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Dunham
Sunday, 19 April 2015 at 2:12pm
Sunday, 10 June 2018 at 7:25am
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page 1 of 21 recent posts

Thread: Should I quite my high paying job for a full-time PhD

posted
14-Apr-18, 08:41
by Dunham
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posted about 8 months ago
I agree with the other posts. It is quite easy to be carried away buy an interesting PhD project, but at the end of the day, you also spent a lot of time on routine tasks that are not necessarily thrilling or challenging (depending of the field of study) and that are just like any other job. One should be careful to not "romanticize" a PhD as this constant learning and exploration of new ideas. As you have a family that I assume at least partially relies on you financially, I would think hard about this. Not that you get into something that does not meet your high expectations.
First of all, I would look for other job opportunities. There are probably more challenging jobs out there that offer a good salary and the option to explore new ideas (R&D etc.). Maybe this is already enough to get you excited about your work again. Second, it is probably easy to drop out of a part-time PhD but if you are really passionate, you can probably do it. Maybe there is even a way to go full time after the first year when you have a better idea of the PhD experience. Is it possible to reduce the hours in your current job and do two things part-time? Third, many companies offer the opportunity for employees to do PhDs (often in collaboration with the industrial partner). I actually met multiple people during internships in companies who did that (they were in the life sciences though). People who worked for the company for several years and after some time got interested in doing a PhD. They found a way to make it possible. Similar things also exist for people who like to do an MBA.

Thread: In need of advice from those more mature in their academic careers: post-docs or even PI’s

posted
14-Mar-18, 07:56
edited a moment later
by Dunham
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posted about 9 months ago
Well, welcome to academia ;) That your proposal didn't get funding does not necessarily mean there was something wrong with it. My boss is also regularly sitting in these comissions and most of the proposals that make it to the final round are worthy of being funded but that doesn't help if you have to pick 2 out of 10. There will always be good projects without funding.
You seem to do well with your PhD and your Post Doc research, now all you have to do is being proud of your achievements and ignore the rest ;)

Thread: In need of advice from those more mature in their academic careers: post-docs or even PI’s

posted
13-Mar-18, 19:22
edited about 17 seconds later
by Dunham
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posted about 9 months ago
I think what you describe does not really represent the scientific community as a whole. I could name you several people who did exceptionally well during PhD and Post Doc without any celebrations or back patting by the supervisors. You just have to stop making your self esteem depend on your supervisor's feedback. Some supervisors are like you described above, many, many others aren't. This should not be the source of your motivation. I am over 2 years into my PhD, in a relatively big group and there very rarely celebrations and certainly not for presenting at a meeting. You maybe get a short round of applause in the lab meeting when your paper got accepted ;) Yet, the working atmosphere is great and people are happy. It is hard to give tips on how to overcome that but maybe think about why you are doing what you are doing? For social media and a group that celebrates you? I doubt that this is the case, so why care so much about it? :)

Thread: Totally fed up

posted
08-Mar-18, 18:58
edited about 22 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 9 months ago
[quote]Quote From pm33:


I completely agree with you and my Supervisors handle it the same way. The point was more to point out that this is a common problem and no reason to feel like a fraud. The supervisor of my bachelor thesis didn't get to write a single one of his first author papers,not because he didn't want to, but because that's how his boss handled this. Paper writing was for post docs, PhDs focus on acquiring the data. It was the same for every student. Depending on the Supervisor, there is everything from being completely on your own to "you will not get to write anything."

Thread: Totally fed up

posted
06-Mar-18, 18:30
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 9 months ago
I think people are generally a bit loose with terms like imposter syndrome. First, at least in the natural sciences, most people apply to an advertised position, therefore a lot of PhD students follow to a large extent the objectives of their supervisors and are not doing completely independent research they have been coming up themselves. That's how it is for most students. How you tackle these objectives is normally also discussed with your supervisors, who will rarely allow you to go on with something they are not okay with, so again, influence by the supervisor. You didn't provide a lot of information except for that poster example but I have the feeling you are making a bit the mistake to think that this is unique to your PhD situation. My supervisors will ask me in meetings what I plan to do next and why I think this is the way to go, but of course they comment on my plans afterwards and will make adjustments when they think they are necessary and hereby influence the process.

