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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: Research interest statement

posted
11-Jun-15, 09:29
edited about 27 seconds later
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
Quote From Joanna:
Thanks a lot for your nice advice Mathcomp and Dunham. I will try to bridge past/present interest with future research. I guess it is the best. I still worry a little bit about how to go writing about future plans but I think the idea is not going into too much detail as you mention Mathcomp but still write something interesting and of course in the interest of the lab. But this can be tricky especially if I don´t know what exactly they are working on at the moment. Last publication of them was a collaborative paper and in the webpage there is only a paragraph of information about their research so yeah not so much I could use. And it would be horrible to write something that is not in the supervisors interest and then he starts thinking `hm i am not so interested to go in this direction.´ if i were more into the things i could much easier suggest things and bring new ideas but now i feel a bit like shooting in the dark. But I guess it is worth a try ;-)!


I guess if you write unsolicited applications, they generally expect that you know what you want to do. They always seek for highly motivated people who want to investigate exactly this one thing. If you apply for an advertised position you can always say that it perfectly fits what you want to do. With an unsolicited application however, it might look random, as if you wouldn't care what topic the group can offer you as long as it roughly fits the area you were working in before. We all know that most of the times it is like that and people arejust looking for a, relatively unspecific, position in their field but as post docs usually aim for an academic career (and sooner or later have to come up with own research ideas) they probably expect more than that.

Thread: Is £24k reasonable for a PhD graduate starting salary?

posted
10-Jun-15, 15:32
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago


I find it odd that just because they are 'starting out' they are looking for highly qualified people and paying them quite a way below the going rate. What is the incentive to someone to work there when they could take a research assistant job for more? It makes me wonder how well they know the sector? I would make enquiries as to whether there are yearly increments or any bonus/benefits, or plans to up the pay at a specific point.


What is the incentive? Maybe that you can actually work there for more than just 1 or 3 years? Maybe until you retire? ;) If you ask me that is huge incentive that is more valuable than 3 or 4k a year.

You just can't compare positions in academia with industry. I'll also find fancy PhD scholarships where I get paid an awesome salary that they would never pay me as an entry salary in industry but that is just for a few years and these kind of academia positions are often funded buy external sources.

@ cherub

Can't you just live in an apartment at the beginning to lower the living costs a bit? I don't know why you guys all immediately talk about mortgage (maybe you want to change companies after a few years and move again). Your salary will probably increase after some time or you can apply for another position elsewhere if you have some work experience in that company. Makes it definitely easier to find new jobs when you actually worked in a company and not just at the university :)

Thread: PhD in Clinical research (Australia)

posted
10-Jun-15, 11:55
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Unfortunately, there are almost no job boards where they specifically list PhD projects to the extent they do it here for the UK....I don't know why (would be so much more convinient).

You can try nature.jobs or just go through the universities of Australia and look for groups, as there are not so many universities in Australia.

Thread: Can I do 2 Phd's ? If so, can I tell my prospective supervisor that I am already doing a Phd?

posted
10-Jun-15, 07:06
edited about 15 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From lil:
P.S. I don't understand why some people find it so amusing making fun of everything. Even if some questions are considered stupid by you, give us the time to explain ourselves. Some of us subscribe to a forum to get advice, because we find ourselves in a dead-end or difficult situation. If some of you feel so "experienced in a field" or so superior why bother answering in the first place?

I am a person deeply interested in my field of research and I just found myself in a difficult situation.

Anyway, thanks to all the rest of you for being polite to stupid question and taking the time to answer a somewhat ....panicky PHd candidate.


"Making fun of everything" is a slight exaggeration. Usually a PhD is fulltime and usually a PhD is funded and that funding is bound to criteria. Therefore, it might be a bit ridicolous to some people that somone plans to do two PhDs in parallel. How should one know that you neither get paid, nor that you have to be present? You could have explained that all in the starting post making it a lot clearer ;)

On topic : I don't really understand what a placement abroad would get you. I assume we are not talking about lab work or complicated devices for your research part . Is there no way that you learn that stuff and get the expertise by reading a bunch of papers? I would assume that they expect you to learn that stuff by yourself and that supervisors in general have other stuff to do than actually teaching their PhD students how to do their research (as stupid as it might sound). At least I never had a PI or professor that actually taught me practical things. They were just available for discussion or maybe suggested another method. However, how I practically implement what he/she suggested was completely up to me. Maybe that differs from university to university but keep in mind that another university probalby also demands you to work on something, which then leaves you with no time for your first topic. How should that work out?

