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Posts Tagged ‘supervisor’

Productive Holidays

January 6, 2012 1 comment

My Christmas holidays here in Malta are nearly over, and next Monday I am back to Ireland and back to work. However I find that saying back to work is a bit of a misnomer, as I have been quite productive, if I must say so myself, during these holidays. I find that being home, although I do get to go around and relax quite a bit, I still manage to get quite a lot of work done.

First up were the corrections for the paper I had submitted back in June. In six months I heard nary a comment from them, and then the day after I arrived home my supervisor emailed the comments from the reviewers. They have me major revisions, but the comments were mainly quite useful. Since I only had 1 month in which to do the changes, out of which I am in Malta for 3 weeks, I had to get down to business. I had them down in a couple of days and am now awaiting comments from my supervisors about the changes. It was my first experience of getting such comments back (my supervisors do not criticise as much, as opposed to many other supervisors I hear about) but I think they polished my manuscript to no end. Here’s to now hoping for the manuscript to be accepted.

Apart from the manuscript changes, I also had to prepare a graphical abstract (a new thing for the journal), a presentation for the School of Biotechnology Research Day, which will be held later on this month and 2 abstracts for 2 separate conferences to be held later on this year, and whose deadline is around the end of January.

Now I have a weekend of relaxation (unless my supervisors send the changes) and then next Monday afternoon, it is back to actual work. But then again…what is actual work? I do not feel as if working during my holidays detracted from my having fun (I generally worked for an hour or two in the morning, and not even each day) and relaxing.

I hope you all had good holidays and managed to relax well. Yesterday (or so) a very apt PHD Comic was posted, which I am reproducing here. Which of the different activities people do over winter break did you do?

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PhD: 1/12 over

December 19, 2010 1 comment

The first 3 months of my PhD are over it seems. That means that 1/12 of my PhD is (hopefully) over. Hopefully as I would not like that my studies take longer than the 3 years for which I am funded.  I think I achieved quite a lot during these 3 months, and I am happy with the progress I am making. In my last week in Dublin I managed to order the first analytes I selected and will be analysing for. Hopefully these will be received soon, so that as soon as I go back to Dublin in January I can start working on my method development. I am really excited about that, because if I manage to achieve that with minimal problems (I am being very optimistic here) it will mean that my PhD life will be easier. However I am not looking at less than 3 months (if everything goes well that is) for this portion of my project.

The day before I left DCU I also had a meeting with my supervisor. This time instead of a lab meeting we had 1 to 1 meetings, where we discussed progress and the way forward. They seemed happy enough with my progress and told me to go ahead. One of the supervisors also suggested that I start working on my literature review. I have already read a lot of papers and have a number of separate documents from which I can pull the details. So I will hopefully organise what I have and add more to it as necessary. On the last day I also got word that I got accepted to give a poster presentation to the DCU School of Biotechnology Research Day in January. Therefore I now need to prepare a poster…have started working on it somewhat since I arrived in Malta, and hope to have most of it ready by the time I go back, since I would definitely need Bernard’s help with the design aspect.

The next months will probably be really hectic as regards to my PhD. I have to work on method development and my literature review, Graduate training elements (I actually have 2 scheduled for the same week…will probably have to drop one), I will give my poster presentation at the Biotech Research Day in January and sent my abstract for another conference at the end of February, I start practical session demonstrations in February too etc. I look forward to this however. It will be hectic, definitely…but hopefully I will actually start seeing some progress (reading papers all day long gets a bit monotonous at times).

So bring it on (and think of me so that hopefully things work out well 🙂 ).

QUESTOR/ATWARM meeting

November 30, 2010 5 comments

My PhD project is part of a QUESTOR coordinated Marie Curie Initial Training Network programme funded by the EC FP7 project People: ATWARM. As part of the ATWARM network, we have Bi-annual network meetings, where all the research fellows and their supervisors meet. The first network meeting for the ATWARM fellows was held in Belfast, on the 18th November. This was preceded by the QUESTOR meeting on the 17th, which is also held bi-annually. I was not planning on going, but on the previous Monday, my supervisor received a request for us to go, and since some of the people from my lab were going up on the 16th for the meeting on the 17th, I decided to make the trip with them.

I was excited to attend both meetings. In the QUESTOR meeting I was mainly interested in a presentation given by one of the QUESTOR funded students, who is also using stable isotopes in his research. It was also interesting to learn more about how QUESTOR functions. Basically it is composed of an Industrial and Academic board. The industrial board is made up of various companies who are interested in the research carried out in QUESTOR.:

“Providing application focussed environmental research to generate knowledge and technologies for the future needs of industry.”

The attend the bi-annual meetings and they determine which projects QUESTOR will fund, depending on their company’s requirements and whether they see an industrial scope to the project. In fact each funded project has an industrial partner in it. The academic board is made up of researchers from various Universities and institutes in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Canada, US and elsewhere.

The next day was the ATWARM meeting. I was really looking forward to this. I got to meet the other ATWARM students who are carrying out research at the other Universities, and understand better what they will be researching. This is because we all got to give a 10 minute presentation about ourselves and our project. I was one of the last people to present so my nerves kept building and building. I was particularly worried that I simplified everything a bit too much. However I think that overall I did well. I also got a couple of people congratulating me, so I was a happy girl.

The ATWARM fellows

The ATWARM fellows

Since my supervisor from DCU and I were up in Belfast, we also scheduled a meeting with my supervisor at QUB, who was also attending the meeting. We had scheduled to have it after the ATWARM meeting, but since we had a long coffee break (we were running ahead of schedule) we held it then. This turned out to be a good thing, since we realized we could talk to people from the Industrial board who were also present, and whose help we might need there and then. The two companies we talked to were really interested in my project (one came up to me himself) and I look forward to working with them in aspects of my research. I also got to discuss my project with both supervisors at the same time, which was really helpful. We talked about my progress to date and how I will be proceeding from now on.

Overall I guess this meeting was a success personally. This was not only in relation to meeting the other ATWARM students, who are really nice and I look forward to meeting again and again, but also in relation to understanding better the way QUESTOR works, and how I can best benefit from its industrial relations. The meeting between both supervisors and myself was also really helpful, so I have nothing to complain about. I also got to hang out in an informal manner with the other students at DCU, my main supervisor at DCU and other individuals involved in ATWARM during dinner the night before, and a very insightful train ride back to Dublin with the ATWARM principal scientist.

Next ATWARM meeting…Germany in May.