Quote From pm133:

Providing comments is one thing. Actively editing a poster is not on.


True, I totally agree with you that they should not actively edit a poster, but one should keep in mind that almost every comment by a supervisor will result in changes. Yes, you are the one editing it but it will still be according to your supervisors comment. I doubt that there are many supervisors who let you present something with their name on it that they think of as suboptimal. The same is true for the writing. Read the final paper version and then again the first draft you sent to your supervisors. Unless you are an incredibly gifted writer who naturally has the writing style of the supervisor, those versions will be very different. So did I really write that paper in the end? ;)

Your supervisors will influence your PhD process but that does not necessarily make you a fraud, SnowDay. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Thread: Author names on poster/paper

posted
03-Mar-18, 12:57
edited about 6 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From starryeyed:
What pm133 said is quite right. Second autorship for the student is right in this case, both in the poster and in the paper (or if anybody else contributes, rank them in the level of contribution, still including the student). She did your research after all - you taught her to do it. Who she is and what she's going to do with it does not matter, give credit when it's due. And one must look carefully at letting people develop, and not exploit them. Actually, guiding the student to do actual research you might have accidentally created a proper researcher, think about it.


I do not fully agree with that and it is also not in line with the guidlines many unis provide for publishing. It is not enough to just "do it". You need to contribute to multiple steps in the publication process and this includes things like the conception of the research (coming up with the hypothesis and the research question itself), contribution to the experimental design, contribution to the execution of the experiment, contribution to the analysis of the data, contribution to the interpretation of the data and last but not least also contributions to the manuscript. Of course you don't need to contribute to everything, otherwise no supervisor would make it on a paper, but at least at my uni, it is not enough to just execute an experiment like a robot to receive authorship. So even the uni recommends to not give authorship in that case. Even though that is of course up to you. If there are not many people on the paper you might just do it to motivate the student ;) Most students that do a master thesis at my uni contribute to basically all steps except the first one. They seldom come up with a project themselves but rather get assigned to one. Student workers who just execute and are usually paid don't do that and are therefore not included in the authorlist.

Thread: Author names on poster/paper

posted
03-Mar-18, 08:19
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 9 months ago
Most universities have guidelines nowadays on what you have to contribute to be included as an author. Maybe you can try to look into that (doesn't have to be your uni).
From my experience, this really depends on the supervisors. My co-supervisor puts every student who contributed in some way to the results as an author on the paper and if the technician contributed to the results, the name goes on the paper as well. I know, however, many people who don't do it the same way.

In my opinion, it depends on the individual case. We have sometimes big projects with many students because the workload would otherwise be impossible to handle. They get told what to do, get paid very well for their (mostly repetitive) work and there are a lot of them. You would have 15 additional names on the paper if you would acknowledge them beyond the acknowledgment section. Fine to leave them off the author list.
In case of a bachelor or a master project where they do whole experiments by themselves, interpret the data gathered, do the stats etc. (the stuff usually necessary to pass a bachelor or master thesis) and you publish the very same data then they should be definitely on the authorlist. Many of my colleagues have master students as second authors on their papers.

Thread: Quitting current PhD project after a year and trying to apply for new project at different Uni

posted
01-Mar-18, 18:46
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 9 months ago
Quote From Theint:


I am working on watertreatment project and require HPLC .......


As someone who does quite some analytical chemistry, I don't really see the problem with storing your samples in a -80 or -20 before analysis. We do that with all GC/LC/HPLC related samples simply because there are a lot of people in the lab and not everyone can run samples at the same time. Find out if there is another lab with a -80 or -20 fridge to store your samples in. That is usually no big deal. 3 days a week sounds fine. I sometimes have to wait 2 weeks before I can run my samples.
I think you can explain to her that recycling of vials is a bad idea if you make good points. Most professors try to save money wherever possible, so that is a rather common issue that you probably encounter in many labs.

Quote From starryeyed:

Some bosses are good with postdocs, and not so good with PhD students that need strong guidance - in this case find another lab member to guide you, just be sure that they don't clash with the boss and the boss knows where you're getting help.


