Guidelines for graduate supervisors in the CIMR, and the Departments of Haematology and Medical Genetics
The CIMR Graduate Education Committee oversees all matters relating to graduate students in the CIMR and the Departments of Haematology and Medical Genetics. This includes the admissions process, progress reports, examinations and reviews. The committee comprises of representatives from each of the departments within CIMR.
The departmental representatives are:
Clinical Biochemistry: Folma Buss (Chair CIMR GEC)
Clinical Neuroscience: Peter St. George-Hyslop
Haematology: Randy Read, Elisa Laurenti
Medicine: Paul Lehner
Medical Genetics: Evan Reid
Pathology: Janet Deane
Under the admissions policy of the CIMR GEC, all graduate students to be admitted to CIMR, and the Departments of Haematology and Medical Genetics, should be interviewed by a panel of at least 2 people, including either the Principal Investigator, appropriate CIMR GEC representative for the department and/or one other PI (from within CIMR/Haematology/Medical Genetics). A completed interview pro-forma, and a copy of the candidates CV should be submitted to the CIMR GEC before a candidate can be officially accepted. The interview pro-forma can be downloaded here. Please send completed interview pro-forma and CV to firstname.lastname@example.org
Students applying for PhD places in competitive schemes (e.g. CIMR / BRC / Infection, Immunity & Inflammation / Stem Cell 4 Yr PhD Programmes and Wellcome Trust Clinical / NIH 3 Year PhD Programmes etc) are routinely interviewed and so will not need to be re-interviewed under this policy. However, students who are self funding or who for example have obtained full/part funding from their government will still need to be interviewed.
For any student applying to work with a PI in the CIMR, or Departments of Haematology and Medical Genetics, it is essential that they use course code MDMR22 for PhD or MDMRM2 for MPhil when submitting their online GRADSAF application. Once a student has been accepted and a supervisor appointed, the student’s course code will be altered to a CIMR/specific department code.
All new students should be given a copy of the ‘Guidelines for graduate students in the CIMR, and the Departments of Haematology and Medical Genetics’. Copies are available from Claudia Allmendinger, or can be downloaded here.
All graduate students are required to have a second supervisor. The second supervisor should be a member of academic staff from a collaborating or otherwise related group (outside of the research group, but usually within the University). The second supervisor should be selected during the admission process.
All graduate supervisors are required by the University’s Statutes and Ordinances to submit progress reports on a termly basis, or when a supervisor has concerns about a student’s progress. Reports need to be submitted on the University’s online progress reporting system (Cambridge Graduate Supervision Reporting System, CGSRS). Reports, once submitted are available to the student who may also comment on them. They are also read by the Department/Faculty, Degree Committee, College and Student Registry. Supervisors are encouraged to give an honest appraisal of the student’s progress but to do so in a manner that can be used positively to provide useful feedback.
To access the CGSRS you will need to log into CamSIS (http://www.camsis.cam.ac.uk) using your Raven ID and password.
First year reports & viva
The first year report should be between 30-50 pages (50 being the absolute maximum). Students should be allocated approx. 2 weeks protected time to complete the report. The report should consist of:
- a short abstract
- introduction, a review of the relevant literature
- results section, a description of your experimental work (methods, results)
- discussion, as appropriate to the results obtained
- experimental plan for the second year
We recommend that students write their first year reports in July/August. First year vivas will take place in early September. The viva will be conducted by the second supervisor and an external assessor (this will be someone external to the project but within the university). As primary supervisor, you will also be invited to attend as an observer. Students will be required to give a 10 minute presentation based on the first year report at the start of the viva. Students will also need to take their log book to this meeting. The viva assessors will submit a report with their recommendation of whether the student can be formally registered for the PhD to the CIMR Graduate Education Committee. The template for the first year assessment report can be downloaded here.
All students will be expected to present their projects at either the CIMR Internal Seminar Series, the CIMR Research Retreat, departmental seminar series, or programme symposia. These talks should be given by the end of the students second year and recorded in their Log-book.
Second year assessment and poster session
All students will also be expected to present a poster at the annual CIMR/MBU 2nd Year Poster Session, which usually takes place in May. Any issues surrounding IP/confidentiality should be brought to the attention of the CIMR GEC (email@example.com) by the primary supervisor. Should it not be possible to display a poster due to IP/confidentiality issues, students will be asked to produce a poster based on a literature review rather than their PhD project.
Students should formally meet with their second supervisor in September to discuss their progress and plans for their final year. Both primary and second supervisors should confirm that the student’s progress is satisfactory, or communicate any difficulties to the CIMR Graduate Education Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The University’s Statutes and Ordinances state that the student submits his/her PhD dissertation not later than the last day of the fourth year after he/she was registered as a full-time student, or the last day of the seventh year if he/she is part-time. Further information can be found in Chapter VII, Section 12 of the University’s Ordinances (http://www.admin.cam.ac.uk/univ/so/2011/chapter07-section12.html).
Should you have any queries or require any advice or support relating to graduate student matters, please contact either your CIMR GEC departmental representative, or Folma Buss (Chair of the CIMR GEC). For administrative queries, please contact Claudia Allmendinger (email@example.com).
The structure of the PhD course is designed to produce graduates with rigorous research and analytical skills, who are exceptionally well-equipped to go onto Postdoctoral research, or employment in industry and the public service.
The PhD course provides:
- a period of sustained in-depth study of a specific topic;
- an environment that encourages the student’s originality and creativity in their research;
- skills to enable the student to critically examine the background literature relevant to their specific research area;
- the opportunity to develop skills in making and testing hypotheses, in developing new theories, and in planning and conducting experiments; developing practical research skills and learn new state of the art techniques used in biomedical research.
- the opportunity to expand the student’s knowledge of their research area, including its theoretical foundations and the specific techniques used to study it;
- the opportunity to gain knowledge of the broader field of biomedical research;
- an environment in which to develop skills in written work, oral presentation and publishing the results of their research in high-profile scientific journals, through constructive feedback of written work and oral presentations.
PhD learning outcomes
At the end of their PhD course, students should:
- have a thorough knowledge of the literature and a comprehensive understanding of scientific methods and techniques applicable to their own research;
- be able to demonstrate originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of how research and enquiry are used to create and interpret knowledge in their field;
- have developed the ability to critically evaluate current research and research techniques and methodologies;
- have self-direction and originality in tackling and solving problems;
- be able to act autonomously in the planning and implementation of research; and
- have gained oral presentation and scientific writing skills.