Signup date: 29 Sep 2017 at 12:15am
Last login: 20 Mar 2021 at 8:48am
Post count: 62
I'm at a Russel Group University and have been subjected to victimisation as a result of speaking out about behaviours that I can only describe as bullying. I have just had to persevere with very little support.
I can only hope that Removed62360 does not ever get a job in a University given the views that they have.
I think if Universities require printing to be done they should cover costs. It is also my view that electronic submissions should be accepted and that hard copy submissions should not be mandatory. This also lessens environmental impact.
I think you may have a lower chance if you apply for funding once you have started and are a registered student. The University may just assume once you have started self-funding you will continue. I really would not even consider doing this without funding, especially not in the UK. I considered self-funding once. Most academics I spoke to about this were really against it and I fully understand why now. I did get a funded place but have still had to source other grants to go to conferences. Course fees and living expenses are not the only costs you will have.
I applied for a postdoc late last year which I didn't get shortlisted for, I emailed to get feedback and was informed they had about 50! strong applicants and those shortlisted had several publications. Seems there are a lot of people competing for Engineering postdocs currently, the OP just needs to keep persevering and get feedback where they can.
Where I study there are more Ph.D. students in Engineering than any other discipline, its likely a similar situation in other places. There are so much more Ph.D. studentships being advertised than postdocs. You are up against a lot of competition. Ensure that you can evidence most if not all points in the person spec for the role advertised. Ask for feedback even if not shortlisted, some may give it.
I have actually never had a progress panel review and I am now in the final year of the Ph.D., the failings in my case on the part of the University have been that bad. I always submitted the required documents for progress reviews each year. I am certainly experiencing the retaliation you refer to currently. I am trying to keep going and focussing on end goals.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
You say you now have a funded postdoc, my advice is to move on and leave the bad Ph.D. experience behind you. I can relate to how you may be feeling, I have felt depressed at times also. I am at an earlier stage currently and the reality of my situation is that I will likely need to submit my thesis early next year without anyone having looked at it. The bullying primary supervisor, who still causes me issues in the department, has not been involved for over 2.5 years now and a co-supervisor I have is nice but heavily overworked and has been ill and so there is not much contact there. I have been through the complaints process about matters relating to my PhD and supervision, that didn't help and nor did the OIAHE. I raised the matter of compensation for the delayed Uni complaints process with the OIAHE, and they ignored it. The OIAHE don't even stick to their own guidelines re. timescales. To get the best outcome from the OIAHE you need legal support now and there are solicitors who specialise in this.
I find what you say about your thesis not existing now odd, that couldn't happen in my field.
I know of another student in my department who had a supervisor who he had very few meetings with and little support from, he had 12 months of major corrections after his viva and like you no stipend during that period. That period should have finished a year ago and he is still a registered student with no thesis in the online repository.
I don't think you are going to have any chance of compensation for distress without legal support and what the OIAHE may or may not offer likely won't be worth the stress and time involved, and a court will not award compensation for distress for these matters. You passed the Ph.D. and now have a postdoc, and my advice is to focus on the postdoc, building your network and future opportunities.
I'm going through a period of fairly bad depression currently which I have been for a few months now, I'm in the final year so I am trying to push myself through it. I can relate to the issues with lack of interest and motivation. I find focussing on the end goal now helps a bit. When feeling depressed you can lose interest in things that normally interest you so it makes decision making very difficult.
Think about why you made the decision to do the PhD and why you chose your particular project. If this doesn't help to motivate you then you perhaps you need to think if the PhD is really for you. I have a history of depression and anxiety and have had a lack of support during my PhD and it has been quite a negative experience at times as a result. Having an understanding supervisor will help and is I think is particularly important if you are susceptible to periods of poor mental health, in my experience supervisors don't always have a good understanding of these matters and central support has been lacking for PhD students where I am. Now is a good time to engage with support services and see what the support is like where you are.
I would perhaps wait a few weeks now before making a decision to see if your mood lifts. At this early stage in my PhD I was engaging in training courses and face to face networking with other PhD students. I don't find what is offered online now substitutes for this. You are starting a PhD at a difficult time currently.
The other University which this postdoc went to is now advertising roles I am very interested in. I emailed and they replied back with a very positive email, they copied in this person and that was the end of the communication. I sent this former postdoc a friendly email directly and they didn't reply. Seems there is already an enemy there, perhaps they see me as a threat and this is now having an effect on job opportunities. I wouldn't like to work with that person anyway, the roles hadn't been advertised with them as a contact. I would like to continue doing related work, they pushed me from something I really wanted to do as a PhD student. I was able to do something related but it didn't interest me as much and I have had to work with very little support and have faced many obstacles. Hopefully I find a suitable interesting role in a supportive team.
I would advise you against starting a science PhD during the current academic year. Lab access is very problematic currently and the situation could worsen again. I have links with a US university and its interesting hearing of the situation there, of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases after the fall semester commenced and now plans to have remote teaching only after thanksgiving, they currently have a blend of in person and remote teaching. Given your past experience another difficult start to a PhD could be detrimental to ever completing one. Most importantly you will need to find an understanding and supportive supervisor if you decide to start another PhD. You will have more support and be less isolated if you find a PhD that is part of a training school/ Centre for Doctoral Training, sometimes these PhDs will have a requirement for industry input whereby some funding comes from industry and you have an industrial co-supervisor. Industry-based PhDs are few and far between as you have found.
You have job security currently, that is a good situation to be in. You can take time to think about what you want and find a good opportunity for you. It may help to assess your current skills, think about what you want from a career. Some career coaching may be helpful.
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.
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.
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.
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