funding from the grant to attend conferences and support their research. I subsidise my lab work with personal funds. Recently 18 researchers were sent to one international conference (mostly staff). They still however include my deliverables in reporting for this grant. This doesn't seem right but I've not been able to do anything about this, any advice?