Signup date: 05 Jun 2006 at 10:08pm
Last login: 05 Jan 2023 at 10:56pm
Post count: 623
Hi, I'm not sure about all funding bodies, but I know some usually only fund complete programmes. I've know people secure funding in their second and third years, but this has been from departmental/university money, rather than from external bodies. So yes it is possible, but sources may be limited.
*So if you are from a red brick university but have no publications, bottom of the pile for you!*
So true. While doing my PhD (at a top 10 uni) they advertised for lecturers in the dept. A friend of mine was on the shortlisting panel and talked about the process. Apparently they had 60 odd applications for two posts. The first stage of screening was not where people studied, grades/degree class, etc. It was list of publications. Anyone who had less that 5 papers was rejected outright, irrespective of anything else. They then prioritised those who had already been awarded their PhDs, as opposed to those who were nearing completion. So someone who had completed from a ex poly was more likely to be shortlisted than that someone from a redbrick who hadn't quite finished.
The outcome? The jobs went to an internal applicant (a postdoc who'd done her PhD there) and to someone from an ex poly.
"No-one will let me forget the poly" This statement saddens me too. Why would anyone want to forget about something they've worked hard to achieve? People will only look down on you if you let them. We need to lose this uncertainty and speculation as to whether we're "good enough". If you're accepted for a PhD, you ARE good enough.
Maybe my view is coloured my subject (psychology), I don't know. I do know that there are basic standards that have to be met in terms of practical application of the discipline. People have to meet certain criteria before they can even apply for doctoral study, let alone post doc jobs. This means doing an accredited undergrad or conversion course (lots of these being ex polys). When we recruit, it's essential that someone's done an accredited course rather than if they went to a new or old uni. And if we are recruiting post doc jobs, it really doesn't matter where they did the Phd as long as they have one and it's relevant.
DrWho, I'm really sorry you feel that way. It sounds like you've had a rough time with very narrow minded peopple, but I think your situation is uncommon. IMO, people who denigrate others' academic backgrounds (especially when those others have gained high quals) harbour deep insecurities themselves. And I am sure if I met the "eminent academic" s/he and I would have a few words. When deciding to go for a PhD studentship - in which you invest a huge amount of time, not to mention academic and personal endeavour - such advice is, frankly, ridiculous.
No one gives two hoots about my first degree (also from an ex poly) I worked hard and got a good academic position straight after my PhD. I am treated with equal respect as everyone else. Always have been, always will be. I don't consider myself "less worthy" and certainly don't let others make me feel thay way (in fairness, no-one tries).
It's not about where you go - it's about how you market yourself
Slight aside, but one of the things I've also noticed when reviewing applications and references, is that the refs from top profs at prestigious unis do not tell us much about the candidate. Perhaps it's an assumption that the institution will "speak for itself", or because the established profs don't have time to write comprehensive refs, but either way it doesn't help. I've seen some 5 line ones that say "Candidate was my PhD student for X years in Y subject, and did A, B, and C. I recommend them for the position".
All well and good, but no matter where they studied it doesn't tell us much about someone's general ability and character. Even if we see that the person has been to oxbridge, references like that convey nothing about their suitability for the job and would probably be viewed cautiously.
As someone who helps shortlist people for our research team, I know that if PhDs are required, no one cares where it was done (Internet purchases excepted!) We consider candidates’ PhDs in terms of the relevance of their work. We're more bothered about the person's ability to undertake research (and if they've got a PhD, new or old uni, that’s pretty solid evidence). It's not productive to judge candidates on the basis of universities’ whole reputations.
Is someone's academic background is from new unis it certainly doesn't negatively influence our shortlisting. If you have a PhD, you can pretty much do what you want with it. BHCs observations are right, but I think are more relevant when you make career choices *post* PhD. (IE, if you want to err more on the research side, on older institution is better positioned to support you. If you prefer teaching and engagement with students, a newer place is ideal)
AS others have said, it would be hard to challenge yout supervisors's authorship overall - I think it's a given that they are listed somewhere.
