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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: Question about postgrad research application

posted
30-Jun-15, 13:12
edited about 14 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Does that really suprise you?

During your PhD you usually learn how to conduct research in academia, which qualifies you for a position in academia but not particularly for industry. Sometimes you are lucky and your topic is also interesting for companies but overall only a small percentage of academia topics are interesting for companies.

Some people now argue that a good researcher can adapt to topics in industry and that you learned tons of other useful skills but the truth is that we have a massive oversupply of scientist that neither academia, nor companies need to that extent. All gained the same soft skills, all published, all hold a Phd....There is no need for that potential. Who needs thousands of neuro scientists? What shall they do in industry? In the average company you have a few people with PhDs who lead teams of Non-PhDs. There are exceptions but most of the time it is like that. As we all know, academia has no positions for these people either.

The solution to this problem is pretty simple and gets also support from a lot of professors (there were even nature articles about the issue) :

Stop training so many PhD students !

If we have no use for so many scientists, the solution cannot be that we just create positions so no potential is wasted. The problem is simply addressed in the wrong way.

Thread: Higher or lower? University rankings and job hunting

posted
29-Jun-15, 15:53
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From GrumpyMule:
So, I'm nearing submission (aiming for before Christmas) and funds are running low. Chatting to my supervisor about jobs, he is very supportive and regrets that they are not taking on research fellows in my department. I suggested a particular university at which I could see myself working and said that I was thinking about applying to work there. My supervisor's response was that I should aim higher because their rank isn't very good. My current university and our department are both very mid-table.

Should I be put off high ranking departments or apply for jobs in those anyway? Would my chances differ from those candidates from higher ranking departments?

Can a doctoral candidate from a mid-ranking department apply to say Oxford or would her application be laughed at!? :-/

Thanks for reading

GM

NB. 2016 league tables here...

http://www.thecompleteuniversityguide.co.uk/league-tables/


I would say it depends on your accomplishments. I don't think that the ranking of the university plays a big role because that does not really say anything about you personally. If you have a PhD from Oxford but your publication record shows mediocrity then high ranked universities are probably not interested in you. On the other hand you can have magnificent scientific accomplishments at a low ranked university that opens the door to a higher ranked university.

Thread: Make peace or war against supervisor?

posted
29-Jun-15, 07:26
edited about 29 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I see your point but think that you have to distinguish between a boss that is “just” choleric and demanding and a boss that accuses you of fraud in public. You simply have to act against that, everything else seems like a confession. Who knows, in the end maybe the university initiates some process in order to assess your scientific practice. I don’t want to paint it too black but it is imo a different situation. But in general I agree, choleric boss does not mean that he or she is giving you a bad reference or blocks your way.

Thread: Make peace or war against supervisor?

posted
26-Jun-15, 20:13
edited about 57 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Isn't that PhD messed up already? Even if you get through it, you suffered years and won't go anywhere if she presents you as incompetent or fraudulent. The truth is, you can't buy anything with the title itself. There are PhD students like there is sand on the beach. Without a good reference you are lost anyway. I am definitely not the kind of person who searches for trouble and usually act deescalating, even if I think my actions were justified and right, but what is the point if she is already against you? That relationship won't change.

Thread: Make peace or war against supervisor?

posted
26-Jun-15, 18:50
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From gingerbread:
Quote From Dunham:
Honestly, I would contact former PhD students. If there are enough people backing up that she does stuff like that often and can be regarded as incompetent, than this will end bad for her and she probably knows that. I am not sure about law in other countries but I am pretty sure that you could even sue her for defamation if she accuses you of making up results without any proof and maybe it is time that somebody does it. This is a serious accusation that can ruin your reputation in academia.

I also agree with Mathcomp that there is not so much sense in just threatening her, as you will need her support in the future. I think there is no other way then changing supervisors. She will never give you a good reference and probably makes your life a living hell.

Yeah forgot about the reference. I almost forget that there's a life after postgraduate. that's another thing to worry.

Thought so many times about suing her up in the past few month. Even tried to look for similar case. But generally feel like it should be the last option (no time/money and won't gain much). Make the complaint to the school is more favorable, but wonder if they will be on my side? Of course I chat with the former students many times and many things they said can be used against her. But letting them to actually speak up or have it in writing form will be difficult.

But I was shocked too when she just casually and make remarks implying that i could have made up results in front of people. I means that is clearly wrong right? Like is there any excuses that she can give in this case? Is there any exceptions that you know of? I means it's very blatant and it's not in private conversation too.


