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rewt
Friday, 3 November 2017 at 1:37pm
Thursday, 9 May 2019 at 8:45pm
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page 1 of 23 recent posts

Thread: Unable to get into a decent PhD program - 4 years now

posted
01-May-18, 10:59
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Applying for a PhD can be tough and rejection is always hard. If you know want to do a PhD keep trying but there comes a point where the alternative is better and only you can decide when that is.

I don't know why you are being rejected (it could be anything) but have you asked after rejections for feedback? Did they give you anything precise? Are your references good? Have you tried collaborating with researchers anyway to get their attention/publications/reference? It sounds like you working hard to try and get your foot through the door but it might be something simple that is tripping you up. I would look at the basics again.

Though my honest first opinion is that IT is incredibly ageist. They are always after the next young superstar which means even in your late 20s you are seen as old. It might be an idea to try a few applications that have no years in it and none of your post-uni experience (keep the conference papers they are very good) so that they might think you have just graduated.

Goodluck!

Thread: linkage-Math+agriculture

posted
29-Apr-18, 18:56
edited about 24 seconds later
by rewt
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posted about 1 year ago
If you cant think of ideas for your project you aren't well read in enough in the field you want to spend several years working in. Generally, when you read papers in your field you will find holes or areas that need further attention, thus giving you ideas. It is one of the reasons the US has coursework, it forces you to get an understanding of the field so that you can accurately choose a project.

Let's assume that you are well read and continue reading about your chosen fields but having trouble structuring an idea big enough for a PhD. So I am going to give an example of how to maybe come up with an idea where the field is sustainable agriculture and the methods have to involve fractal maths.

Start with a problem like sustainable agriculture, where we need to make more food with less damage to the environment. Take a point in the previous statement and elaborate, eg, how do we measure damage to the environment? We do further research into our intermediate question, eg, how we damage the environment? And we find and read about one small topic like soil erosion, which we find out is hard to measure on small scale but we can do it on a large scale. We then think how can we improve measurement techniques. Then after more reading, we come up with a hypothesis can, can you measure the bulk properties of soil and use that to find the microscopic properties of soil using fractal equations? We then do more reading to find out is it possible and if anyone else has done it, if you can answer yes and no respectively, you have a possible PhD idea.

I hope that method is clear on how to possibly form an idea. Good ideas dont appear out of nowhere and take a lot of effort to form. ie READ MORE!

PS: your two topics are very far apart and so my honest opinion is it will take a lot of work to make a connection

Thread: What to do after B Sc.in Criminal Justice?

posted
27-Apr-18, 13:32
edited about 5 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Hi williebald,

Not an expert in criminal justice/ forensic science/ US university system but I will give it a go.

Most courses say what their requirements are and there is usually the catch-all "or other relevant field". So I would check each of the courses yourself and give them a call/email to check. Though it is a science degree and as such having a law based bachelors course isn't going to look good. Forensic science is a science subject and they will be expecting you to have basic maths, problem-solving skills and maybe basic chemistry/biology. If you want to go down forensic science you will probably need to show the admissions staff you have the relevant skills as a pre-requisite, which can only be determined with a call.

If you are wondering what to do a masters in general. What topic interested you the most in your course? Explore that area and find a course that is relevant, as doing a masters that you are interested in always helps.This a personal decision and only you know what is right for you, so sit down and do alottttt of research to find what is right for you.

Thread: hepl-Phd-subject

posted
26-Apr-18, 10:41
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Nesrine, asking random people on the internet is not the best way to chose a thesis topic. Really you should have been reading the field and found a topic that interests you enough that you want to spend several years researching.

Though if you want sustainable agriculture topics, can you look at making lignocellulosic crops viable for biorefinery technology? As we need lots of cheap feed for biorefineries even if it is low sugar/high cellulose. Or find out with what to go with all the cow dung is produced (cough anaerobic digestion) and how changing the cow's diet could improve the value of the cow dung. Or how to reduce cows flatulence. Or can you create a way to speed up the genetic mutations of plants so that we can possibly get super drought-resistant wheat?

Or if you a fractal/math theme. Is there a mathematical model to determine the best route to till/sow a field with an autonomous tractor. As reducing the distance traveled /speed could reduce carbon emissions. Or can we determine the weight/size of a cow from aerial photos so that we can monitor on a large-scale the variables that affect cow growth? Or can you develop a model to estimate the amount of food in the field using aerial data to determine the optimum harvest date?

I have no idea about farming or agriculture but I gave it a go.

