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tru
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 at 11:28am
Thursday, 18 October 2018 at 9:52am
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page 1 of 17 recent posts

Thread: Choosing a new supervisor after leaving ex-abusive supervisor

posted
18-Oct-18, 09:53
edited about 10 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 13 hours 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.

Thread: Conflict with supervisor

posted
16-Oct-18, 22:38
edited about 20 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 days ago
Quote From pinat:
Hi dear forum friends, I have done my PhD in a university in Germany, have 1 published book chapter, 1 published paper, and have submitted my thesis 5 years ago. According to the rules of university, it is enough to have the thesis to be able to do the final examination and publication is not obligatory.
However, my supervisor is not letting me finish. He has never read my thesis in these 5 years, he will not tell me what other project he expects me to do, he just does not want me to defend and get my degree. My supervisor is completely aware of what I did during my PhD, the content of my publications, and has been present in several conferences were I presented my work.In these 5 years I have been going part-time to university to publish my first and second papers and he knows about it (self-funded in these years)
I am not the first one, 3 other guys left the department without being able to defend their thesis, one of them left after 6 years.
I heard there is a university in Netherland where one can defend his/her thesis by just having 3 publications. Is it true? I cannot find such university by searching on Google. Could you give me any advice what to do? Thanks a lot.


Hi, pinat,

Sorry to hear about your case. Your supervisor sounds like he just wanted free labour, literally.

Every university has its own criteria on the min requirements for a PhD award. Go and talk to your postgrad department/ Graduate school and ask about defending without supervisor's approval.Explain the background about the 3 former students who could not complete their PhD. And about him not reading your thesis in the last 5 years. Ask for their advice and help. The department usually can do something to assist you.

Thread: Seeking for Advice!

posted
14-Oct-18, 22:13
by tru
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posted about 4 days ago
Quote From monkiaa:
To be honest, I feel lost, my situation is so complex! I have resigned and supposed to go out by the end of the next month! However, there another lab who knows my PI; after they offered ten months, they told we have to spoke to him and take his permission, then they reduced the offer to two months. This lab is another country, which is not very well known in Europe, they have mentioned, if I did well may be we can continue, they have offered me a low amount of money.

I am really destroyed, I dont know why this happening, my mental health is going so bad and if I go to office until the day to go out, the vibes are very very toxic which I cannot handle.



Hi,monkiaa,

I am sorry that you are feelng so bad.Maybe taking some time out for a short break will be good for you.

Is it possible to change your mindset and see things in a positive light? I know it is easier said than done, but could you try?

You are leaving your toxic lab very soon. Your misery is coming to an end and your mental health and emotional state will recover once you are out of this horrible environment. Just hang on until then.

About your other lab opportunity, while they have shortened the your time, they are still giving you a two month chance to prove yourself. It is still a chance to show people who you really are. Why don't go in with this mind set? You have nothing to lose anyway. It is also a good chance to network with new people too. At best, they may offer you a long term role at the end of your time. At worst, you get new lab references and network. That way, you never need to rely on your ex supervisor (you shouldn't use him ever again) as referee for future roles. It's a win win case for you.

Thread: Seeking for Advice!

posted
10-Oct-18, 22:47
by tru
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posted about 1 week ago
Not being allowed doesn't mean it isn't done. For example, if the reference check is done by phone between two profs, can anyone be 100% sure that a bad reference is not given or strongly hinted? What evidence is there to show that a bad ref was given since it is not written? Best to avoid the problem all together and just not use the supervisor as ref.

Thread: Applying for jobs before leaving PhD advice

posted
10-Oct-18, 22:40
edited about 26 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 1 week ago
You could finish your studies with a master instead of a PhD and use that to apply for jobs. Or you can apply for jobs now and leave once you get one. There is no right or wrong answer. You can say you are a graduate scientist but do not use your supervisor as reference. Anyone else in the lab or nearby group who is trustworthy and could give you good ref?

Thread: Realized my research group isn't for me, but how to bring this up in new applications

posted
10-Oct-18, 22:26
edited about 27 seconds later
by tru
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posted about 1 week ago
You are still early in your candidature, so there really isn't much of a gap in your CV that needs too much explanation. Could you say that you are a graduate scientist, but not use your supervisor as a reference? Or if you want to mention your PhD, be prepared for tough questions on why you want to quit your PhD and start another one. Some people prefer to leave it blank and only answer questions if anyone asks about the last 8 months...

