Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

posted
18-Oct-18, 05:07
edited about 8 seconds later
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
Now, as may you know I have resigned from my position after one year from a toxic supervisor. The most important concern is selecting a good supervisor, it easier said than done, so what I should prioritize while selecting a new PI, it is really critical decision?
posted
18-Oct-18, 09:32
edited about 18 seconds later
Avatar for bilbo012
posted about 3 months ago
I'd say speak to any past or present students a PI has. You can tell if someone is a good PI or not by the way someone speaks about them; lot's of praise then yes, that PI is good. Being reserved to speak about them says a lot as well - the PI may not be that great. Maybe consider avoiding any 'superstars' or someone with a lot of phd students - these PIs may not have a lot of time to support you, which considering your last PI, you could do with support to boast your confidence
posted
18-Oct-18, 09:53
edited about 10 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 3 months ago
Hi, monkiaa,

Having the right supervisor is the single most important factor to achieve a successful PhD.

Read and talk to the potential supervisor. Talk to the potential supervisor's current students. Find out:

1) Supervisor's research area and interest- Does it match yours? Is it a hot area (maybe important for future grant applications)? Does he know a lot of lab techniques and a lot of people?

2) Supervisor's style - hands-on or hands-off? how frequent are the meetings? How much help will he/she give? Is he/she kind, pushy, easy or hard to get along? Does he/she return emails/ read thesis?

3) Supervisor's experience - Does he/she have any experience supervising? Did anyone quit their PhD under him/ her and why? Did the students finish in a timely manner and published papers?
Note: Due to personal and observations of my friends' experiences, I would suggest against being the first PhD student of any supervisor. Still, it is your choice of course.

4) Finance - Does the supervisor have any fund for the project? DO you have access to the equipment needed?

5) Research team - Are they kind and willing to help nurture you? Can you collaborate with them?

6) Lab stability - Has the lab been set up? Is the supervisor going to move to a new location?

7) Supervisor's reputation - Is the supervisor highly reputable? This may help in future collaborations and grant applications. But superstars may not have much time.

Hope this helps. Ultimately your decision should be a good balance between all the points listed here. Do have a break before finding a new position. Good luck.
posted
22-Oct-18, 14:42
edited about 12 seconds later
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
Dear Tru,
Here is the updates about potential PI:



A star professor at a high ranking university: One of his student told me he doesn't have time to manage the lab by himself and as a sequence, he hired postdocs to be intermediate between him and his students. In retrospect, the student informed that he had tried to leave the lab at the beginning, however, they continue and mentioning that he benefit from his PI's reputation. Adding that, he and other colleagues suffered from anxiety and chronic stress due to the demand of having highly quality research papers.

Intermediate professor not very well: His student told me he is not qualified to work with students, but the student told me that she doesn't feel so much pressure on her research.

Junior PI: I think it could be risky as I don't have any background about their supervision history. However, what makes interested to contact them as they did good research and we have the same passion for this research line which triggers me to contact them.

My previous experience with ex-PI, he was not junior and not star, but he did research for more than 14 years, however, he didn't help me in my research or even writing papers besides being abusive and very destructive person.

The question is : If am going to select the new PI which very critical decision, how I should consider these scenarios, for sure, I avoid PI in the influence circle of the ex-PI as I have been advised before, but what are other key corners I should bear in my mind.
posted
23-Oct-18, 09:30
edited about 15 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 3 months ago
Hi, monkiaa,

My comments below:


Quote From monkiaa:
Dear Tru,
Here is the updates about potential PI:



A star professor at a high ranking university.....
--> If you can get a secondary supervisor - an experienced researcher who will act as your primary supervisor, this may work. If not, I suggest you forget it.


Intermediate professor not very well: His student told me he is not qualified to work with students, but the student told me that she doesn't feel so much pressure on her research.
--> "not qualified to work with students"? Forget it

Junior PI: I think it could be risky as I don't have any background about their supervision history.....
--> No experience? Pretty tricky. I personally would suggest looking for experienced supervisor as you can check their personality and supervisory style + they have established methodology and network which you can benefit from. Otherwise, you are doing a Russian Roulette aka taking major risks... Choice is yours....

My previous experience with ex-PI, he was not junior and not star, but he did research for more than 14 years, however, he didn't help me in my research or even writing papers besides being abusive and very destructive person.
--> Personality issue --> Forget it

The question is : If am going to select the new PI which very critical decision, how I should consider these scenarios, for sure, I avoid PI in the influence circle of the ex-PI as I have been advised before, but what are other key corners I should bear in my mind.
--> I would suggest intermediate ranking/mid-career experienced PI with good personality, compatible supervisory style, broad network, established research group + methodology + sufficient funding.
Take the time to search for a good one. It is worth it.

posted
23-Oct-18, 15:03
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
I will do my best however what makes me constraint is the financial situation and it is not easy and in same time I am afraid of the selection, so I wish that I can find a reasonable lab.

Concerning junior PI, I spoke to him and he mentioned that he is passionate about the same research line and doesnot care about publications. However, I am afraid as many people has a sweet-tooth like I had before and get lured.

In the other side, there is a good lab and the students commended their PI, however, it is really competitive to be in.

As a conclusion, sometimes I loose faith in research general and it is not easy to find a really good lab.
posted
24-Oct-18, 22:32
edited about 14 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From monkiaa:
I will do my best however what makes me constraint is the financial situation and it is not easy and in same time I am afraid of the selection, so I wish that I can find a reasonable lab.

Concerning junior PI, I spoke to him and he mentioned that he is passionate about the same research line and doesnot care about publications. However, I am afraid as many people has a sweet-tooth like I had before and get lured.

In the other side, there is a good lab and the students commended their PI, however, it is really competitive to be in.

