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Hm, I don't know how those things work with your university, but we have very strict rules how to spend the money that we received from funding bodies. We have to keep bills and make some sort of expenses lists - and if we are unlucky it could happen that something is crossed of the list (and therefore is not funded) when the funding body checks it. Thats especially fun when the money was already spent...

Perhaps this kind of argumentation works with your husband too? You haven't earned it for the family, the university has given it specificly too you to invest into the career of one of their "staff members". Personally, as an university, I would be very pissed if you use it instead for the trip for the repair of a broken washing machine or so.. I would be very vary to spend it this way - at least in my country you could run in legal problems..

Considering a PhD when you know you don't want to work in academia

Hi there,

First, ignore 1). Everybody feels underqualified when they enter a phD ;).
The question is, do you really want to pursue a phD to expand your knowledge or is it just a "the grass is greener on the other side of the pond" kind of thing.

Only you can answer that truly to yourself. If you want to go for the phD, I would think a part time phD is an option here. You have already some experience as a medical writer, so perhaps you can reduce your hours (or find a part time assignment) and do the phD part time, too. Therefore, you wont loose all your income and stay put in a field where you have alreay some experience.

It won't be easy and will eat away a massive chunk of your time for the next years - but its also (at least for me) a lot of fun, intresting things and flexing my creative and intellectual muscles to their limit.

As for what to do after phD: In time, normally more options pop up. Since you have already a job to fall back to, I would just wait and see, where the journey takes you (if you decide to pursue it).

PhD or Masters to work in biotech/pharmaceutical industry

A colleague of mine was overseeing clinical trials - even without a MSc. She made her path the hard way by starting working in a hospital, then taking responsibility for the organisational part in clinical studies and from there she switched to a clinical studies contractor and worked her way upwards the ladder.

So it IS possible, although I got the impression that most people expect you to have a MSc./Phd at this level of responsibility.

Can I do 2 Phd's ? If so, can I tell my prospective supervisor that I am already doing a Phd?

The only thing why I would actually consider the UK Phd is the funding - IF you get one! Its normally not the case that you see a paid offer, apply for it and actually get it! Beside from that I would rather prefer to organize a lab exchange where you learn for a limited amount of time a new technique at at partner university and then come back home and implement it there. Thats at least how it works in life science . Since your not paid I highly doubt that somebody would pay your bench fee - let alone travel costs.

No chance of using your supervisor networks? He hasn't to know everything, you know? ;)

Can I do 2 Phd's ? If so, can I tell my prospective supervisor that I am already doing a Phd?

I love your reply, @KimWipes. Saved me from dropping dead from my chair while working on a presentation in the middle of the night ;-)

Back to lils original posting:

I have only experience in life sciences/medicine, but here its highly unlikely that you manage to do two phDs at the same time. One phD is normally considered at least as a full time job (40 hours minimum, 3 years) - normally its more like 50 to 60 hours/week that you end with. If you do the phD part-time and have a normal job on the side to provide you with income, the duration of your phD will increase up to 5 years. And it is expected that you work twice as hard to cram as many hours or phD work within your day beside your "normal" work - hence its "easiest" to have a phD related work where you can actually do some things for your phD in your working hours. I doubt that its even possible to do two part time phDs - let alone on two different continents!

And I am pretty sure that no sane supervisor will accept you if you tell them that you are already working on your phD.

Potential supervisor's work is mostly unrelated to project.

Hi, personally, I would ask how the idea evolved or if there is a strong cooperation with the health department. If he has a good explanation or research partners that are willing to guide you through the health part of your topic - go for it.

As an example: I am working in a multidisciplinary field and am used to getting input from different sources. I can't rely only on my supervisor because he's an expert in one of my fields - but has little knowledge in the two other fields. Hence I spend at least half a week each month at a different university (where our research partners are) and learn techniques from them or get input for my latest data. Works fine - but you have to organize such things yourself. They won't be served on a silver plate ;-).

Interesting article on whether the traditional thesis format should be maintained

Here in Austria, there is the possibility (in life sciences/medicine) to achieve your phD by publishing one to two first author papers in a peer reviewed journal (at the time of defense both must be at least have the status accepted with revisions). It doesn't shorten the phD itself (3 years mininmum) - contrary it strengthens your position at the defense since you have already produced "new" knowledge. Hence, its nearly impossible to dismiss your thesis because of lack of contribution to the field which is the danger when doing "only" a monographie;-).

Most people that I know of aim for the (at our university) two papers amd add then a conceptual framework to make a nice "story" out of it. Such cumulative dissertations can be as short as 50-70 pages.

As far as i know, its possible that one of the papers is a review - I have no idea if a short communication would count, too. Thats depends on the head of the research team at the given university.

Corrections and more corrections - my supervisor is tiring me

If they are really improving your thesis and are not going in circles (you make a correction and next time he wants you to correct it back to the original state), I would personally bite the bullet and do them.

Perhaps its easier for you if its not one or the other. Try to make the corrections in blocks (tomatoes work well for this because its a fixed, short amount of time) and reward yourself with working on a new chapter (or something differently, whatever works for your) inbetween.

Works at least for me when I have to do tedious tasks. 2 tomatoes of corrections, 5 minutes pause to browse the forum ;-).