Since you have had so much experience, that should work in your favour as well. I would suggest that you clean up your online presence including whatever you wrote on researchgate so that it is consistent with what you put on your applications.

Good luck.

Thread: Phd, health issues and stress

posted
08-Oct-18, 22:57
by tru
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posted about 1 week ago


Dear tru,

At this juncture, I don't know what I will do next. I guess, I'll have some time to think in the next couple of weeks as I'll be in an out of hospital for few days, and I will be taking a week off. I am sorry to hear that you've been facing the effects of cancer first hand, are you ok now? I hope you've recovered and that everything is going ok for you now?
Thank you for your thoughtful advice, maybe I should actually consider in changing my supervisor, although pm133 is right in one regard:I cannot force people to help when they don't want to.
She's the only expert in our school in the particular filed I've chosen, and will be very difficult (I believe) to change my supervisor under these circumstances.
I will give it some thought, it's still early days, and hopefully things will improve perhaps in the next month of so.If they won't then I will have to do something about it.

Best wishes.



Oh, sorry for the misunderstanding. I am well but a very very close loved one is undergoing chemo atm and watching first hand has been difficult. We as a family have been giving as much support as we can.

Yes, take some time to think what you want to do. A good supervisor makes it a lot easier to have a successful PhD so do take this factor into consideration when thinking. You can read up as well about all the other bad cases of supervisors here in this forum to see if yours is any way as bad or worse or if you even want to put up with it. Take care...

Thread: Funding for further research from my PhD - but without me

posted
08-Oct-18, 22:49
edited about 22 minutes later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 week 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.

Thread: Seeking for Advice!

posted
08-Oct-18, 22:32
edited about 6 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 week ago
Hi, monkiaa,

Unfortunately sh!t heads like your ex supervisor exists and there is nothing you can do about them. I pity his new PhD student. History may repeat itself on this poor soul.

What you can do though is do something about yourself. Doing the best you can at a conference/workshop + networking as hard you can for your future role are priorities to you. I won't worry about his bad mouth and I certainly will not use him as a reference. Surely there must be another person - a postdoc or even a senior researcher from your group or adjacent group who is familiar with your work and able to give good words for you? I never used my ex supervisors in anything I applied for and was still successful in some of my job applications. While a supervisor's reference letter is of advantage, I think that it is completely overrated and is not the absolute determinant on whether you land a role.

Let go and look into the future. Stop feeling sorry or looking back because you have already decided to go. Lead a better life and excel in your future. That is the best revenge you can serve to your ex supervisor.

Thread: Phd, health issues and stress

posted
07-Oct-18, 06:27
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 week ago
Hi, postgradpolscience2018,

Sorry to hear that you are unwell.

Regarding your post, in my opinion, you do have a lot on your plate and maybe, you do not have the right supervisors nor the right state of mind to continue this PhD.

Regarding your supervisor, you said that she is not helpful, does not make any suggestions about materials, or to give an opinion as to how you should structure your thesis, or any constructive feedback at all. She sounds like a very hands-off supervisor. Some students thrive in this environment. You on the other hand, it seems, would prefer a more hands on supervisor. There is a clear mismatch of expectations. You may wish to change to another supervisor who more closely match your needs.

On your health and state of mind, I think that this should come first. You can always undertake your PhD later and concentrate on healing for now. There is nothing wrong with taking a gap year. You are not letting anyone down. We are not robots after all. Having seen first hand the side effects of C treatments, I think it is understandable that you feel lethargic and unable to focus. Please share with you family and friends as you need all the support you can get.

Would you consider taking some time off to think about what you would like to do with this PhD? Perhaps you may wish to take a gap year or perhaps terminate it for now/change supervisor since you have problems with your current supervisor?

Thread: holidays and immigration

posted
07-Oct-18, 05:27
edited about 3 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 1 week ago
Hi, samcassel

1. Do you officially ask for the university and supervisor' permission every time you leave the UK? (Even in Christmas)
Yes. You need to ask your supervisor's permission to take leave. Whether or not you log it formally with the university is between you and your supervisor. If you are so worried, then do things the formal way and log every single leave you take.

2. Have you ever been asked to provide any proof that you got such permission at the border control when you go back to the UK from your holidays?
No. At the borders, they probably will ask you what you are doing in the UK. You may wish to print out your PhD offer letter and show them at the borders when you come back to UK if they ask you many questions

3. Do you have any suggestion to me on my situation? Such as whether I should abide by the univeristy rules and control my time away to be within the 8 weeks, and whether I should ask permission for leave officially every time.
More important than your university rules, as an international student, I would suggest that you read your visa requirements carefully. Does it include anything about your max time away from your studies? You definitely do not want to breach your PhD student visa.