Thread: Which statistical test can be used for comparison of reation rates ?

posted
26-Apr-18, 09:59
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
iiwanovic, that makes more sense now.

I wouldn't try to prove equivalence but do analysis of variance (ANOVA). It is where you are comparing how different variables affect the overall result. Ie take all your data with all the variables and analyze them together to get an overall equation. It means you can possibly look at interactions between the variables and thus determine the more important variables. It lets you use your entire data set at the same time and you can compare anything as long as it has the same output (ie yield or conversion).

I don't really understand the underlying theory so not going to try and explain it but I use DesignExpert to do all my multi-variable analysis. There are a few other software options like MiniTab or SPSS that do similar or you can try ANOVA from scratch.

Hope that helps

Thread: Grants database?

posted
25-Apr-18, 18:21
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Hi lucedan,

Thanks that looks good, I will give it a try. Though it is sad that the grant databases are all subscription models when a lot of the money is from charities and government. I don't ask myself as my supervisor is always asking herself.

Literally, at the end of every meeting, my supervisor always says something like "I want to do X but don't have the money, I am applying to Y, do you know anywhere else I can try" to one of the other attendees. Usually, they suggest somewhere. She also regularly asks at the end of an email something like " do you know any new funding opportunities coming up?" Her attitude is to ask people after having a conversation about something else and generally, people are helpful.

I know in my university there are various funding co-ordinators who as part of their job actively look for money and send out weekly emails. Maybe you could find someone similar?

Thread: Which statistical test can be used for comparison of reation rates ?

posted
25-Apr-18, 18:01
edited about 19 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
My opinion is that statistics aid an argument but cant compensate for bad experimental design. Understanding the theory first is better than trying to use statistics to determine a conclusion especially with equivalence in what I assume is chemistry/biology.

Do you have 4 sets of experiments measuring the same reaction or different reactions? If you are using four different methods you need to understand how the methods would affect the result (ie are you actually keeping everything the same). If it is different reactions they are different reactions and looking at theory is better than using statistics. It could coincidence that they are the same or they have a similar rate limiting step(or mechanism) but you need the theory first.

More details would be helpful but I would really recommend looking at the underlying theory to see if equivalence is possible or is it just coincidence.

Thread: Research Opportunities for Medical Students

posted
25-Apr-18, 17:34
edited about 25 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Is this the right place to advertise possible Ph.D. topics without having a host university or funding?

I would also say that a Ph.D. student conducting a clinical trial without expert organization (cough pharma companies) would not be approved by the ethics board of most universities. They gave me a hard time and I am not even working with patients, apparently endangering your own life is an ethics issue even if you have an approved risk assessment.

Thread: Grants database?

posted
25-Apr-18, 17:23
edited about 1 second later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
I honestly don't know of any grants database. It would be nice if there was one though.

If you are trying to find grants asking around in the faculty is a good idea. I know in my department there are regular emails about grant opportunities coming up from various bodies. You can also ask researchers directly as a lot of them may be in sperate fields/institutes/email lists that have open funding. Like I got a training grant from an obscure research network that my supervisor was told about by a friend. A lot of the smaller grant bodies don't advertise that much so asking around to find them can help.

Thread: Offer Letter

posted
23-Apr-18, 17:22
edited about 24 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Hi Yandex,

Offers can take a while to go through the bureaucracy, I would give it at least two weeks.

I had about 3 weeks between being confirmed verbally and actually getting an official offer via email. They will have to do a lot of bureaucratic stuff like check eligible for the bursary, check references (if they are), check if you actually achieved the actual grades, put all of the above onto the IT system before having someone review over it all. Each step could also be done by different people also dragging it out, so don't be worried.

If the supervisor wanst you, there is a very good chance you will get it an official offer but some things can't be rushed. Though I don't know University is Salford procedures so there could be more to it.

Hope that helps and congrats on passing that interview!

Thread: I don't want to divorce! But would I have to?

posted
19-Apr-18, 09:09
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From tru:
Hi, Bloop,

I agree with rewt that a supervisor with little experience will make mistakes. However, I disagree that one has to put up with these mistakes at the cost of one's PhD quality. Your research fellowship/postdoc application does not distinguish between a fully supported PhD lab and one that was not. It is not necessarily true that a first time supervisor will put in extra effort to get you through. I know at least three students who had the unfortunate experience of becoming student no 1 who was neglected while the supervisor was trying to establish his/her lab. Besides, the supervisor generally will not put their best idea forward for student no 1 because they know they have better chance of success when they have established networks/collaborators, have established a research team with trained technicians, have preliminary data and know the academic system better. In other words, generally PhD student no 2 or 3 gets better quality PhD project. I have seen many examples of this. An inexperienced PhD supervisor may have less knowledge to discuss/troubleshoot problems and their reference letter may not be as highly regarded as an experienced/established one.