However they should not automatically assume that they are the first author. If he/she creates a fuss, you can suggest joint first authorship. By going 50/50 on things neither will lose out.
**I think its naive to say reputation doesnt matter in research**
That's not what's being said.
I take your point BHC, about RAE stuff, impact factors, older unis being more research led, etc. This is largely true, but if newer institutions are offering fully funded PhDs (as the thread starter has seen), then they too are attracting research money. OK, a new uni as a whole might not generate as much research income as its older counterpart. But if the subject area that you want to work in has a good dept, has funding, can support its students adequately, has a good core team of staff, and happens to be in a new uni, I think it's more naive to discount those factors at the expense of choosing a nominally prestigious place that fails to tick the other boxes.
Lyds, you said you'd applied, have you been accepted? I'm reading it as you're in the process of applying, so have framed my answer as such..
By the time you reach PhD level, the reputation of the university is of little consequence. Whatever you do, DON'T choose a PhD programme solely because of a university's overall repuation. THES rankings are based on lots of factors that are irrelevant to a PhD (such as 'A' level grade entry, overall staff/student ratio, etc)
The most important things to consider without exception are your potential supervisor's ability, reputation and his/her PhD supervisory record, and the *department* reputation - not the uni as a whole.
... when you pick up your library card on you desk, only to have it not work when you get to the library. Turns out it's the one you cancelled several months ago after looking high and low. Time to look for the the valid one... amongst the office detritus
Another good thread! I have lost friends through the PhD - they (wrongly) made the assumption that I wanted to just socialise with PhD types and academics, and just put the barriers up themselves. i never indicated anything of the sort. Even my own Mum, who I normally get on well with, often trots out the "Ooh, I feel I can;t talk to you normaly anymore since you becasme a Dr." line, especialy when she's trying to win an argument!
I also got sick of the "oh, off to another conference? Bloody easy life!" - er, no it wasn't actually. In addition to the stress of presenting I didn't like being away from home and partner.
It does annoy me when people don't seem to recognise it for the hard endeavour it is...
Sorry, had to split this - keeps saying message is too big!
Everyone's circumstances are different, it sounds like your gran was poorly for a long time and that her death was "expected". I bet she would be really proud of you for going to the conference. Ultimately it is down to you, but others have given some great advice. Consider if the conference is a yearly thing - will there be a chance for you to go again under the auspices of the University? Talk to your family, but most of all, look after yourself. That is what my Grandad said to me the night he died, and I'm sure your gran would say the same to you. Take care.
I am so sorry for your loss. My grandfather died unexpectedly last yeat and it is very painful. If I had this choice, I would have forfeited the conference, but my grandparents practically brought me up, and Grandad was more like a parent. As his death was sudden, I was in shock and wouldnt have even been able to attend a conference anyway. You sound more prepared. What I do know, is that if I had been in that situation, I know he would have wanted me to go.
This is a great thread and provokes discussion on what defines a "solid educational background". People would probably say I had a solid background in terms of educational ecomonics (Private school, etc). But I don't think of it as solid at all. Instead I see it thougth what I've studied, and see the lack of linearity there. My UG and taught PG degrees were in totally different disciplines to my PhD. Some people tell me that's a great advantage, as it shows I am capable of working in different areas, but others may see it as a weakness. TBH, even though I have my PhD I don't necessarily feel specialist or "expert" in anything, particularly.
Totally agree with this...
**I'm not sure that a taught education gives you the best background for any research, what you need is to be able to do things under your own steam.**
It's been said that a Phd is about 10% intelligence and 90% persistence, and if you've got that 90% I think educational background is less important
"Most research assistant posts are for post-doc only"
Not true - research *associate* is usually post-doc (but not always) - research fellow certainly is, but assistantships typically don't demand a PhD (not in the UK anyway). Nomenclature can vary from place to place, granted. Going for a research technician job may be OK but is not generally seen as an academic trajectory if you want a PhD. Personally I think that would be a tangential move.
Best bet is to see if you get invited to interview for some Research Assistant posts, and ask the interviewers if it is possible for the Research Assistant project work to count towards a PhD.
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