I find this to be a very important point. It can be a bit frustrating if your bosses are extremely hands off, because there is not always another lab member that can provide guidance, especially in labs with a very broad range of different projects. A PhD student should be independent but there are definitely supervisors who use this as an excuse to get out of student supervision altogether.

Thread: Poster Abstract

posted
27-Feb-18, 13:44
edited about 22 seconds later
by Dunham
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posted about 10 months ago
Thanks! I will do it like that.

Thread: Poster Abstract

posted
26-Feb-18, 17:40
edited about 54 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
With the ever earlier abstract deadlines:
Did someone here already submitted a poster abstract on work that was still ongoing? I want to present a poster at a conference but don't have all the results yet. Obviously, you can't write about results that are not there. I could restrict it to the results that I already have, but would prefer the chance to expand the story of the poster with the potential new results. Therefore, I thought a rather generic abstract that doesn't imply a specific result would be the way to go. Is this an acceptable approach or an absolute no go? In case it's acceptable, any tipps on what to focus on? Just introduction to the problem/question and then methodology? Thanks in advance for any sort of advice ;)

Thread: TVoD E13(65%)

posted
20-Feb-18, 19:38
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
Should be somewhere between 1300 and 1500€ (I think the latter). I am not working in Germany but friends of mine earn 1500€ with a 65% position as far as I know. Hope that helps.

Thread: Business cards (PhD fresh grad)

posted
09-Feb-18, 19:59
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
Quote From Tudor_Queen:
You forgot the part where you all needed family counselling afterwards. I still think he/she should get some though and try it out for themselves. It might lead to some key opportunities - you never know. Plus it can make you feel professional, so a nice confidence booster. I'm thinking of having some made myself now after all this convincing stuff I've said!


I agree with pm33 that this is probably a waste of time. If you left an impression or someone could use your workforce in the near future, they will remember you and find you or they will just type your name in their smartphone. If not, they will never contact you. Who remembers the owner of a specific business card months later? This card probably goes straight to the next bin. There are of course situations were business cards make sense (for example if you have a business or are a freelancer that provides a specific service), but in my opinion not if you are just an unemployed scientists that hopes to find a job. I think my impression would be "Wow, you must be really desperate" ;) No offense!

Thread: Crushed

posted
07-Feb-18, 11:28
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
I think you have to differentiate and one PhD student's experience at, let's say Harvard, does not necessarily represent that of another PhD student there. Blindly going for the higher ranked option is of course always short sighted. If your work does not reflect the high rank of the Uni, it is probably of no advantage on your CV either. Pretty sure that the PhD in Oxford won't impress anyone if you finished it with a single Plos One publication (speaking for the Life Sciences here)

Thread: Relation Between Thesis Chapters

posted
06-Feb-18, 18:01
edited about 15 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
As far as I know there is no rule that all chapters have to be on the same topic but maybe this is Uni or country specific. If you stumble upon something really interesting, you might follow up on it and go into an area that is not necessarily the original topic. As long as it is not too far apart (e.g. 2 chapters ecology and 1 chapter astronomy) it's probably alright. I would just ask my supervisor.

Thread: Applying for a new PhD

posted
01-Feb-18, 18:22
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 10 months ago
Sorry to hear about your struggles. Do you have any idea why this is happening? I don't want to imply that this is your fault, but from time to time I stumble upon stories like that and ask myself what the motive could possibly be? What point is there to hire a PhD student just to leave him or her without work after such a short period of time? Why would coworkers isolate a PhD student even though the tensions between that PhD student and the supervisors don't even concern them? Funding is there, the will to work is there and there is more than one project one could pursue, even if the supervisor changes their mind and decide that the initial project is more of a post doc project (which happens).

As you are not even 1 year in, I would just apply again like you did for this current PhD and use the references you used before. If you are a first year PhD student, you can argue that the initial project changed and that the proposed new project (even if there is none) was not what you wanted to do. Some people apply for a new PhD position because he project was not what they expected. Things like that happen regularly and are usually no problem. If you are 2 years ++ into your PhD it is harder to argue like this and you will be definitely asked why you stayed for so long if the project wasn't for you.
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