Research assistant + PhD?

If it is that simple ... actually, it was quite the opposite - we had a leakage in one of the labs above us which left us with a nasty surprise on monday after the weekend. And since I am responsible to get all devices up and running again, it was a lot of work (and dozens of phone calls with service teams)..

Have I mentioned that this was the week where I was expected to give a presentation which was crucial for the decision to receive money from the funding body for the next three years (or not)? ;-)

My advice: Hold tight and pretend it's a plan ;-)

PhD age limit?

Common in Austria for the phD programs (28-30 years depending on university). They only allow older applicants if you have a good explanation for studying at "that old age". Kids and caring for sick people count, I doubt that my "studied the wrong thing and worked for 10 years" would be sufficient ;).

Its really sad - the programs are looking for the streamlined students. Those, who didn't derail from the given path. Honestly, I doubt that its the best thing that they are doing, but I understand it at least. Its easier to measure and compare students when they are more or less equal at their current state of life.

If you would find true excellence by doing that - well I leave that open to discussion.

But, to be honest - age discrimination doesn't end with phD programs. Looking at my life (female, probably 38 when finishing the phD with 1-2 kids) I am absolutly sure that a career in academia is nothing that I ever could achieve. I was well aware of that in the beginning and it won't change anything - but I am truly sad because I think I could bring a lot of life experience and fresh ideas to the table. But thats not what the universities are looking for..

Research assistant + PhD?

I am sort of an RA (actually thats what they are paying me, in reality I am technician, labmanager and phD student all in one). I won't lie, its one hell of a job, especially when the lab is on fire, you have courses to attend and deadlines pending.

My weekly workload is around 50-60 hours, depending whats going on in my lab life. I plan to finish within 4 years - thats what my boss offered me. At the moment I think its doable - actually I was working on the project for a year before I upgraded to the phD. Without the extra year upfront it would me more tricky to finish on time.

Make sure to know exactly what is expected for you to complete the phD. For me its two first autor publications, 20 ects points in course work, weekly attendance of labmeeting and the institue seminar, as well as 2 conferences that I should attend per year.

I've the feeling that my PI doesn't trust/respect me

The trick is to learn to live with other peoples habits. As long as they are not directly interfering with your experiments (used up last bit of reagent and didn't reorder it for example), its his right to do experiments his way - as it is your right to do experiments your way.

Just speculating, but if your post doc is a "wing it" personality, your approach could look like a huge waste of time in his/her eyes.

The challenge is to make teams with different characters work and get the best out of them. Thats normally the job of your PI. Because at the end of the day, you need both types of people in your team:

The one that can wing an experiment at the last minute and offer nice data that you urgently need for a presentation AND the one that generates very robust and reliable data that you will need later on for publication.

So, normally its live and let live ;-)

Part time PhD student... struggling. Any advice/support/experience worth sharing?

Hi, I have no real tips, I can only motivate you to hang in there. Hopefully, it will get better soon!

I am also doing a part-time phD. In my case its lab work mostly and since we have an evaluation soon I am currently working 12 hours a day minimum in the lab and normally 1-2 hours extra in the evening. The backlog of things that I would have to do for my "other" 50 % of the job is huge at the moment (and the list is getting longer literally by the minute). The only thing keeping me up and running is that my husband is very supportive and taking care of our son.

Feeling massively inadequete

Hi there,

its always dangerous comparing yourself to another person. All you can see is the shiny outside, you don't normally get a peek at the not so shiny inside. Think about facebook - people tend to post and blog about the nice things in life, not about how isolated and lonely they feel. That doesn't mean that those feelings are not there, only that we don't share them with the outside world to keep the picture of the nice, happy, beautiful girl intact.

I can't comment on beautiful, because I am not (although my husband tells me repeatedly that I am), but I can comment on success. If you just look at my polished outside, you will see somebody now working for 12 years in life sciences full time. While working, I did a bachelors degree, a masters degree (in my spare time), got married, got a son and started now my phd. People see me as extremely successful - some are even envy.

What you don't see is that I suffer from severe depression - once in my life it was that worse that I thought about jumping in front of a train. I feel constantly useless, a waste of time for my husband and that my success was pure luck. And I fear that someday, the people will realize that too.

So don't feel bad because you can't keep up with a shiny outside. You don't know what's going on inside! As long as your supervisor is happy and your project performing as you expect, everything is fine. Don't panic, nobody is perfect! ;-)

Kind regards

Deciding on PhD topic with too many interests?

@cloudofash: Well I AM an expert - at working interdisciplinary ;-). Due to my different topics I have never enough time to deepen my knowledge in one.. and since I am always working on the fringes it feels more like creating new fields than to become expert in a known field. For example, I feel always like I know next to nothing when I talk with the aging specialists or the dermatologists. I understand both and can combine their knowledge, but I can't keep up with the deep knowledge of the fields that both have.

We have people in our department who work for 7+ years on ONE protein.. they are the experts, have the nature papers and I am pretty sure they will be one day bright group leaders.

But its the story of my life - I am even the nerd between nerds because of my clashing hobbies. I am used to it - and the thought of working on one protein for the rest of my life (or even 7 years) sounds really scary ;-D.