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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: Supervisor as a co-author

posted
01-Jun-15, 18:49
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
I would not risk it. Of course it is unfair, we all know that. Some department heads are on literally every publication of the department and often for absolutely no reason besides being the boss but in the end you rely on their recommendation letters. As long as you are the first author....

Thread: PhD- Recognition in other countries

posted
31-May-15, 09:30
by Dunham
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posted about 5 years ago
Of course it is

Thread: Escape from the ivory tower?

posted
30-May-15, 10:36
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From KimWipes:
You are not alone.....



I think it is wrong that people always describe it as a simple choice. As if you would just decide to get a job in industry and then it is done. I can only talk about the life science section but here it is at the moment as hard to get a R&D position, as it is hard to get an assistant professorship. There is simply no difference. I am working at a company at the moment and the few senior researchers (of which some led their own groups before or still do) are telling me exactly the same.

There are tons of jobs in industry that can easily give you the challenge that a permanent academia position would give you but these jobs go to the best 5% of post docs. Majority of people who join a company and work in industry are not working field related anymore. Maybe we mean exactly the same but it sounds like industry cannot provide interesting jobs, which is not true in my opinion. When you work in a job where you develop MS excel sheets you are just not working in a science position at that company. A lot of people have to do that because of a lack of opportunities. By just thinking a moment I already remember five Post Docs who searched over a year (hundreds of applications as well) for a stupid sales position (selling kits and laboratory devices), where a bachelor would have been more than sufficient. But why take a bachelor if there are over 2500 biology post docs enter the market every year in a country like Germany ?

I think you can consider yourself lucky to get some job nowadays. It is not that you just bite the bullet and work in industry.

The longer you've been in the ivory tower, the harder it gets to escape, especially if you have no industry internships or things that make stand out of the crowd. Let's be honest, every competitor holds a PhD and many did one or two Post Docs. If you don't have an outstanding publication record (if so, you would probably not necessarily leave academia) you will have a hard time to explain why you're ivory tower research experience is beneficial for industry research teams. People often talk about soft skills and how working as a scientist taught them tons of other useful skills, but if every post doc has useful soft skills, noone has ;)

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
29-May-15, 18:11
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Really interesting discussions. I was just startled by the mortgage discussion because in Germany buying a place is something you usually do when you have kids or are at least 35+ years old. Before that, most people just rent a place, which also makes much more sense to me, as a PhD student is usually at an age where a lot of things will change again (partner, job, potential offspring etc.). I don't really get why someone would commit to such an investment at this age. Of course you can sell the place again, but this is cumbersome and you always have the potential risk of losing money due to decreasing house/flat prices.
There are also some studies that show that buying a house/flat is overall a luxury and not something you financially benefit from. Most people rather lose money compared to people who rented their whole live. Even if it is paid, it keeps on generating costs that often exaggerate the rent. Probably country specific.

I think you guys sound a bit arrogant about US citizens just eating expensive fast food, buyin starbucks coffee and driving expensive cars ;) It is not that easy.

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
29-May-15, 18:09
edited about 2 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Really interesting discussions. I was just startled by the mortgage discussion because in Germany buying a place is something you usually do when you have kids or are at least 35+ years old. Before that, most people just rent a place, which also makes much more sense to me, as a PhD student is usually at an age where a lot of things will change again (partner, job, potential offspring etc.). I don't really get why someone would do that at this age. Of course you can sell the place again, but this is cumbersome and you always have the potential risk of losing money due to decreasing house/flat prices.
There are also some studies that show that buying a house/flat is overall a luxury and not something you financially benefit from. Most people rather lose money compared to people who rented their whole live. Even if it is paid, it keeps on generating costs that often exaggerate the rent. Probably country specific.