In the institute I did my master thesis at was also a professor that treated his students like shit. Literally a slave driver that pushed his people always to the limit and beyond. Many of them were quitting, almost everybody under constant, enormous pressure, people that were almost 30 years old and were terrified to present their results in the group meeting and messed up things like that. Everybody in that institute knew about that. That was an open secret. Most professors just mind their own business and don't act against colleagues. I would not be surprised if you can expect a lot of back up in case she is acting like this for a long time. As a former PhD student I would have no problem to testify if I really think that she behaved inappropriately. What do I have to lose if I already have a new employee?
Is there no legal advice at your university that you can contact or maybe some person in the institute that is assigned to stuff like that?

I may exaggerate a bit but I truly believe that these people can behave like this because nobody acts and prefers to suffer in silence until the next unaware student joins the group.

Thread: Make peace or war against supervisor?

posted
26-Jun-15, 17:59
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Honestly, I would contact former PhD students. If there are enough people backing up that she does stuff like that often and can be regarded as incompetent, than this will end bad for her and she probably knows that. I am not sure about law in other countries but I am pretty sure that you could even sue her for defamation if she accuses you of making up results without any proof and maybe it is time that somebody does it. This is a serious accusation that can ruin your reputation in academia.

I also agree with Mathcomp that there is not so much sense in just threatening her, as you will need her support in the future. I think there is no other way then changing supervisors. She will never give you a good reference and probably makes your life a living hell.

Thread: Failed PhD

posted
25-Jun-15, 19:52
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
In Italy it's just a presentation and audience questions I think, so not too arduous.

I do agree changing things to the whim of an examiner is pointless.

Most minor corrections, at least in science, are doable within a week but you get a month for them, so this is easily done on evenings and weekends if you are working in the day. Most science students don't get major revisions unless they have a crap supervisor or have not listened to their supervisor (or aren't capable of writing a decent thesis), since experiments are likely to need repeating and examiners know that students won't be funded and won't be able to do them so there's no point in asking them to. Plus, you generally pass after minor or major corrections if you have done as asked.


okay, good to know. That sounds much better.

Thread: Failed PhD

posted
25-Jun-15, 16:41
edited about 24 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Dunham:
For instance, who is financing me during these 12 months, where I shall do the minor or major corrections (as I understood it is almost impossible to pass without one or the other) ?


No-one, of course, that's the fun bit.

I have heard that the viva defenses in other European countries are a bit of a joke though, with 'examiners' not even reading the thesis and it being almost impossible to fail.


Well, depends on the country. In Germany it is a bit too easy I have to admit, but of course your examiners read it and question you. In Sweden you get an opponent from a university abroad for the defense and there is also other staff from different departments that questions you. This can take really long, I remember one time where I sat 3.5 h straight in the audience and they were not finished when I left. Personally I think it SHOULD be almost impossible to fail a defense. If your supervisors are not completely incompetent, they will never let you submit something that they are not sure of passing. So basically I have two experienced academics who read the work and helped me to improve it where improvement was needed. How can such a thesis fail (except plagiarism and so on)? It is of course not perfect, but fail??? Who is expecting a PhD student to produce something "better" than a professor? Of course there are also failed PhD students in other countries but usually these were candidates who already knew that it is a close call when submitting. You spent years on that research area so the defense itself should be usually also not the problem. As long as you can defend your work it is also no problem when your opponent sees certain things differently. After all it should be an objective examination of a scientific work. There sometimes is no right or wrong so why the hell should I change something according to the examiner?

It sounds a bit odd to me that this basically means that you get 3 years funding, can expect 4 years until submission and then another unpaid 6 to 12 months for resubmission and in the end fail due to minor disagreements. At least I guess that he did not consider 30% of the thesis as rubbish and completely wrong.

I have to admit that I am a bit scared now as I also applied to some PhD positions in the UK :D

Thread: Failed PhD

posted
25-Jun-15, 14:58
edited about 11 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I can't help it but the longer I read in this forum, the more I think that the UK has to be one of the worst places to do a PhD. It sounds completely arbituary. How can you even fail a thesis because of one point of diasagreement? I've never heard of a PhD student that failed his PhD defense even though the supervisors thought it is going to pass and I lived now for longer periods in three different european countries and attended tons of PhD defenses. I should defend my thesis but I should not have to change it according to some examiner. How is that helping me to become an independent (!) researcher that stands up for his research? No problem with criticism but that sounds really odd. I've never heard of that before and it is definitely not practiced in several other european countries. For instance, who is financing me during these 12 months, where I shall do the minor or major corrections (as I understood it is almost impossible to pass without one or the other) ?

