funding, competition, and standards of work

Avatar for Eska

Hi folks, this is related to KC's thread, but I don't want to hijack it, so here is my own:

HHmmmm, I'm having a bit of a confidence tremor today: I asked my sup about funding as I ear-wigged him discussing a pot of money availale in the department with another student, just that they might be able to apply for it, so I wrote to him asking if there is any funding available. He said that my 'track record (previous degree results etc) would not be strong enough to put me at he top of the pile' (I have a bare pass for my MA due to political shenannegans and a 2:1 at BA), given that funding is scarce and competition in the department strong. So does this mean I'm crap - was he being tactful (he is usually refreshingly and re-assuringly honest and direct, almost blunt)? Or just that you have to get firsts to get funding on my manor? Do you think this refelcts on my PhD work? I'm quite intimidated by the standards of some of the students' work and there is a symposium coming up so I think I'm feeling a bit nervous anyhow.



It doesn't mean you're crap at all Eska! If anything I'd say that he was continuing his usual approach of being fairly blunt. If funding is scarce then what little there is will automatically go to the students (or supervisors) who have the highest marks/publications/etc, it doesn't always make sense but it's an easy way for those distributing the funds to make and justify their decisions. I wouldn't assume that it reflects on the quality of your work at all. Try not to worry :-)

Avatar for Eska

Thank you Teek, I'm feeling super sensitive, I guess. And his response was possibly the best I could get outside of offering me some money. He is usually very honest about my performance etc and lets me know about any shortfalls, so his word is reliable.

Thank you again, Teek, have some love: :-x


Hi Eska,

It sounds like he was being honest and fair. And on the plus side, if he told you to go for it when he thought you were unlikely to get it you'd be wasting lots of time (these applications suck time like a Dyson!), so he's helped you in that sense. If his track record is honest and reliable, then it sounds like he's just being matter of fact.

The comparing and confidence thing is so dangerous (she says from experience)! You'll do fine at the symposium - hopefully it will give you a confidence boost

Good luck

CG x

Avatar for Eska

======= Date Modified 20 Mar 2010 00:22:56 =======
Hi Cakegirl, yeah, I always do well at conferences so I'll probably be ok. It does actually feel a it unfair that degrees I took over ten years ago, and one at which there was no way on earth the lecturers would give any student a first, have such a bearing on funding now, especially if my current performance is equal to my peers. I struggle horrendously with finances, as any unfunded PhD does - in a way I feel that my dedication in having done this for so long could be recognised as a kind of top up to my degree classes! I suspect sime funded students would not make such sacrifices, and maybe not be such dedicated academics - but, of course, I would think that. However, I do accept that this is the system,a nd that this is how the decisions are made. I guess the whole places in piles thing that has to go along with funding allocation makes comparisons necessary. I think discussions around here in which some funded PhDs have said they think self-funded students are not as good academically have made me feel a bit self conscious about that, especially at the moment with this news and with me feeling all sensitive anyway.

I totally agree that he saved me a lot of time and effort, Id much rather be told this way than go through the whole application process.