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Advice needed: External Funding for a UK PhD (Cambridge University)

Many thanks for your thoughts! You are absolutely right - I contacted about 70 different external funders and did not get a single positive response.

In the meantime, I got an offer to start a fully funded PhD this fall. It's not at the institution that I was hoping to work at, but it's a very compelling offer still. Part of me still wonders whether I should simply try again next year when I stand a chance of getting internal funding, and whether that would be more valuable. Another part of me thinks it's best to just start this September instead of losing another year when things would still be uncertain and given that I know that I want to do a PhD and am ready to start one this year.

I kind of wish I had known better and had started applying earlier so that I could stand a chance of getting internal funding. At the same time, there are reasons why I couldn't start earlier and there's probably no point overthinking this now and beating myself up. I still feel mostly bad though and don't seem to be able to just be happy that I got a very competitive PhD, which would be fully funded, and appreciate this wonderful opportunity.

Any thoughts? :( :)

Rejecting an accepted PhD offer for another - Does anyone have experience with this?

Hi all,

I just got some great news that I have been offered a full studentship on a PhD program that's currently my second most favourite option. I have only until March 16th to accept it or reject it. In the meantime, my most preferred option has not gotten back to me yet, even though I even emailed them explaining that I have a time-sensitive decision to make about another program, and that I would love to know what my chances of getting an interview invitation are. Even if they respond, I'm probably not going to know anything for sure before the 16th.

The potential supervisors at my second best option (and currently only certain one) are wonderful people - both of them got super excited that I got in, sent me the most supportive emails and well wishes, and are clearly looking forward to working with me. I really like them, as well as the project, but I still want to hear back from this other option.

I cannot get an extension on my current offer - the studentship is pretty competitive. If I reject it, they will be offering the PhD to someone on the waiting list. I can't help it but feel that the right thing to do is accept the offer now and then wait and see how the rest is going to play out - if I get the other (dream) PhD, I fear that I'd have to cancel my current offer later in the year and that the supervisors - albeit really nice people by the looks of it - might hold it against me. It will probably create some administrative hassle for them anyway..

If it does come to me being offered the other PhD (with funding), I don't really know how I'd have to approach my current supervisors. I know this is all hypothetical at this stage, but I can't help but overthink all possible scenarios anyway. I'd love to think that I will then just be able to be completely honest with them, explain my reasons and end on a respectful note. I don't want to ruin my relationship with them and I wouldn't want them to hold my decision against me. However, many people tell me that going back on an accepted offer looks really bad, that I will burn bridges, that it will be damaging for my future career in academia because I am likely to see and meet these people again, and that I should just accept my current offer and be happy that I got a fully funded PhD that >100 other applicants were apparently hoping to get.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? How did you approach your supervisor/team, were you honest? If some of you have been in a similar position a while ago, do you feel you have suffered any negative consequences as a result? Any advice would be extremely helpful, also from people who have not necessarily been in that boat but would share their opinions and insights. :)

Many thanks in advance!

Advice needed: External Funding for a UK PhD (Cambridge University)

Hello fellow PhD-ers,

Angelina here, a neuroscience graduate looking for a PhD in the UK.

Due to circumstances beyond my control and a study delay in my Master's, I was unable to apply on time for the internal funding opportunities offered by Cambridge where I'd love to do my PhD. Unfortunately, I thus missed the deadlines even for internal funding for the spring 2023 intake. I am now in a position where I need to apply for external funding.

Can anyone advice on what would be a good starting point? I have already started researching options, but extra help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks everyone in advance! Tons! :)