You have my full sympathy. Sounds simply horrible and complete unjustified. I hope there'll be a happy end.

Thread: is my PhD supervisor jealous??

posted
24-Jun-15, 11:14
edited about 39 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
In case he has a permanent position, I don't really see why he should be jealous. Your success does not really affect him, does it? Maybe he just fears that you let slip your PhD research, which has a negative impact on his group and thus on him. I think it is not strange that your supervisor wants you to focus on the research you are paid for and not for the research of other departments if it exceeds a certain extent.

Thread: How many publications for assistant professorship positions?

posted
24-Jun-15, 07:14
edited about 25 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I forgot to mention that the three people I was talking about are biologists (plant science). I never heard that conference proceedings are of special importance in biology if it comes to these positions. I am very sure that the journal publications are by far the most important thing. First author is of course more than a mid author publication but it is also impossible to have 10 first authorships. The people above had like 3 first authorships, the rest was second, third and so on...

But that's just for biology and might differ from Europe to Amercia.

Thread: How many publications for assistant professorship positions?

posted
23-Jun-15, 20:40
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I know three people who got an assistant professorship in the last 3-5 years. They all had 10-12 publications at that time (journal papers and journal reviews).
Two were working 5+ years as post docs in the same group, got more and more responsibilities and then got the chance to start their own groups. The other one started at a different university and had the strongest publication record including one nature first authorship. He said that he would've probably not gotten the position without this paper, so I would assume that the journal class is important. It makes also sense as high class journals usually demand much more data and work.

It is of course also a lot of luck. If they are opening a position that fits perfectly to your background then 8-10 publications and a promising research project might be enough...

Don't know if that helps ;)

Thread: should I change my PhD supervisor or quit?

posted
23-Jun-15, 15:47
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From angantyr:


My supervisor fluctuates between being friendly to very formal and cold. She is fixated on the fact that I am not in my office 9-5, 3-4 days a week, and is very abrasive when raising this point. She says I am too emotional, unprofessional, and this not how I should behave as a PhD student, and that I am being paid to do this research.

I'm really upset with how little progress I have made so far in my PhD.


And you can't draw the connection? ;) It sounds like you are working to few hours (9 to 5 is minimum for a full time position imo. You will probably have lunch during that time or coffee breaks...that's not even 40h/week) and complain that there is little progress.....sounds a bit odd to me. It is always easy to blame her but in the end this is your project and after 1.5 years you should not need much guidace anymore. No offense.

Thread: Dear Selection Committee

posted
23-Jun-15, 07:14
edited about 7 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
An average UK lectureship in my social science discipline will get c.120 applications. Maybe 50% will be uncompetitive as they lack a completed PhD and/or REFable publications (i.e. a university press book or articles in top quartile journals - my employer's expectations) and so are easily knocked out.


Isn't that exactly what we were talking about? That would mean that 60 people wasted time on a statement for teaching and research and are not considered due to the lacking PhD degree or relevant publications. The CV would have shown that too ;)

I also don't believe that the CVs look all the same. Not everybody has the same grades, the same amount of teaching experience, the same amount of internships and so on. There will be definitely some differences and even if not you could just send a standardized email to those 60 applicants left that their CVs generally qualify them for the position and that they should send the rest. I see no real disadvantage. It is of course something the selection comitee does not benefit from but the applicants sure do. Sometimes you even spend several days for 1 application (rethinking, rewriting and so on) to make it the best possible and then it is discarded due to stuff that the CV would have shown. Especially when you are still working and have to search for a following position, time is a limited good.

Thread: Dear Selection Committee

posted
22-Jun-15, 16:57
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From pd1598:
Because they want you to explain in more depth (than is available with a CV) how you meet the desired and essential criteria? To give you more room to explain who you are, rather than a list of grades..?


I think he/she means that this should come after a prior selection. CVs contain not just grades but your whole education, practical experiences, main subjects and so on. Basically everything you need to know to select the most suitable candidates. Among them you can then further select in terms of motivation etc. There are always applications that are discarded because of the CV, no matter how good the statement is. Nobody reads 100+ applications that are 10 pages long completely. If you would pre select the people with an appropriate CV, others would not have to spend time on statements of purpose for positions they won't be considered for. You always have to adjust the application to the employer, which takes an enormous amount of time.

I agree that this would be easier and less time consuming, but I don't get what the thread is for.
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