I think you guys sound a bit arrogant about US citizens just eating expensive fast food, buyin starbucks coffee and driving expensive cars ;)

Thread: Problems with supervisor

posted
29-May-15, 15:20
edited about 1 minute later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From IntoTheSpiral:
This is a tricky situation to be in. But, I would probably advise taking on new supervisors - it's very, very hard to come back from disagreements with a supervisor such as you've described. A fresh start with someone new sounds like the best idea to me.


I completely agree with that. It is almost impossible to get a second chance with some people and he will probably block your road whenever it is possible. Hard to tell if one does not know him but I would go for a new start

Thread: Partner studying PhD for a second time- Stressful!

posted
29-May-15, 09:39
edited about 8 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From craigwhizz:
Quote From Dunham:
Well, you can't force it. If she is not capable of doing it, then that's just how it is. Why does she need a PhD so badly?


Thanks for the reply people. She needs it so badly because she was funded by scholarship which means this is a debt to the Thai government which must be paid back over 10 years through working at her local university. She is 'locked' in and therefore is not able to obtain paid employment elsewhere - there is no option but to finish this PhD! It is not like the UK where we can drop out and get a job if we wish - the government would chase her if she does not finish.


But what if she just can't? This sounds a bit strange. In every country you have people who are just not good enough to finish their PhDs. That's how it is. What happens if she just fails?

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
28-May-15, 07:36
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
I still think it's the same risk as in any field with any job. Chances are any job you get once you finish your PhD is going to pay more - it's not hard to find a job paying £18k a year, which is the stipend equivalent considering tax. Furthermore, I can earn minimum wage and easily cover my mortgage so it's not something I'm concerned about. I believe I can get any old random job if needs be.


That is true.

Just to be clear, we are talking about an amount of money to buy an apartment or a house aren't we? I find it really strange that a bank would even consider to lend you so much money with a salary like that. I think that is impossible in Germany. I honestly never heard of a PhD student who bought a/an house/apartment and somehow don't understand why someone would consider to do that, as you are probably moving after your PhD (and maybe quite far, depending on the job market). Am I getting something wrong?

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
27-May-15, 21:39
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Dunham:


p.s I think it's ridiculous that banks don't accept stipends as it is just a salary that's not taxed in my view!


No, it is not. It is actually completely reasonable. A PhD is a temporary position and there is no security at all. Nobody can tell if you will find a job afterwards and a lot of post docs search for quite a while or struggle to find any job (of course depending on the subject). I am not a UK citizen but I guess it is like that everywhere. No bank in Germany would lend you money if you are on a temporary contract, unless your partner is on a permanent position and earns a substantial part of your income.


Still quite ridiculous though isn't it, I could be sacked from my job the next week after getting my mortgage for all the bank knows.


Sure you could. You could also escape somewhere with the money and never pay anything back. There is no absolute security. All the bank knows is that a PhD student will be definitely sacked after a fixed amount of time. If you find a job afterwards and if that job will provide you with a similar or higher salary is completely hypothetical. Moreover, majority of PhD students enters the real job market after a PhD for the first time and search longer for an entry level job compared to people who already worked for a while and had to find something new. It is maybe not nice, but I can understand the banks in that case.

I am btw surprised that this seems to be a topic of concern for many PhD students. Aren't you afraid of such a obligation at this point of your career not knowing where your next job will be ?

Thread: PhD and mortgage

posted
27-May-15, 17:27
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago


p.s I think it's ridiculous that banks don't accept stipends as it is just a salary that's not taxed in my view!


No, it is not. It is actually completely reasonable. A PhD is a temporary position and there is no security at all. Nobody can tell if you will find a job afterwards and a lot of post docs search for quite a while or struggle to find any job (of course depending on the subject). I am not a UK citizen but I guess it is like that everywhere. No bank in Germany would lend you money if you are on a temporary contract, unless your partner is on a permanent position and earns a substantial part of your income.

Thread: EU member not getting UK funding

posted
21-May-15, 17:42
edited about 4 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From BiologicalNMR:
Quote From Eds:
Quote From BiologicalNMR:
One of the supervisors who initially offered me the position said it was because the UK is getting more racist.


