MireBN
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Hey everyone,

I am a prospective PhD student of Huddersfield. I have been given a 3 years PhD studentship and I am supposed to enrol the course at the end of April. My supervisor has a project and I will have a contract with the university.

The thing is, I am not from UK. I am waiting for another studentship in my own country but this can take months and I am not sure if I will get it. So, I want to take this this chance in UK. However, if months later I am awarded with the one in my country…. I might would like to come back.

All in all, what I would like to know is what happens if I decline the UK studentship after having started, because in my contract there is nothing related explained. I mean, I guess it is like in any job… if you start but you are not fine with it or whatever… you can always quick, right? But will I have to pay something for that or… ?

Thanks in advance.
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bownessie
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(Original post by MireBN)
Hey everyone,

I am a prospective PhD student of Huddersfield. I have been given a 3 years PhD studentship and I am supposed to enrol the course at the end of April. My supervisor has a project and I will have a contract with the university.

The thing is, I am not from UK. I am waiting for another studentship in my own country but this can take months and I am not sure if I will get it. So, I want to take this this chance in UK. However, if months later I am awarded with the one in my country…. I might would like to come back.

All in all, what I would like to know is what happens if I decline the UK studentship after having started, because in my contract there is nothing related explained. I mean, I guess it is like in any job… if you start but you are not fine with it or whatever… you can always quick, right? But will I have to pay something for that or… ?

Thanks in advance.
I have no idea about the exact ins and outs of your specific situation. However, my initial gut reaction is that doing what you are planning may impact your career. If you take PhD A and then leave, and presuming your other PhD is in a simmilar field, you've kind of tarnished your name with some of the people in your field before even really getting started on your research career...
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MireBN
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(Original post by bownessie)
I have no idea about the exact ins and outs of your specific situation. However, my initial gut reaction is that doing what you are planning may impact your career. If you take PhD A and then leave, and presuming your other PhD is in a simmilar field, you've kind of tarnished your name with some of the people in your field before even really getting started on your research career...

Well, I am not sure what will happen. Maybe I go to UK and I fit in and really like living there and everything is perfect or whatever. However, the research group I would be here with is really good, they have a higher impact factor. Plus, I would be in my country and also they know about the opportunity I have in UK but if they can they would like to have me here, but as it does not depends on them… I obviously have to look after me. I just want to put all the pros and cons on the table and know in as much detail as possible everything about this contract. Thanks
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sj27
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I don't know about legally.
Ethically, you are presumably taking the place of the next student in line who would have been offered that, then leaving the department in the lurch with nothing to show for however many months of work and funding you've done and used. Are you comfortable with that?

Fwiw, I don't know many/any people who would take a serious job while thinking that there was a good probability that they would resign in a few months.
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bownessie
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Well there are a lot of cons, ethically, in your career, and I don't know what the implication of it is in terms of immigration/just legally as you have to sign a contract.

The thing is that there obviously is the pro that you can accept it. Personally, if I were you, I would accept the UK place and, if you did get an offer from your home university, maybe see if there is room for collaboration? The university will spend a lot of time and money hiring you and they've obviously decided they want this work done- and you would be affecting all those things negatively if you took the place knowing you were going to/were extremely likely to leave.
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MireBN
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(Original post by sj27)
I don't know about legally.
Ethically, you are presumably taking the place of the next student in line who would have been offered that, then leaving the department in the lurch with nothing to show for however many months of work and funding you've done and used. Are you comfortable with that?

Fwiw, I don't know many/any people who would take a serious job while thinking that there was a good probability that they would resign in a few months.

I have been thinking about this during months. In my country nowadays is really difficult to get a scholarship even though I am a good student. I have been talking too many teachers, I have tried to do it here but they have no money, it all depends on the state and I know many students with even better grades than me that have been waiting for 2 year till they got a scholarship. Then I got the chance to go abroad and found this other research group here. It is not that I have not been thinking about it or considering the situation. And that is the reason why I would like to know all in detail. So please, do not judge without knowing the whole situation or without knowing me. And what you have said about the "funding I would have used…". Yes, IN CASE of resigning I would have used some funding but I would have been working and having results, results that they will use for their researches.
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sj27
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(Original post by MireBN)
I have been thinking about this during months. In my country nowadays is really difficult to get a scholarship even though I am a good student. I have been talking too many teachers, I have tried to do it here but they have no money, it all depends on the state and I know many students with even better grades than me that have been waiting for 2 year till they got a scholarship. Then I got the chance to go abroad and found this other research group here. It is not that I have not been thinking about it or considering the situation. And that is the reason why I would like to know all in detail. So please, do not judge without knowing the whole situation or without knowing me. And what you have said about the "funding I would have used…". Yes, IN CASE of resigning I would have used some funding but I would have been working and having results, results that they will use for their researches.
You asked opinions... I gave mine. Where did I say I was judging? I asked a question that - as you had not raised the issues - it wasn't clear that you had considered.
Now yes, I have no idea what field you're in, but it seems unlikely to me that after a few months you could have a set of results that could just be taken as is and used by someone else? Without having to be redone? You really feel comfortable that the uni would have gotten their money's worth out of you? And it doesn't matter to you that they will have to go through the process of advertising and applications again because presumably by then whoever is now next in line will be doing something else, given the time interval?

And yes, I know exactly what it is like to be stuck without funding. So do many other people here. It doesn't change my view of what is ethical. I simply think that if you accept Huddersfield you should commit to them, and if you would rather be with a higher ranked group then you need to look elsewhere, not let Huddersfield think you committed to them and then just leave if something better comes along. But that's just my opinion.
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alleycat393
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I have to agree with sj27. Huddersfield will have spent time and money recruiting you and getting you set up and settled and academia is a small place so your leaving for something else will leave some ruffled feathers which won't be good for your future career in research.

I also agree with the ethical standpoint of not taking a place that someone else could have benefited from when you know you may not end up staying. Funded PhD positions are very hard to come by even in the better funded fields and not everyone is lucky enough to have backup options.

You may also want to consider sj27's point about how much work you will realistically get done in the timeframe you're thinking of before you decide to leave. Yes it is field specific but typically when you start a PhD you spend a good few months reading around your topic defining your project and optimising your data collection methods. That doesn't usually amount to usable data.

Finally, you may want to check before you sign anything for Huddersfield for the consequences of your leaving at a later date.
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Klix88
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The financial aspect is worth considering and will depend on how the PhD is being funded. There could be an external body to consider as well as the university policies on leaving a PhD early.

I'm not familiar with a wide range of PhD funding contracts. However in my uni department we currently have a couple of externally funded PhDs where the terms and conditions state that if you leave voluntarily within the first six months or you fail your First Review after resubmission and are withdrawn, all funding up to that point must be repaid. There is a sliding scale of repayment amounts for leaving after that.

Obviously you should check the terms and conditions at Huddersfield (although I wouldn't risk actually asking anyone!) but you could potentially land yourself in considerable debt - especially if you have spent money relocating to the UK from abroad.

And I agree that your first few months of PhD work are unlikely to result in anything remotely resembling usable results. Of course each project will be different, but my first six months consisted of reading for my Lit Review, applying for supplemental travel/conference grants and compiling my First Review submission.
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