Signup date: 29 Sep 2017 at 12:15am
Last login: 19 May 2022 at 6:57pm
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I have been looking for potential sources of funding for a research visit to the US for up to a year from this Fall, as part of my PhD. I've been interviewed for Fulbright but I am not hopeful after not answering one of the questions well. I have an offer of attendance from a US University which has a specialist centre in my field of research and the Advisor I would have there is an expert in this area. I will still get my current stipend during the visit, this will cover living expenses and some of the fees. I am aware of grants of £500 to £1000 from a couple of societies I am a member of. Any recommendations of potential sources of grants would be much appreciated, I don't want to rely on Fulbright as I felt from the point of applying it was a long shot, and I can only be considered for the most competitive All Discipline award. If I don't get that I would like to advise the US University that I have identified other funding sources, I can contribute some personal funds also.
Never trust that a previous student was correct. Both my Masters and PhD work followed on work of another student, fortunately in both cases I noticed errors early on - which surprisingly were not picked up by examiners. In the first case a key equation had been written incorrectly. I've noticed many issues with a past students' PhD work. I had looked up standard testing techniques and sample sizes required, the test rig should have been consistent with these but I found it was far from it, the student reported dimensions in their thesis which were still smaller than specified in the standards but maybe close enough to get away with, its a multidisciplinary area and its something their particular examiners may not have picked up on. Upon measurement of the apparatus this was significantly smaller than they stated in their thesis. I didn't use that test rig, I designed and developed my own. I've learnt to check everything. Their methodology was suspect, various incorrect assumptions had been made and some things just didn't seem plausible. I re-ran a test, I got very different results. They used inappropriate controls, the list goes on. Some of their thesis is just too vague to work out exactly what they did. They drafted just one paper which wasn't accepted for publication. I've just drafted the second and hoping for 4/5 publications including 2/3 conference papers. The previous student had a lot of support. I've done much of my work with very little supervision so far, there was perhaps some benefit to that in may case.
Monkia - I persevered at the same place. I made enquiries about PhDs elsewhere at one point and had quite different responses. Its not always the case that there will be a non-positive impression of you, its very much dependent upon individual views and experiences. I found it was best to be open early on about the situation, then you know if there is an issue or not. If someone jumps to negative conclusions that should be a warning. I have found having a supportive supervisor helps avoid difficulties so if you find someone in the right field who is supportive and understanding from the offset this will help. There are sometimes issues which cannot be foreseen. If there are a lack of systems in place to address issues, poor management etc. then negative environments could more likely develop. I won't go into details but I can understand why there are issues where I am and some progress is now being made to address these.
Try to have a positive outlook and have confidence in yourself. A lack of confidence can be a barrier to progress and affect motivation.
I've been in a similar situation and having to fight cases like this takes a lot of energy and time so you may just be in need of a bit of a break before starting the new PhD. I can relate to the feelings of hurt after being treated badly myself, being in these situations can feel very unfair and you can find yourself very much alone. I even got trolled on this forum for sharing my experience at one point and had to get my post removed, which the moderators were quick to action. I've been fortunate to experience a very positive environment at the University where I did my undergrad course, compared to the toxic environment where I am now. Hence I know that not all places are like the one I am currently at, where there are seemingly leadership issues. This stops me feeling disillusioned and helps motivate me to get my PhD finished and progress my career somewhere better. Both places I have been are in the UK Russel group but are significantly different.
Just try your best, you may need to take things easy for a while and do a bit each day to build up momentum.
I had concerns from meeting one about my supervisors and these turned out to be justified, very much so. I too was subjected to intimidating behaviours and didn't receive guidance, and my project was changed. From what you have said it sounds like they had no interest in the project you proposed, hence the lack of guidance and only negative comments. Its possible they had a project idea for a while but no funding to take it forwards until you came along. The second supervisor sounds quite controlling. Sorry this sounds a bit pessimistic but I speak from experience of being in a toxic environment. As you are self-funding and proposed the project you could take this elsewhere if you chose. Given the position of your second supervisor I would tread carefully now. As the Head of PhD studies was no help then its possible they informed your second supervisor of your contact with them, particularly given your second supervisor's position.
As you are self-funded you will have more say about who supervises you than someone who has a stipend. If you are not happy then I advise requesting a change of supervision, or even going elsewhere as sadly in these toxic environments once you find yourself in a situation where you are seeking alternative supervision you can be seen as a problem even if you haven't done anything wrong. Not all places are like this, departmental cultures vary widely where I am and the institution itself is very different to where I did my masters. I advise speaking to someone you can have a confidential discussion with in your department. You could try discussing your concerns with these supervisors and should maybe try this first, but maybe also have a backup plan in place.
I will just add that a senior lecturer I had during my undergrad studies told me that he hated his PhD, despite this he has a successful academic career. I guess he had focused on the end goal. Personally I like to enjoy what I am doing and not for it to be a means to an end as such. It sounds the the experience is also important to you and your end goal has changed.
You could put something like 'postgraduate researcher' on your CV to cover the past year, and mention skills of relevance to jobs you are applying for. I wouldn't worry about how employers will view leaving a PhD, its perfectly understandable if you feel the academic environment isn't for you etc.
I am not sure what to advise about accommodation as you have paid for a year in advance, particularly if you are referring to the current academic year, it is maybe not so bad if its to the end of this year. Maybe you could transfer the contract to a new tenant if the landlord will allow it.
