applying for a PhD as a member of a research team

09-Jan-17, 16:45
Avatar for Twilight_Cee
posted about 3 years ago
Hi All,

Just looking for some general information. I recently started a job as a research assistant as part of a small research team. I originally thought that applying for a PhD studentship was not an option, especially on a full-time basis, as I couldn't afford the pay cut (my current salary is £26K p/a, which barely covers my mortgage and living expenses). What would my options be, if any, with my current job role? I'm fairly new to this type of role and so it'd be great to find out what my options are in a concise manner, rather than being bombarded with information.

Thanks :)
09-Jan-17, 17:16
Avatar for kikothedog
posted about 3 years ago
It will really depend on the length of your contract and your day to day role within the group. I know several RAs who tried to do phds part time with 3/4 not completing due to their workload or because they moved on to other jobs. One is in her 4th year doing it and is still happy with her progress.

If you are working very similar tasks throughout the year then it's easier to then have a basis for a phd project but if you're constantly working different projects then it won't be so easy. What you need to be is a contributing factor, not the postdoc your doing bench work for or another student. This makes it harder as you can say the lab developed a method using x to get data on y, I can develop a method using w, x, z to better understand y. That can be a hard thing as it might be the next logical step for the project anyway and gets taken out of your hands.

What you need is to be able to go to your PI and discuss it and show that you can get your RA job done and have enough time during the work week to devote a day (at least) to a project that's going to benefit the lab and be at phd level. That way there may not be too much additional cost to the lab to register you as a phd student.


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