PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Answers to various questions regarding the SMART Scholarship application process. Includes many tips and statistics.
j4freeman

PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Post by j4freeman »

Hey Guys!

Making my way through the application process but a bit discouraged by how hard it is to find specific information on what happens at each SF. If I'm going to accept this I want it to tie in with the research I'm doing in university, but it seems there just isn't enough information to make that determination. How did you choose who to put on your preference list? And how did that work out for those who got in?

toferkey
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Re: PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Post by toferkey »

It's a bit of a crapshoot. I just looked at the websites for different SF's and tried to make a determination. One thing I also did was search for people with that lab's affilation on ResearchGate and LinkedIn to get an idea on what they ACTUALLY do, as opposed to what's on the website. I can say that for my SF. what was on the website has nothing to do with the current work that is conducted. At my SF it ended up working out fine, it wasn't a perfect fit to my research, but still in my area of study for my PhD.

I can say this though, go to a research lab (e.g Naval Surface Warfare, Army Research Lab, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Engineer Research and Development Centers, etc.). Do not go to just one of the Army Bases, Air Force Bases, etc. as the work that I've come across tends to be underwhelming and boring for someone with a PhD. Besides, the labs pay better as they usually are on pay band system and salary is negotiable to an extent.

Sisyphus
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Re: PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Post by Sisyphus »

It is very much a random crapshoot most of the time.

Also don't forget, even if your SF is currently well funded to do research in your area...unless they have really long funding horizons/stable mission areas, it could easily be the case that by the time you actually get out with your PhD (if you get out...) they might not really be doing that anymore because the funding dried up or the focus changed.

I can't honestly recommend anyone do SMART as a PhD, as there is just too much that can go wrong (both with the PhD itself and the interaction between it and SMART/your future SF - barring just getting a year or two of "I'm definitely just finishing up" funding).

toferkey
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Re: PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Post by toferkey »

I would disagree with regard to not doing SMART for PhD. My experience has been mostly positive, and SMART has just implemented a new program that will make it less relevant which facility you choose (essentially turning it into a post-doc). This year they just implemented a "seed funding" initiative (I got an email about it), where scholars can apply for funding to continue their PhD research (or any other avenue of interest with approval) for up to 3 years at their SF. This would make you a PI right off the bat when you join your SF. Of course, you have to work with your SF to align the seed funding proposal with them to an extent, but it seems promising. It looks like the funding is for 3 years @ 100k per year which would likely cover about 30%-65% (depending on salary they hire you at, and the overhead rate at your SF) of a PhD graduate's fully burdened labor for each year.

ericmonroe
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Re: PhDs - How to find a SF with research relavent to you?

Post by ericmonroe »

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