I have an issue with my supervisor. I am in my fourth year PhD study and my supervisor wants me to write a funding application from my PhD topics in which he knows little about!. As a student, I am not allowed to be a PI or CI in the funding application because that is UKERC regulation is. They want a Uni staff. The supervisor therefore will be the PI along with a group of other collaborators as CI. The supervisor promised that if the funding is successful, I will be the RA of the project!
Obviously, it is me who will write the idea and the funding application so why I give that for free? Is this morally acceptable from the supervisor’s point of view?
He said that in all UK universities, this is the norm in which the supervisor takes the PhD student idea and apply for funding. Also said that the IP of a PhD student work belongs to the Uni and therefore the supervisor can write funding application from the student work without asking!
Anyone please faced similar issue?
Yep that is the norm. The funding system is skewed towards permanent members of staff and deals like this allows you to skirt it. Generally if you write most of the application the supervisor will give you more freedom to do it your way, so it is your project in all but name. I know it might sound wrong but writing an application in your supervisor's name is a lot easier than applying in your own name.
I can share a story I heard first hand about this issue;
In my field there is a well known professor that received a 8 million euro grant a few years back
As part of the grant his research group has published a lot of high quality papers that have redefined the topic
This professor has won awards based of his research groups work
When you talk with the professor you will realise he doesn't understand the basic chemistry
The professor did not write the proposal
Before the grant one of his PhD student got sidetracked and his research went into a different field
The PhD student wrote his thesis on a topic outside the professor's main field
The PhD student became a postdoc and wrote the 8 million euro proposal based on his PhD project
When they won the grant the postdoc became a lecturer and virtually ran the research group
The professor only did the paperwork and occasionally did presentations on the project
Both the professor's and the PhD student's names are on every journal paper
The original PhD student is now a professor
The original professor still doesn't understand the chemistry
Everyone is happy
The original PhD student had a great idea but he personally could not get funding. So by using his supervisors name on the proposal the great idea got funding. The PhD student and the professor both got something out of the arrangement.
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