Thread: Research interest statement

posted
09-Jun-15, 12:55
edited about 3 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
You can write a statement of research interest. You'll find tons of good templates via google. I think you should include everything. First I would describe the broad research goal (and why you are interested in exactly that field of research),then previous projects you conducted in this field, ongoing projects you conducted in that field and at the a bit about perspective, where you describe your future plans and how these plans and your experiences fit perfectly to the group/position. That's what I did, but it was for PhD, not Post Doc positions. For a post doc, they perhabs even expect you to have a plan with research objectives. However, it is hard to do so if the group has many projects and you don't know what a potential supervisor would like you to work on

Thread: Funding decisions for English PhD

posted
09-Jun-15, 11:05
edited about 18 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Best on the profile : Probably Oxford but what is it worth if you cannot keep up with the Oxford standard because you work another job in parallel? Basically they just offer you to work for free. It will be anyway tough to get an academic job with English, but if you are under pressure because you are highly in debt it will be even worse. I would take the full award in Newcastle.

Thread: Personal Statement

posted
08-Jun-15, 13:47
edited about 10 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Thanks a lot !

I think the problem for me is that I don't want to be redundant. They also ask you to write about your motivation for the project in the research statement (where you also describe the future prespective, what you hope to achieve etc. ), which limits the personal statement mainly to personal information that might be beneficial for a PhD or that makes you the ideal PhD student.

Thread: Personal Statement

posted
08-Jun-15, 07:49
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Hey guys ! What do you usually write in a personal statement if you are also submitting a research statement, where you explain why your experience makes you a good fit for the position?

In many example statements it seems that the people just write their CV as an essay. If so, how honest can you be in this statement? I don't really want to make up any stupid story of how I saved a bird's life as a kid and decided to study medicine. However, I have the feeling that in almost every statement this is the case and that recruiters want to read thes stories. What if you were not thinking about a PhD in e.g. immunology since you were 5 years old ? What if there were no life changing events, no diseased relatives or whatever that made you major in that particular field but just curiosity? I am somehow having a hard time to explain why my personal background makes me a good fit. It just doesn't. My research background does.

Thread: Fast Track PHD

posted
05-Jun-15, 12:14
edited about 5 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
The worst case scenario would be that your are as qualified after a master as you were before. In most cases you will be more experienced in terms of theoretical knowledge and practical skills like writing or lab work. It is unecessary to argue about that. That's just how it is.

It is 100 percent objective and it doesn't really matter if hard science or not. Experience is experience. The worst case is, again, that you did not gain any useful experience but nevertheless, even then you would be as good as your bachelor-self. The argumentation that there are bad master graduates out there does not really make sense. A pilot that has 10 years of experience is not necessarily a better pilot than one with 5 years experience but he will definitely be a better pilot as he was five years ago. I wrote highly individual because there are people who are just "bad" scientsts. They are bad if they start a PhD directly after a bachelor and they are bad if they start a PhD after their master. Why would master student that is not asqualified as a bachelor student be the proof for the uselessness of a master degree? I would bet that you would make a even better PhD performance if you would have done 2 years of masters before. There is just no plausbile argument why you wouldn't. Why would that depend on supervisors, funding, mentorship or graduate schools? That doesn't make sense at all and is completely unrealted to personal circumstances. If you work five years in a field you are more experienced as if you would have stopped after 3 years. In whoich scenario could you gain less than nothing? You make the mistake to compare yourself to others and that is not what I wanted to do. You (you personally!) will be always better with more exerience compared to the less experienced you. An exception is maybe if you get hit by a rock at the end of the masters and suddenly forget what you learned during the bachelor degree, but in general you will perform better ;) I don't really understand why anyone would argue about that.

