Academic hoopla

17 May 2007

Been a bit of a stressful time recently, my girlfriend is about half-way through her PhD and that means Transfer Report time. Having been through this a few years ago I was expecting the hoops of effectively a mini-write up, consolidating 18 months of work into a short report, and the knock-on delays that has on the real research effort.

I wasn’t quite prepared for Sam to have to produce a report, give a 30 min presentation (open invite to the whole of the Medical School) and have a 2 hour internal viva.

However the presentation went well (Sam’s good at presenting so that wasn’t a real worry), the surprise came when she was asked to put everything on hold for 2 months while she writes up a research theory and contextualisation paper/chapter before being confirmed as a PhD candidate! Given that a core part of her research is running two Advisory groups of very busy pharmacologists, consultants and junior doctors between two hospitals in the UK South West, and administering & validating a new set of 12 assessment measures, kind of makes putting things on hold the equivalent of putting things back by 18 months and starting again with a new cohort of junior doctors.

We always knew the PhD was largely hoop jumping and that the more esoteric theorising was going to be a challenge because Sam is at heart a practical researcher rather than an ivory tower navel gazer, but this has really taken the wind out of her sails. I know she’s not the first or last to go through this but is doesn’t encourage the development of aspiring, keen and able researchers to have this kind of left-field challenge thrown at them (Sam had completed, to her knowledge, the requirements of the Transfer report – I know, I had to proof read it several times).

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