Being the first Ph.D. student does mean your supervisor will make mistakes but you can also get far more skills and experience than being the second or third student. I am both my supervisor's first Ph.D. student but also the first student in a new research group. I have had to learn/develop several new techniques which I have already got 2 long external lab visits from. Because there is no real research group I am somehow collaborating with researchers from other countries instead. I don't have all the right lab equipment though I have learned so much amount the understanding methodologies to compensate.

An inexperienced but well-motivated supervisor isn't bad if you take is an opportunity to step up and don't expect to be spoon-fed everything. You just have to work harder for better results.

Thread: Citing Authors I haven't read

posted
18-Apr-18, 10:28
edited about 25 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
I think it is always better to give too many citations than leave some out. I would check how many citations this book already has. As if it has quite a few citations just cite is as other people have already reviewed it and thought it noteworthy. If it barely has any citations I would be more skeptical.

Just because you haven't read it doesn't mean that you dont have to acknowledge it. The book still exists and your reviewers might be able to read it and you dont want them asking why haven't you cited it. If your supervisor thinks it is relevant, take that as your verification of it being relevant enough to cite. The worst case scenario is that you get accused of plagiarism of their work and citing it generally stops all that nonsense (I know it is far fetched but that is why cite other people).

Thread: I don't want to divorce! But would I have to?

posted
18-Apr-18, 10:19
edited about 29 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Hi Bloop,

Are you married or something? As when you say "divorce" in the title it suggests there is a relationship or do you mean that you want to quit your PhD?

It sounds like your supervisor is inexperienced but that happens. Mine finished her PhD in 2015 and I am first Ph.D. student so I am in a similar position. You got to remember she is just as inexperienced as you but she is actively working at it and learning from mistakes. She will make mistakes but she will also probably put far more effort into getting you across the finish line than other supervisors as you are her first one. She may be super busy but it sounds like she is making time for you, which is a very good plus as a lot of supervisors barely respond. She may lack an eye for detail but maybe ask other PhD students to proofread and vice versa?

About dr Freeloader, we all know those freeloaders/second supervisors that are annoying but what harm are they doing? A third name on a paper isn't that much in the grand scheme of things but I know that it is annoying but you may be able to return the favor one day. Also did you not want a second supervisor or want to chose your own? Because having a second supervisor is always bloody useful and if you chose your own you could always have the dreaded supervisors not agreeing situation. Remember you are a still student.

You complain about the research focus, not 100% aligned with your interests but that is a sad sad part of academia. Unis get money from universities to research particular things and if you want their money stick with it, there is less and less unallocated money these days. If you really want a career in academia you better get used to following the money.

How far into the PhD are you? As it is always easier to quit the earlier through it you are but the grass is not always greener.

Thread: PhD with a 2.1 and a Pass

posted
16-Apr-18, 20:12
edited about 6 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
I got a mid-low 2:1 (including on dissertation) but got a fully funded PhD. From all accounts, they were impressed with my written application and I nailed the interview. So you can definitely do it with a 2:1.

I think they will read applications from anyone with a 2:1 or above but you need to make yourself stand out to compensate for the low grades or have a very good excuse. Grades are good indication of how much you know/ work ethic so you need to be better than the other applicants in other areas. If you think you can do that go for it or even go for a self-funded one.

Though I was that guy that drank 4-5 nights a week and never turned up, so maybe I am just lucky.

Thread: How to deal with lack of attendance (lecturing)

posted
12-Apr-18, 21:01
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 year ago
Quote From butterfly20:
Rewt I love that suggestion! I'm not sure I'd get away with it where I am. I also didn't attend alot when I was an undergrad but I never had the balls to email the lecturer to ask, I used to rely on friends!


Yeah, I never had the balls to email the lecturer if I didn't turn up either.

Is there a book that you could refer them too, instead of answering them individually? Or give them some pre-made notes? Or if they are asking the same questions, tell them to ask the other person who asked/ forward them those emails. The department wants you to be supportive and available but you dont need to give a tailored perfect answer every time. Directing them to the right place may be enough.

Or every time they ask a question, say "is this what you mean ..." and copy/paste the answer from someone else. Half-time they might just drop it but the really dedicated ones will only ask the second time. Could be a good screening process but I have no experience in teaching a full class, so take my ideas with a pinch of salt.
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