Presenting a poster that's not really my own


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I am in my second year of PhD in cancer biology and still don't have real data to present because I have been having difficulty focusing on one specific topic... (FYI, I am in Canada, and here, the average length of time to complete a PhD is 4-5 yrs.. and it varies a lot). A conference is coming up and my supervisor wants me to present a project that I have never been involved in. She suggested that I work intensely on data analysis for a couple of weeks and then present a poster so that I can up my profile a bit. What are your thoughts on this? I am not sure if it is the right thing to do because (1) it wouldn't be fair to those who did the real work, and (2) I don't think it's something I will feel proud of when I look back years later... but perhaps I am being naive. I would love to hear your perspectives on this!


Hi Verena,

difficult dilemma.

I think it would be OK if the people who are involved in the project, are aware and agree that you are going to present their work at the conference. As long as that is the case and you really want to go the conference, that it may be worthwhile. However, if it would be the opposite, if you feel that things are done behind people's back, if you have a bad feeling around the whole thing, I would keep my fingers off. I think it would be good to address these issues first before spending several weeks on the data analysis.

If you decide not to do it, be careful in how you present this to your supervisor, probably a good idea to be diplomatic regarding why you do not want to do it. Good luck!:-)


I think that if you the analysis and interpretation of the data you will have done a big part of the work. Talk with the researchers who have collected the data, maybe you can even write a paper as a team. Maybe they don't have time for the conference especially if it is not a very important one.


Thanks for your thoughtful responses, Dr. Jeckyll and Rick. They help a lot.

I am more inclined to decide against it, but I still need to think more about how to best address this issue and justify my decision...


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