The PhD process
To PhD project itself is only part of the development process, researchers must take responsibility for their wider development and seek out opportunities in and beyond the research community and the cultural elites; with committees, conferences, societies and outreach programs. Involvement in these related activities will help them to make an important impact as researchers as well as develop transferable skills.
Even the decision to do a PhD at all needs attention. A minimum commitment of three years is required, and this is extending to an average of three and half, with an increasing number of four year programs.
The individual nature of a PhD is such that there may be few people to turn to for support and advice. Although the supervisor's role is to guide, PhD candidates are expected to work independently and take responsibility for monitoring their own progress. At times it could be lonely, frustrating and repetitive. It's then that having a well thought out reason for doing a PhD, and being realistic about the challenges it involves, will make all the difference in the struggle to stay motivated.
Become an effective researcher
Traditionally, PhD researchers have received support from a single supervisor. He or she advised them on how to approach and plan a major research project as well as providing guidance on the direction of the research itself. PhD researchers now have access to supervisory teams, independent review panels and skills development programs to ensure they are aware of the skills needed to undertake and complete a PhD effectively.
If you're already a PhD researcher, you have to consider also some of the ways you can enhance your doctoral experience:
- Training programs are often delivered at institutional, faculty and department level. Do not assume that you will automatically be informed of any courses which are relevant to you. Take the initiative.
- Research conferences are excellent for networking. If you plan to remain in academe, talk to key researchers in your field . Go to their presentations, hand them abstracts of your work and make them aware of your interest in their work.
- Department Committees will give you a broader view of the way in which your department operates. As a researcher you have a chance to develop your communication and negotiation skills as well as learning about the structure and nature of meetings.
Look for challenges that increase your potential
In addition to your PhD you may be able to begin accreditation towards professional membership, which will require you to demonstrate your professional skills as well as knowledge. Many professional bodies support young researchers with special events or conferences and can provide financial support for traveling. Some provide bursaries for attending a PhD school.
M-NODE Advanced Research Associates
Advanced Research Associates of the M-Node are selected from applicants wishing to pursue post-doctoral or advanced practice research within the Planetary Collegium community. Applicants are accepted on a twelve-month basis. ARAs are fully involved, along with all current doctoral candidates, in each of three ten-day Composite Sessions throughout the twelve month period following the date of their registration.