Funding for further research from my PhD - but without me

08-Oct-18, 18:17
edited about 11 seconds later
Avatar for ShirakawaKaede
posted about 8 months ago
I'm nearing the end of my PhD. After a long time of stuff not working, it is now starting to work. Patents look likely. The people who fund me are excited, and perhaps willing to fund more research on my PhD topic. My supervisors are talking about funding proposals, getting an RA in (possibly). They've pretty much said it won't be me.

Is this usual? It feels really awful doing research which is finally coming together for someone else to come along and take over and for my supervisors to not want me involved.

Anyone been in a similar situation? Any advice?
08-Oct-18, 22:49
edited about 22 minutes later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 8 months ago
Hi, ShirakawaKaede

While there isn't anything that you can do to force your supervisors to include you in future funding, there is something you can do about the patents, and that may be more valuable in the long term than you think.

The future patents are based on your intellectual property (IP) from your PhD. In other words, you are likely an inventor because you have contributed to original idea development (it mght even be your own hypothesis, not your supervisor's) and have created/developed the methods in validating that idea. In certain universities, depending on your country, the IP is owned by the PhD student... unless they make you sign this form that reassigns the IP from you (in other words, you have given up your IP to the university). And don't be bullied into giving your IP away.

My advice to you is to 1) read the terms and conditions of your funding and check on anything on IP and 2) talk to your tech transfer office. If the IP is owned/even partly contributed by you, you must be included in the patent application and if any revenue comes back because of the patent in future, you will have a share of the profit.

This may be all news to you, but patents and IP are legal stuff unlike research and academia. You can't exclude someone who has contributed and you can't include someone who hasn't contributed because he/she is a friend. This will cause the patent to be void/invalid. You may hold more advantage on IP than you actually know.
09-Oct-18, 19:04
edited about 20 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 8 months ago
I am sorry to hear about this, it is awful! I have a friend going through the same and the the way they are talking about the future of your work in front of you, must be gut-wrenching.

Have you told them you want to continue the work? Some supervisors can assume that you will leave at the end of a PhD unless you clearly tell them. You could still ask for a post-doc position or help to find funding for a post-doc. Or you could apply for a post-doc at another university doing the same work. Them not offering you a position immediately isn't the end of the road.

Though, moving on is a part of life. Leaving this project after 3 years of hard work, must be difficult but you will be moving on to better things. A PhD is really a glorified apprenticeship that proves to the world that you cane be an independent researcher, the project is a method to prove it. The fact you managed to get it to a point were it can be handed off as a stand-alone project is impressive. Well done! See it as an achievement not a sub.

PS; if they still want an RA, the supervisors want someone who will do menial work without any expectations of authorship. Which is not a job you want anyway.


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