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"Started at a Poly now we here" - Staffs UG to Leeds PhD watch

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    Hi,

    I've been at Leeds as a PhD for the last 18 months or so, and am beginning to enjoy it a little now that work is finally progressing. Also passed my Transfer viva first time, mostly because delays were the fault of the University, and industrial sponsor was blown away by the report and is planning to write a few papers soon.

    My question though, is this. Has anybody moving from a "small" to a "big" (e.g. Oxbridge, Russell Group etc) university that people have actually heard of, found themselves up against red tape and numbing bureacracy/apathy/idleness at every turn? It almost makes me miss the little family feel that was at Staffs because staff and student numbers were so low.

    Back then the easiest way to do something was do it yourself, or chase the relevant staff member. Nothing took longer than three days. Now I need technical supervision, 6 weeks notice, and a work permit to access parts of my own lab to repair my experimental rig. This as a supposed capable PG!

    A far cry from being left in a room at the weekend with a colleague and an old crossflow engine to rebuild. I had no idea what I was doing; but nobody died, the engine work, and that satisfaction was it's own reward. Suspending work and placing my time planning in the hands of pen-pushers...it better not happen this time next year.

    Demanding satisfaction,
    Aaron
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    I think at a place like Leeds they expect YOU to work things out for yourself much more, as staff chase research grants and have a million and one things to do to keep on track with REF.
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    Oh yes, I don't mind that. Vital part of independent scholarship. It's more the technical side than the academic side. Various different contractors in and out etc, asking someone to disconnect and move a piece of equipment, but not reinstall it again at a new site. Mind boggling bureacracy.

    H&S seem happy enough for me to have open floor plates if I put up a notice and take precautions. I'd need special dispensation to fall through into the basement though as it's restricted.
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    (Original post by A.Mifflin)
    Oh yes, I don't mind that. Vital part of independent scholarship. It's more the technical side than the academic side. Various different contractors in and out etc, asking someone to disconnect and move a piece of equipment, but not reinstall it again at a new site. Mind boggling bureacracy.

    H&S seem happy enough for me to have open floor plates if I put up a notice and take precautions. I'd need special dispensation to fall through into the basement though as it's restricted.
    Honestly I suspect part of it is to do with the reality of your subject and the technical demands/risks. Maybe Leeds are a bit more bureaucratic in that regard, but I'm also doing a PhD at a Russell Group and find the bureaucracy no worse that at my undergraduate uni - that's in a humanities subject though. From listening to science PhD friends, they all complained about obligatory health & safety training at the very beginning of the programme, but not since. So you could just be unlucky in your department, rather than it being a feature of being at a big/"better" university.
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    I hope it stays that way for you. Perhaps just departmental then as you say. Difficult to compare-there were no rigs in the old place, so shouldn't complain! I guess once I've developed this engine it'll be a little faster for the next PhD using it.
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    I've been to both ex-poly and RG in the past few years - both had aspects which were infuriatingly incompetent. I don't think it's much to do with uni status. I think some are just a bit rubbish and/or overbearing. I seem to have fallen foul of both!
 
 
 
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