Thread: Fast Track PHD

posted
05-Jun-15, 09:16
edited about 12 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
You would have exactly the same CV if you did a 2-year master before your PhD project. I am not saying that people who start a PhD after their bachelor degree are generally incompetent, but that 2 years more experience are 2 years more experience (for the individual researcher !). No need to justify yourself. It is just a completely objective fact. Of course you also find incompetent master graduates but that is completely individual. Those people would not have performed better if they started the PhD right away after the bachelor.I may relate it to natural sciences, but that does not change the point. More experience is more experience. I don't really believe that someone does 2 years of masters and does not develop at all.

I did not mean that offensive but I truly believe that e.g. a physicist needs much more supervision and guidance if he starts a PhD after the bachelor compared to the same physicist with a master degree. If you just compare a master thesis to a bachelor thesis and the amount of time you spent for the research. That is a huge difference. I can't believe that this makes no difference for the individual. That you worked hard doesn't change that fact or would you've worked less hard during a master degree? ;)

Thread: Fast Track PHD

posted
05-Jun-15, 07:18
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I think it depends on your long-term goals. If you go for a position in academia such as lecturer, assistant professor etc. it is probably an advantage. It is hard to compare PhD students among each other but I have a hard time believing that someone with "only" the bachelors degree has the same routine and performs as well as someone with a master degree. I definitely would not. We have 2 year master programms and that is often more than 1 year practical lab research + the course work combined. That is just a lot of experience.

However, if you don't want to continue in academia, I would consider it a huge advantage to skip the master. Companies often appreciate younger applicants, as they are more "shapeable" and you also have the advantage of getting a real salary two years earlier. Not so bad. It is definitely one of the down sides that you are often 30 years + until you enter the job market.

Thread: research statement

posted
04-Jun-15, 10:53
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I think the structure is ok. Nobody expects you to have publications and I think it is also not usual that theses get published. Sometimes, depending on the field, but for sure not always. No worries.

I think the most important thing is that you be precise and relatively short without a lot of bla bla. Just the important facts and goals without long-winded personal stories. Most Professors have a bunch of applications to read and are happy if you save them some time. My supervisors told me that a master student should not write more than 1.5 to 2 pages in a research statement as you simply haven't done so much research that it would justify more than that. If you already do your third post doc, you probably have more to tell :)

- Short description ofyour research interest and why it is your interest

- Previous and ongoing research projects ( here you can explain what you learnt so far to pursue this research interest. Here I would focus on your contribution and the methodology you acquired. I would be rather short about the project background, so no long stories about e.g. protein xyz ;) )

- Future plans (Here you can explain what you are planning for te next years, why you think that position suits your plans and shortly summarize your key skills that are essential for the success of that project and that make you a good choice.

That's how I did it.

Thread: Fast Track PHD

posted
03-Jun-15, 15:04
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From lude:
I think you mean something like this link?

I think it depends on your field and where you are intending to do your PhD. I know that in my field of engineering and computer science, MOST universities outside the EU allow you to do that. I don't know about other subjects. ETH is probably one of the few inside EU which allow it, and probably for good reason too - not easy to fulfill its requirements!


A lot of universities offer a fast-track option but it is limited to the best students. Never heard of a student who had that option at my university but in theory it is possible. You just have to be bright like Rainman and need the support of a department. Nevertheless that would be only interesting for Non-UK students and not for UK students, as that is just the usual procedure in UK and not fast track ;)

Thread: Fast Track PHD

posted
03-Jun-15, 14:08
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Depending on the country it might also mean without doing the master first (?) Otherwise it would be a bit strange to have just 3 years of bachelor followed by a fast track Phd. That would mean"only" 5 years compared to the 8-9 years it takes in every other country. Can't believe that this is possible. Would be a bit too easy in my opinion ;)

Thread: Might fail master's, should I drop out?

posted
02-Jun-15, 09:44
edited about 5 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Show it as it is. I guess it is already an accomlishment to get the scholarship and be accepted there, so tell them that you had to leave due to medical issues. I would not mention depressions but MS is a serious condition and I don't believe anyone would hold that against you.
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