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Suitable laptops for science PhDs

My supervisor offered to buy me and the RA a laptop for remote working away from the lab (department ££).. I asked a friend and she suggested anything with at least i5 processor, 8GB RAM and 10hrs battery life, SSD card. I think we are getting HP Pavilion x360 which I've suggested, it's also a 2 in 1 which is a nice addition. We'll mainly use it for document writing but also running programmes like STATA, MATLAB Microsoft office and some specialist software related to equipment we use in our research.

Research Council Funding: +3.5 or 1+3?

Which RCs offer +3.5 route? I am a funded student on a +3 with BBSRC/ESRC and I've been told there will not be further funding post three year period.

Working whilst doing PhD

Thanks both. For now I'm only thinking about Y1 and will review as it goes along. I completely understand that at some point I'll likely have t reduce further/ want to get involved in other academic activities or take a complete hiatus in order to finish up on time as I don't want to go over the funding period too much if possible. I'm just wondering how people with stable careers have managed to juggle this? Wanting to keep their registrations etc. how do you do it all?!

At what stage do you approach potential supervisors?

Hi Bronin,

I went through this process last year although I was only looking for funded opportunities (of which there are many, if you are willing to put in the work to apply!). My field of study is biological and psychological science.

Timeline for me went something like this:
October: I wrote down about three paragraphs describing a potential research area and one paragraph regarding potential methodology (left very open to development). I emailed about six experts in the field at uni's who a) had funding opportunities/ were part of a DTP b) I would be willing to study at.
Nov-Jan- Developed a full proposal with input from two separate supervisors (same concept but different methodologies based on lab resources etc.)
Jan-March - Funding applications
May-Jun- Outcomes

I guess that if you are wanting to study part time and have the funds, many more supervisors will be open to working with you from the get-go, as the development of the proposal should be in collaboration with the supervisor so that they can add their expertise to this but also requires some time and effort on their part!

Hope this helps

Working whilst doing PhD

Hi all,

I am in my late 20s and have just started a PhD at a good London uni funded by a RC. My PhD project was inspired partly by the role I've had for past four years in the NHS working mainly in research and innovation spread and since starting in the NHS I have completed two MSc programmes whilst keeping my role nearly full time in order to support myself financially (none of the MSc progs were funded).

Now I'm about to start PhD I accepted that I would need to significantly reduce my hours, however the stipend, although with London weighting, is nowhere near enough to cover my living expenses so I always knew I'd have to work part time. My NHS directors have agreed to keep me on part time for 18 hours a week initially and then review later in the year. It's a high paid job (£50k full time equivalent) but most of all it allows to network with a multitude of relevant stakeholders I may wish to collaborate or work for in the future. Having attended an induction for other funded students yesterday, it's clear that everyone agreed the stipend is not enough to live off, and many were either looking for work or others who had established careers (clinicians/teachers) were working part time 1/2 days per week.

To me it makes sense to make an effort to keep my current NHS role as it's related to my field of study, it pays well, and allows me to attend events and network with important people/organisations I would have difficulty engaging otherwise. Other younger students were talking about working in bars or doing tutoring/ other university small jobs to top up their stipend which if fine, however I know that working at the university doing undergrad teaching can be very time consuming for not much pay. I accept that my decision to work in NHS will probably affect my ability to get involved in other opportunities at the university such as lecturing or supervising, but I am ok with this for now as I am not sure I want to work solely in academia, and that I will still work in industry/ practice post PhD.

Can I please find out from others who did a PhD who had a previous profession and how they went about this? Am I being foolish thinking I can juggle the two?

Invited to make full Esrc application in two DTPs

Hi Guayaba, I'm going through this process currently with UBEL. Were you successful? And did you receive any communication throughout?

ESRC management board

Hi all, I've been informed that my PhD proposal for an ESRC DTP has been nominated for an award by the DTP Panel and will now be put forward to the final stage which is the Management Board. They've told me I'm ranked 3rd out of 4 awards nominated in my pathway, all of which can be awarded. Does anyone have experience of being in this position? and what it means for my chances of being awarded?? I'm very nervous as there is conflicting information about whether the Board just ratify these decisions or whether they will be assessing all the shortlisted proposals?