As long as he knows more about science than he does politics!!! ;)


Well it's certainly true that the UK is getting more hysterical when it comes to immigrants.


It is obviously not racism, as you can be of whatever race you want, as long as you lived in UK for 3 years.

I just think they should not be allowed to advertise these positions as EU. They do it everywhere and often they don't even clarify it at the end of the ad but tell you to look up the details of residence criteria on their website. It's of course not a big deal (I just skip the ads of UK universities now), but I think that should be clearer. If I have to live/lived in the UK for that position, then it is UK-specific and not Europe-specific.

I also think that more and more countries try to wall off the job market, but there is nothing you can do about it. Not really surprising that the UK prefers UK students and it is only a matter of time till this will be the case in Germany, Switzerland etc too. Then you can't study in France as a UK student. I doubt that science will benefit from that, but you can apply whatever criteria you want and most countries prefer their countrymen ;)

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
21-May-15, 14:08
edited about 31 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From TreeofLife:
Quote From Dunham:
That is the nice thing about the PhD defense in other countries. You write your thesis, you submit it and it can be accepted or be refused. No corrections. Of course there will be criticism and suggestions how to improve but you are not actually correcting something.

I think this is really nice. Of course your supervisor reads it and gives input but that's it. Personally I see no point in the corrections.


Yeah I agree really. If I mention A, B and C and forget to mention D that makes some minor point it really doesn't change the outcome of my results, so what's the point in me spending weeks making these sort of amendments because it's what someone else would have done? It's a big waste of everyone's time. Makes it important to choose the 'right' examiner I guess.


This is your thesis and if you did not come up with the idea to mention that particular point then it just is like that. If you forget to mention several important points or your results are not conclusive etc. you just fail because your thesis was obviously not good enough. The corrected version might be often a "better" version but not really your accomplishment.

Thread: Can you refuse some revisions after viva?

posted
21-May-15, 13:32
edited about 3 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
That is the nice thing about the PhD defense in other countries. You write your thesis, you submit it and it can be accepted or be refused. No corrections. Of course there will be criticism and suggestions how to improve but you are not actually correcting something.

I think this is really nice. Of course your supervisor reads it and gives input but that's it. Personally I see no point in the corrections, as this is a academic achievement in form of a degree (unlike a paper). I see no point in changing my point of view just because an external examiner has a different opinion. We can of course discuss that, but you should not change content afterwards. Maybe it would be better to receive a grade for the thesis instead of changing it according to the opinion of an examiner.

However, things like structure are a different thing.

Thread: EU member not getting UK funding

posted
21-May-15, 13:03
edited about 2 minutes later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
It is really a pity. Really frustrating if you see PhD ads that match your interests and your skills almost 100% and you realize later that you can't apply as a european citizen, even though the position is advertised as open for EU citizens. The only way to get these project is finding an additional external funding source that provides your salary for the project before applying to the position.....which is rather unlikely.

I suspect that the criteria are a result of the funding source, which is often industry or industry related. They probably want to restrict this funding to UK citizens or people, who are more likely to stay after their PhD and work in the UK. Just my speculation....

I also thought about applying anyway and see if there is anoher way to receive additional funding, but I guess that a professor who has the choice won't walk that extra mile and will just choose someone who receives the full award.....

Thread: I chose the wrong institute for my PhD, what now?

posted
21-May-15, 10:12
edited about 23 seconds later
by Dunham
Avatar for Dunham
posted about 5 years ago
Quote From rockstu:


Out of interest, if I decide not to continue in academia, how much might a future employer react to a failed PhD, or a supervisor reference that wasn't great?


I think nobody can predict that. Times are hard for natural scientists in Germany, as there are just too many people majoring in chemistry, physics and biology, while the demand of that expertise is rather low. Let's say it won't be an advantage ;)
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