4.When I go back to the UK, does the immigration officer actually know when I left? It seems there is no immigration record upon exit.
The immigration officer at the borders DEFINITELY knows when ANYONE enter or exit the country.

Another important thing to consider - since you are planning on taking so much leave, would you be able finish your PhD on time? Most students I know take less leave to finish the mountain of work within their 3-4 years PhD. If you take more than 8 weeks off, you are having less than 10 months left to do your PhD a year.I hope that you are exceptionally productive and do not run into any problems during your PhD

Thread: Advice!

posted
02-Oct-18, 13:23
edited about 22 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, Jobergstein,

Unfortunately, you would not be the first PhD student who has been neglected/bullied + has no publication + no positive data. However, even in the worst of circumstances, there are people who survive their PhD and earn their doctorate.

What is more important at this stage is your state of mind. You have already decided that you will fail or be humiliated at your defense. This is not a good mind set. Please change it immediately. If you have endured all the shit that was thrown at you during your candidature and bothered to write and submit that bloody thesis, then you should find the courage to just give the best defense you can. This the absolute last milestone, so do the best you can, and be done with this horrible affair.

About whether or not to sue your uni or supervisor, please park this thought to one side first and focus on what is more important - your defense. All the extra stuff can wait.

What I want to say is practise your defense and be prepared for the toughest battle of your life. Explain why the data was no good if asked. As long as you can explain to show that you have the scientific knowledge worthy of a PhD (but probably not the luck in choosing a great supervisor or project), you should be fine. Stop pitying yourself and get the job done.

In conclusion, give it your best damn shot!!!


From someone who has survived a horrible PhD,
tru

Thread: Reasons to give for PhD voluntarybwithdrawal

posted
29-Sep-18, 12:29
edited about 20 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, iwan,

Maybe remove the bit about academia then.

About mentioning financial stuff, I really can't quite comment on it. I guess you would be best to judge the local and cultural perception on talking about that. However, would the interviewer then question why you bother starting a 3-4 year knowing full well that you wanted to settle down and buy a house in the very near future? Just a thought.

Thread: Still no research question after a year

posted
29-Sep-18, 10:34
edited about 3 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Could you have a chat with your supervisors to voice out your concern about not having a PhD reserch question? You could bounce ideas off them since they are more experienced. While it is expected that a PhD student should read a lot in their first year, it is not expected that they could formulate a solid PhD research question from the start. How can someone in the first year of their research career be expected to come up with a better research topic than someone who has been in the field for 10-20 years? Maybe in your third year of PhD you start to have that strength, but for now, you need your supervisors' guidance.

When you said that your supervisors increased their support yet did not give you a topic, what do you mean? I am concerned that you are self funding your PhD and so it is more important that you finish in a timely manner. Could you discuss a deadline with your supervisors to identify a suitable PhD topic, maybe say in the next 2 months? A PhD topic could change over the period of candidature but you need to identify a suitable topic as soon as possible to work with. It is the responsibility of your PhD supervisor to guide you on what is a suitable PhD topic. Otherwise you can go down many wrong rabbit holes and waste a lot of time. That is not ideal since you are self-funded. Have you also thought that maybe these supervisors are not good for you?

Thread: Reasons to give for PhD voluntarybwithdrawal

posted
29-Sep-18, 10:06
edited about 15 seconds later
by tru
Avatar for tru
posted about 2 weeks ago
Hi, iwan,

Perhaps you can consider: "I accepted the PhD offer with the understanding I was going to work on a particular topic. However, upon starting, my supervisor changed my topic to something completely different and unrelated. I was determined to continue my PhD despite this major set back and gave my best to work on this new topic hoping my interest will grow with time. Unfortunately, despite all my efforts, it was not meant to be. I also strongly considered about whether I would like to pursue a life long career in academia. After much thought, I decided that I did not want a career in academia and therefore decided to cut my losses and left my PhD for a different future."

Your original response has negative elements including words like "don't enjoy" and "got depressed". These words should never be used in an interview. Your future employer may interpret this as you having mental health issues or that you have difficulty staying focused and interested in a role for long. All your responses to an interviewer must be in a positive light.
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