PhD money being used for 'lab purposes' Watch

Liquid27
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Hello all,

I have been told by my supervisor that he wants to use some of my PhD research and training money to buy some resources which will be used by the lab generally.

The resource will probably only be used 25% by myself, and the rest by other people in my lab?

Is this conventional? Is this fair? Is this ethical?

I want to know your thoughts,

Thanks
Last edited by Liquid27; 1 year ago
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alleycat393
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Buying equipment or resources for the lab with PhD student money is common especially if you're going to use it for your work. Remember that at the end of your project you can't take things or money away with you. What you may want to discuss with your supervisor is whether there will be s shortfall of money later when you may want to buy other things for your project especially if you have something specific in mind.
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Liquid27
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(Original post by alleycat393)
Buying equipment or resources for the lab with PhD student money is common especially if you're going to use it for your work. Remember that at the end of your project you can't take things or money away with you. What you may want to discuss with your supervisor is whether there will be s shortfall of money later when you may want to buy other things for your project especially if you have something specific in mind.
Thanks.

I guess it really is quite common, and I guess there is not much I can do about it.

There is a whole other issue here of the ethics of such actions. As far as I am concerned, a specific amount of government money was allocated specifically for the purposes of my research and training during the course of my PhD. To use that money in any other way is deceptive and potentially fraudulent.

I will have to hastily write up list of things I would like/need for my PhD to ensure no more money is squandered for the interests of my lab/supervisor or the department.
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alleycat393
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It's neither unethical nor squandering and you really want to lose that attitude! Your supervisor has probably weighed up the cost of buying the equipment vs sending you to do the analysis elsewhere or getting someone else to do it. They also probably have loads of experience of juggling finances and grants. Labs put much more effort and finance into Phd projects than they get and if you only spent what you were allocated you probably would get just about halfway through your project and would have to stop.
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Reality Check
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That's the whole point of having a grant code! Your supervisor has decided that these resources are needed for the project and, given s/he's the PI, it's entirely acceptable for him to disburse funds allocated in a way that he feels best benefits the lab. As alleycat393 says, I would recommend you adjust that attitude (in the nicest possible way) if you want to settle into your group well.
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Liquid27
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(Original post by alleycat393)
It's neither unethical nor squandering and you really want to lose that attitude! Your supervisor has probably weighed up the cost of buying the equipment vs sending you to do the analysis elsewhere or getting someone else to do it. They also probably have loads of experience of juggling finances and grants. Labs put much more effort and finance into Phd projects than they get and if you only spent what you were allocated you probably would get just about halfway through your project and would have to stop.
I don't work in a wet lab. Generally, computational projects are much cheaper.

My lab has barely contributed any money to my project so far. I am not angry at that - just clarifying.
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Liquid27
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(Original post by alleycat393)
It's neither unethical nor squandering and you really want to lose that attitude!
P.S. We may disagree, which is fine. But I really don't appreciate the patronising language. Thanks
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monkyvirus
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From the other posts I'm guessing it's the norm for research groups (I'm in a research group of 1 so I don't know!) but I would say you are fully entitled to talk to student services or your PG rep (either within your school or in the union) and discuss your concerns. Just "I wasn't sure if this was considered normal, could you clarify / find out if this is standard?". Talking to your department head could also be an option (they are likely to know the most about your school's norms) and they will usually keep discussions like this anonymous.

PhD students aren't psychic and I see no harm in clarifying a situation that seems odd. Though I would avoid being accusatory before you have more information.
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