Category Archives: Academic Hacking

Are the Mythical Ph.D. Years More Difficult than Other Years of Work?

February 10, 2019

When talking to and reading about those in the middle of doing a Ph.D., one sometimes gets the impression that those Ph.D. years are mythical. You are on your own, need to solve a problem that nobody ever looked at, and the deadline clock is constantly ticking.

But are the years of doing a Ph.D. more difficult, demanding, stressful and challenging than other years of work? Continue reading…

Preparing and Giving a Conference Talk 101

May 2, 2018

When attending the latest conference, I was once again reminded that some scientists and researchers are good at preparing and presenting their work, and others less so.

While giving a good talk also depends on aspects such as the quality of the work and personal charisma, presentations often are not difficult to follow, or straight up uninteresting to listen to, because these are lacking, but because basic rules and guidelines on how to prepare and give a conference talk are not followed. Continue reading…

Keeping Track of Your Research Output

March 4, 2018

When you first start working in research, for example in the last years of your studies or when starting your Ph.D. project, you haven’t produced any research output yet.

Eventually, the research projects you are part of or your own research start to shape into actual research output, which may materialize into a conference abstract or paper. This further develops into a poster or talk to be presented at a conference, and later it may become a journal paper. Continue reading…

Six Essential Habits for Your Ph.D. Project

September 3, 2017

Completing a Ph.D. project successfully depends on a number of factors, such as working on an interesting and well-posed problem and together with skilled people from whom you can learn the trait of becoming and being a researcher. It also, however, depends on you and your ability to develop the right habits during the project.

In this post, I share the essential habits that I formed and developed during my own Ph.D. project – several of which I’m still relying on and holding on to in my post-Ph.D. career. Continue reading…

Communicate Your Research Frequently and at All Levels

June 21, 2015

Communicating research, for example during a Ph.D. project, is tremendously important and rewarding and should have high priority. At the same time, communication takes time and without realizing the both short and long term benefits, it’s easy to not give it the attention and emphasis it rightly deserves.

In this post, I first share a number of reasons why research communication is beneficial – and then outline pratical ways to share and communicate one’s research. Continue reading…

Making the Most of Ph.D. Supervisor Meetings

August 15, 2014

Supervisors are – or ought to be! – an important part of a Ph.D. project, and having meetings with them should be a resource for you as a Ph.D. student. Supervisor meetings are a time and place for you to display the progress in your research and to discuss this as well as your most recent data and the problems and challenges you face in your work – and to have your supervisors’ undivided attention for all of this.

These meetings are therefore, somewhat depending on how busy your supervisors are otherwise, a unique opportunity for you to make use of your supervisors’ (research) experience. However, efficient use of the meetings requires preparation and planning, and in this post I share tips on how to prepare for and make the most of your supervisor meetings. Continue reading…

Why Academics Procrastinate and Tips to Contain It

June 29, 2014

Procrastination is the act of deliberately postponing or delaying something that needs to get done, and with our electronic devices constantly bombarding us with news, notifications, e-mails and messages, it is easier than ever before to procrastinate.

In this post, I share thoughts on why I – and other academics – procrastinate. Procrastination is certainly not only present in academia, and I don’t believe that academics procrastinate more than others. But there are some special circumstances in the way academics work, which make us prone to procrastination, and I believe it is important to be aware of this – to be able to deal with it. I also share tips on how to contain procrastination, and most of these are general and can be useful for non-academics as well. Continue reading…

My Tips for Attending Academic Conferences

May 25, 2014

An important aspect of research is to attend conferences, as these are events that allow researchers to stay up to date on the recent progress in their field, meet and network with peers and present own research.

Conferences thus come with opportunities for bringing home new knowledge and ideas as well as new relations and potential collaborators, and as someone new in research, Ph.D. students have to learn how to get the most out of traveling away for conferences.

I recently attended my first two larger conferences (SPIE Photonics Europe 2014 in Brussels and META’14 in Singapore), and I decided to summarize what worked well and what didn’t work so well in preparing, attending and evaluating the conferences – to be able to make even more of conferences I’ll be going to in the future. And since I believe some of these experiences might be of interest to fellow Ph.D. students and other researchers, I decided to share them in this blog post. Continue reading…

My Ph.D. Halfway Checklist

March 29, 2014

A Ph.D. project is at the same time a job and an education towards being a researcher. The first part, the job, is covered by doing research for and with senior researchers and thus contribute to their work and research. The second part, the education, is covered via guidance and supervision from senior researchers, by doing your own small research projects, by communicating your research, both orally and in written, by collaborating with other researchers, by attending conferences and a lot more. All the points forming the educational part of a Ph.D. are important to get exposed to during the Ph.D. project, to get experience with different aspects of research.

Halfway through my Ph.D. project is quickly approaching, and this made me think about the progress I have made on the various points listed above. Also, it inspired me to consider the steps I have taken to conduct my research, organize my work and push my Ph.D. project forward.

In this post, I share my Ph.D. halfway checklist that outlines some of the most important aspects of a Ph.D. project – which are important to get an overview of to be able to plan the rest of the project, and so that changes can be made if something doesn’t work as desired. Continue reading…