As a conclusion, sometimes I loose faith in research general and it is not easy to find a really good lab.


As with any good thing in life, there will always be competition. You just have to do your best. Maybe even start with an internship with the lab you want, if you want to have an edge.

So, d junior PI doesn't care about publication? This is the first time I have heard of this. Normally junior PI are very interested in publications to use as leverage to apply grants and advance their career. So, this person is either not telling the entire truth or if he/she is, then will this mean less input and effort to help you with your Phd publications? Either way, I see it as a red flag. Do think about it carefully
posted
24-Oct-18, 23:14
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
Dear Tru,

I have also the same concern when he said that although he is at a reputable institute, according to the other lab they have refused my application as they accept very few people.

I dont know what I can say, the previous PI prevent me from publications and even from attending workshops!

This junior PI mentioned he is more concerned about understanding and developing real scientific work as he is not pleased by other researchers approaches.

I am really confused the lab I am going for two months in another far country in Europe the students didnot recommend it and they dont like their PI, I just accept because of the financial situation and I am foreigner and I cannot go to home country for some reasons, it is very complex situation to explain.

So, my plan is to go and do what I can and then try looking again, but as you can see the good lab refused my application immediately in the same day.

I am so tired and afraid at the same, however, I am trying to do my best, this junior PI asked for another meeting, I should ask him all these questions, but I agree I dont have good feelings towards him, I dont know what could lies behind.
posted
25-Oct-18, 05:33
edited about 1 minute later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
The focus should NEVER be about publishing. It should be about the science. I would avoid any PI who spoke about publications being the point of all of this. If the science is good enough, papers will be a natural by product and you wont have to think about them. You can chuck obsessing about impact factors and the university the work is being done at in there as well. It's all froth and nonsense. The only thing that should matter is the quality of the science being done.
posted
25-Oct-18, 07:19
edited about 2 minutes later
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From pm133:
The focus should NEVER be about publishing. It should be about the science. I would avoid any PI who spoke about publications being the point of all of this. If the science is good enough, papers will be a natural by product and you wont have to think about them. You can chuck obsessing about impact factors and the university the work is being done at in there as well. It's all froth and nonsense. The only thing that should matter is the quality of the science being done.



Dear pm133, I totally agree with you and I really wish to do a practical science I am passionate about, but the point is to be successful in academia you must have publications. Up to the moment, I don't know whether this junior supervisor is honest with me, he had been one of the co-authors of Nature while he was a Ph.D. student and it was interesting. However, I am afraid as he has no prior experience, and I don't know whether he is going to be a bully. As you may know, my ex-toxic supervisor didn't allow me to present my work at a top-tier conference workshop although being accepted. In the other side, I didn't have the technical facilities to conduct the experiment, and I don't know how I should know whether this junior PI has the facilities. This really boggles my mind, the start PI have dozen of citation and publications, while their student complain or want to leave, honestly I am confused and I would like to have a very good supervisor who is going a turning point in my academic life, so it is a very crucial selection which restricted by many factors.
posted
25-Oct-18, 07:28
by monkiaa
Avatar for monkiaa
posted about 3 months ago
Actually, this junior PI doesn't have much publication and not so much citation, but his research while being a postdoc is interesting. I don't know whether this could be a good or negative point, as you know your PI is very crucial for your career.
posted
26-Oct-18, 06:07
edited about 18 seconds later
by pm133
Avatar for pm133
posted about 3 months ago
Quote From monkiaa:
Quote From pm133:
The focus should NEVER be about publishing. It should be about the science. I would avoid any PI who spoke about publications being the point of all of this. If the science is good enough, papers will be a natural by product and you wont have to think about them. You can chuck obsessing about impact factors and the university the work is being done at in there as well. It's all froth and nonsense. The only thing that should matter is the quality of the science being done.



Dear pm133, I totally agree with you and I really wish to do a practical science I am passionate about, but the point is to be successful in academia you must have publications. Up to the moment, I don't know whether this junior supervisor is honest with me, he had been one of the co-authors of Nature while he was a Ph.D. student and it was interesting. However, I am afraid as he has no prior experience, and I don't know whether he is going to be a bully. As you may know, my ex-toxic supervisor didn't allow me to present my work at a top-tier conference workshop although being accepted. In the other side, I didn't have the technical facilities to conduct the experiment, and I don't know how I should know whether this junior PI has the facilities. This really boggles my mind, the start PI have dozen of citation and publications, while their student complain or want to leave, honestly I am confused and I would like to have a very good supervisor who is going a turning point in my academic life, so it is a very crucial selection which restricted by many factors.


I am not disagreeing that publications are important. I am saying you should not be focussing on them.
posted
28-Oct-18, 07:59
edited about 1 minute later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 3 months ago
Hi, monkiaa,

My comments below:

"I am so tired and afraid at the same, however, I am trying to do my best, this junior PI asked for another meeting, I should ask him all these questions, but I agree I dont have good feelings towards him, I dont know what could lies behind."
--> Ask all the appropriate questions before deciding. Does he have an idea of a project? Funds? Established methods and established lab, ie. with equipment? Frequency of meeting? Supervisory style, etc... If you still have doubts or don't have good feeling, don't do a PhD under him.



"I am really confused the lab I am going for two months in another far country in Europe the students didnot recommend it and they dont like their PI, I just accept because of the financial situation and I am foreigner and I cannot go to home country for some reasons, it is very complex situation to explain."
--> If the current students are unhappy, best don't do a Phd in that lab. You will be unhappy there too. ust complete your 2 months and if it is real bad, don't stay


"as you can see the good lab refused my application immediately in the same day. "
--> Can you do an internship of 3-6 months in the lab you like to build relationship before applying for a PhD there?

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