I'm in Engineering also and encountered many similar issues. I didn't like the culture in the group I should have been part, there was a lot of inequality in respect of funding and my project didn't fit in as well as others. I was cut out of communications at times and things got worse after the group management changed. I ended up distancing myself from that group and networking outside of it, which has been very beneficial to me. Equipment availability is also a constraint, I work with what I have access to currently. I am planning to use equipment in other departments at later stages, for which there may be a cost. These issues aren't uncommon. There were changes to my project, although some aspects couldn't be changed. My supervisor was very difficult and cold, issues there I won't detail on this post led to me seek a new supervisor, I work independently currently. I enjoy my PhD and plan to go into a career in academia, this has kept me going. The issues you state can be fixed to some extent but if you don't enjoy the work I would say at this time you have likely given it long enough to know if this is for you now.
I'm with pm133 on this. I've had depression for many years, I've never cheated and wouldn't ever think of doing so and I have never been lazy. If you were struggling due to health you had the option to tell someone before the assignment was due, this is likely how the University will see this. I once had to get an extension for an assignment during the final year of my undergrad studies. I didn't like having to do that but I couldn't have done my best otherwise. Universities do understand these issues. There are deadlines for letting them know about these matters though. If you've said nothing before now then mitigations may not be considered in respect of the assessments you've already completed. You say 'they found chunks to be plagiarised'. This is serious, integrity is vital in academia. I would advise you speak to an Advisor in your Students Union, and its sounds like you have done this. I think the best you can do now is learn from your mistake and get the help you need. unfortunately for any future applications where you need to provide a transcript it is likely to be a red flag, depending on how closely this is looked at. Maybe seek opinions among academics where you are about this if you can. I have encountered misunderstanding and stigma in respect of depression, especially in academia, so I am personally cautious about mentioning this now. I personally wouldn't mention this on an application, maybe at an interview if you feel comfortable to do so.
Someonelikeyou - it sounds like you've moved on, I would advise focussing on your new PhD and putting what has happened behind you now, the new complaint will put strain on you and likely affect your new PhD. I don't think the complaint you suggest will achieve anything sadly. I've been in the same situation, the same resolution was proposed - do a new PhD in a different part of the University, this was also around a year in. There was no additional funding though and I love my PhD so I didn't want to just discard all of my work. I declined and stuck it out with my current PhD, I just work without supervision currently while the OIA looks at my case, which is going okay but not viable long-term.
I would advise against doing a PhD which clearly is not of interest to you, it will very likely make you ill and it seems this is starting happen. You need to think about why you are doing a PhD. If you feel research is not for you then you would need to think carefully about doing an MSc also as this will have a substantial research element. If the project is the problem then it may not be too late to make changes as you are one year in now. It sounds like your supervisor may not have been a good fit however, despite them being nice, as they rejected your ideas in favour of their own proposal which didn't align with your interests. Maybe taking some time out at this stage and doing something else would be beneficial, you need to look after your health.
I've had to deal with some pretty bad treatment since the start of my PhD, I'm trying to get the situation improved due to how much I like my PhD, but its taking its toll on my health, I get days when I am very down, so I understand how you feel. I keep going as best I can but I have to take breaks at times, for a day or so, I find this helps. Try not to feel guilty about the breaks, you need to look after your health. Similarly I have difficulties with anxiety and sleep due to the situation.
I've dealt with some pretty cold, negative behaviours were I am, I have been subjected to intimidating behaviours in supervision meetings which have left me shaking and in tears after the meeting, after holding back tears through the meeting. I no longer have meetings while I try to get changes made as I refused to be subjected to such treatment again. Those responsible couldn't see they had done anything wrong. But like others say when this type of behaviour happens its unlikely to change.
I advise speaking to the relevant person in your department/ faculty about supervision and any possibility for changes, this hasn't been straightforward where I am though because they only seem to listen to the staff not the students. Definitely seek support from your Student Services, its possible they may be able to liaise with your department to try and improve things as its affecting your health.
I advise looking in your student handbook, this should give details of contacts if issues arise and outline responsibilities of supervisors and what the University should do if problems arise. The University should abide by this as its your contract with them, mine currently aren't but I'm pushing for them to. If you have suffered from depression for at least 12 months you will likely be eligible to get funding for a specialised mentor. If you would like any further info about this feel free to send me a message.
I'm sorry to hear about all of this. From you you say it sounds like this co-supervisor is abusing his position of power. Its unfortunate your boss/lead supervisor is taking the approach he is in that he's pretty much saying put up with the situation or go, I've had to deal with this attitude myself and its not pleasant or helpful. Its evident the situation is affecting you a lot. If you challenge this co-supervisor the risk is his retaliation in some way to make things difficult for you as a researcher. The only advice I can offer is just to be professional, only engage with this person when you need to, maybe with someone else around when you do if possible. It doesn't sound like the support is there at the University and its possible the University could just take the staff member's side regardless of anything you say if you take any formal action, its going to be your word against the word of this co-supervisor, although they would probably have a quiet word about him texting you, in my experience such contact is unusual and I also advise not engaging with them via text, don't respond. I would also strongly advise letting your husband know, its good you have external support but they can only fully support you if they know about what is happening, they may have helpful advice also.
The employer is concerned about whether you possess the skills required to do the job, and depending on the role other factors such as how well you will fit in with their team. The CV should be tailored for each job application, based upon the person specification for that role. I agree with Tru's advice about writing that you were a graduate researcher etc. if you prefer not to say that you were a PhD student, since this is still factual. For the role you mention interpersonal skills will be very important so emphasise these in your application - citing examples from your past work and study. You won't need to go into detail about your PhD studentship if it is not relevant for the role for which you are applying.
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