Influence of covid19 over funding

posted
12-Apr-20, 23:25
edited about 2 minutes later
by Summ3r
Avatar for Summ3r
posted about 1 month ago
Hi everyone, I am writing to seek advice of a decision I have to make over my PhD. It appears to me that this forum is very supportive, and I am grateful for any advice you guys kindly give.

I am current a Marie Curie in the first year of my PhD. Before I came, I was informed that I will be able to work speaking only English and that the people in the lab do understand and speaks English. However, it was not the case.The staff and most people in the lab speaks only their local mother language. All the meetings, slides and internal documents are in the local language. No courses nor exams were offer in English. Even the group meeting, my PI speaks English only to me and the rest are in the local language and I will sit there helplessly. I feel isolated and lied to.

I started looking for a new position. A professor which I known for a few years offered a position with the funding in his account that he needs to finish before he retires. He is the director of his institue from a very good university and also a city that I like. I have also worked with him previously and get along very well with him. The only thing that keeps me from the new position is that the funding he will be enough for only 2-3 years. Meaning if there is no additional funding in 2 years, I will have no salary afterwards. However, he has assured me that I could still continue with my work, because the lab expenses will be covered.

The professor has been very kindly to me and has made this offer after learning about my current situation. I believe that he is not trying to take advantage of me. But I have heard rumours that funding will be difficult to get because of the pandemic. I am thus worried that I will prob be complete left to fend for myself after 2 years.

I really need more input to make the decision. I would love to hear what you guys think. Thank you very much. Hope things go well for everyone of you.
posted
14-Apr-20, 13:41
edited about 3 minutes later
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 month ago
Hello,

Would it be possible to complete your phdin 3 years? That way, there is enough funding. Or would it be possibly to actually transfer at the end of this year, so that you have already completed some of the work and have the first year literature reviewing etc under your belt? Or maybe you could tell the professor that you'd love to move to his lab and you're very grateful for the opportunity, but is there anyway he could guarantee that extra year's funding?

You are in your first year, which is a really good time to think about moving if you aren't happy and that's what you want to do. The further you get into it, the harder it may be to feel you can switch elsewhere.

No one really knows what the picture will be after the pandemic, but personally I would not let fear of that make me stay somewhere I really wasn't happy if there was an opportunity to go elsewhere albeit with a little less security.

By the way - is the language the only issue? Is it possible for you to learn some of the language and see if that helps the situation? You could trial it till the end of the year. That could be another option.

Hope this helps in some way...
posted
14-Apr-20, 13:46
edited about 17 seconds later
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 month ago
No one knows. Simply, we have no clue what is going to happen in 3 months let alone 2 years.

However, most governments and institutions will not cut already established grants, so your two years of funding is safe. Two years is enough time to move university and do enough research for a thesis, as long as it is in a similar field. I would make the decision sooner rather than later as moving labs/university is disruptfull and you would rather spend more time at the new lab.

On another note, can you learn the local language?
posted
14-Apr-20, 16:30
edited about 6 seconds later
by Summ3r
Avatar for Summ3r
posted about 1 month ago
Hey, thank you so much for the replies. I need advice desparately.

I have been learning the local language already. But it is difficult to get it to a level where I could discuss science with my colleagues within three years. Let alone all the work for a thesis squeezed into a three year period.

Apart from the language issue, the lab is also not as established as one that I would like to work in. To get some reagents requires getting in touch with one exact person that knows where it is. Planning ahead is not easy as some devices are not open for booking. Quality control is non-existent. And this list goes on...

The professor with the kind offer says the funding is two to three years, closer to two. And graduate normally takes four. I might just ask if I could sleep in the lab even. Lol.
posted
14-Apr-20, 17:12
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 month ago
It sounds as though you really think you aren't going to get as much out of the current PhD situation as you'd like to. Moving seems the best bet. Just see if you can get that funding guaranteed for the time that you need!
posted
14-Apr-20, 18:03
Avatar for bewildered
posted about 1 month ago
I think you probably would need to work out whether it would be viable to support yourself for 1.5-2 years in this place (and if you need a visa whether that would be a problem). It might be worth asking about provision to study part-time etc and if there are any fees that might apply to you after the funding runs out. If he's making it clear that he's retiring on a certain date, does that mean he's running his lab down? Would you be supervised if you weren't finished? Sorry for all the pessimistic questions but a friend got very badly abandoned in a similar position, so it might be worth asking upfront.

On the impact of the pandemic, it seems that some university systems will be hit worse than others. It sounds like the USA is preparing for major cuts even at Ivy League universities, but somehow I'd imagine the Sweden / Norway type countries will have fewer cutbacks.
posted
20-Apr-20, 16:41
edited about 8 seconds later
by Summ3r
Avatar for Summ3r
posted about 1 month ago
To Tudor_Queen:
Yes as the current supervisor provides little supervision and it will be difficult too to seek help from the school. I would really like to stay if I could. But I am very much worried about getting a post-doc afterwards if that is what I get. The only things that holds me back is the finance. The new supervisor said getting funding for HALF of a PhD is impossible, thats why I am desperate.
posted
20-Apr-20, 16:48
edited about 11 seconds later
by Summ3r
Avatar for Summ3r
posted about 1 month ago
To bewildered:

Yes, you're right. The math is whether I could survived the last two years without the salary...

I think part-time work is doable but I am more inclined to pushing myself through, to graduate faster and focus. The new supervisor has confirmed that the status of a PhD is granted regardless of the financial status. But that leaves me wonder if I need to pay tax and all that. Visa should be okay thou.

The new supervisor also promised to see me through the whole PhD, the lab is not closing as far as I know, it is a rather big lab.

Thank you very much though. I hope the situation gets better for your friend..

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