PhD application dilemma

03-Apr-18, 18:16
edited a moment later
Avatar for traductrice
posted about 2 years ago
Hi all, new to this forum but wondering if anyone could share an opinion on my PhD application dilemma.

A few months back I was contacted by a lecturer from my undergrad uni encouraging me to apply for one of their funded PhD projects. The project is great, perfect for my research interests and academic background, plus it is with a dept im both familiar with and great supervisors. I applied, was shortlisted for interview and had the interview a couple of weeks back. The website said yesterday would be the latest to hear back (on a bank holiday and during Easter hols?) and I have not heard anything. I was very nervous at the interview and gave a few rubbish answers and I'm convinced I haven't got it, despite being suitable on paper.

The supervisor also encouraged me to apply with the same project to a Consortium funding body associated with the uni to maximise my chances and I am due to interview for it next week. As I wrote a research proposal that was built around the advertised project at the uni, but made it my own, is it ethical to pursue the same project at the second interview? If I haven't been successful, surely the candidate they have taken on will be doing something very similar, which would make my project lack originality, and I sense that it could be problematic to try and pursue a PhD project that I didn't come up with personally, but rather adapted to my interests. Although I was encouraged to apply to both with the same project. Apart from that, of all the Consortium member unis, the one I interviewed for first has the most apt supervision... if I'm successful in the next interview I don't know if I could face working with supervisors who didn't want me first time round. Do I pull out of the second interview, should I send a follow up email to the first one? I'm really in a muddle!

Would appreciate any thoughts!! Thank you!
04-Apr-18, 18:09
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 2 years ago
Hi traductrice,

First, it is Easter holidays so things will be going slowly in Universities until next week. The delay could be good it could be bad you dont know as long as there is Easter. I would wait until next week and then politely ask if they have come to a decision as you are considering other options. Academics as you probably know are notoriously slow as responding sometimes.

So you have applied for an already funded position and to funding body as well with the same project at the same uni? I am assuming that is right for the next bit.

My opinion on the consortium is that if that it is at the same uni with the same supervisor, go for it. The supervisor(s) already has already considered the possibilities as they suggested you to do it in the first place. The supervisor is probably hoping to get two PhD students out of this as if you get the consortium funding he saves his own money to fund another person. Also if he rejects you and consortium accepts you, he still gets two PhD students. Really you have two chances at the same project with different adjudicators.

So go for the second interview as you effectively have already effectively done it before and can only get better. The external funding will look on your CV plus you will have another student working alongside you (that will help a lot). Two people working on similar projects can be very good if there is some coordination as you can help each other but avoid too much duplication.

If you are still worried send an email asking for help for the consortium interview. Ask for some feedback to help you develop your presentation (if there was one) and if they thought you had gaps in your knowledge. It would look good for you anyway.

Just remember they invited you into this process so they must think you are good enough.
04-Apr-18, 22:20
edited about 1 minute later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 2 years ago
I agree with rewt. Unis are nearly always late getting back about things like this (I recall it was 2 weeks past the deadline that they told me I had got funding). And as for the other opportunity - yes, you just have to go for both to increase your chances of getting funding. If you don't get the first one, it isn't necessarily that you weren't wanted - it is just a pragmatic matter - maybe someone else was already on the cards or something - or they had more experience than you - or maybe they even know you have applied for the other and plan to give you that (often the same people are sat on different boards). Your supervisor knows how it all works, which is why they've advised you to go for the other funding as well. It's all pragmatism.

Best of luck - hope you get offered one or both!

05-Apr-18, 03:10
edited about 8 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 2 years ago
It might also be worth remembering that thousands of lecturers have just spent the last month on strike so their minds are probably on other things right now.
05-Apr-18, 17:17
edited about 13 seconds later
Avatar for traductrice
posted about 2 years ago
Hi all,

Thank you for your replies and for sharing your thoughts/experiences, it has made me feel a much better about things.

I did think with Easter and the strikes things might be delayed, hopefully might hear back either way at the start of next week. Tricky to know whether/when to email as not wanting to appear too pushy or impatient, although waiting is torture!

Rewt - yes that is correct, it’s the same project and same uni, just two different sources of funding. I hadn’t really considered the idea of two people working within the same area of study/same programme. My concern really here is that if successful, I would potentially have to change a lot of my project (which I might sure would happen over time anyway) in order to ensure that it’s original. Will have to cross that bridge if it comes to it. Got everything crossed!


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