If you are almost finished your master’s degree and you are considering the idea to begin studying towards a higher level of education in Science, like a doctoral degree, the following post will provide you with a brief description of my impressions and my experience so far.
In a PhD involving experimental work, one should perform some literature research to identify something innovative. The goal of a doctoral program is to carry out good research, therefore it is important to plan the experiment in detail. One should invest a generous amount of time in this step. At a certain point one may have the feeling that it is very time consuming, but ignoring details may lead to waste of much more time (and probably material as well).
Once you have carefully planned your work, go straight to test experimentally all the ideas that could improve the state of the art of the topic of your research.
In the meanwhile, your supervisors are waiting for your results. You are not the only student they are taking care of… They are often super busy, with several projects to handle. If you are lucky, you have only one chance per week to show the results of your hard work, your ideas and to get fruitful insights that can make your future work more efficient and successful. To do that you have to prepare your data and make it as clear as possible to allow an efficient interpretation of them, which is necessary for a good analysis and elaboration of ideas for the future prospects.
YOU WILL INCREASE THE POSSIBILITY TO FIND A JOB THAT YOU LIKE
A doctoral program will allow you to become an expert in a particular field of Science, while strengthening a lot of other skills and techniques that are commonly required in other fields.
CARRYING OUT YOUR OWN PROJECTS IS A REWARDING EXPERIENCE
In principle, a PhD student has the opportunity to contribute to extend the public knowledge about a particular field of Science. Her/his research will not be the solution to all the problems on the Earth, however this public information, together with others published by other researchers, can contribute to a better living on this planet.
In addition to of all these benefits of a doctoral program, a Marie Curie fellowship provides you with an attractive salary, social contributions, just like a real job! A budget to attend training, seminars and lectures will be also included.
Moreover, one of the industrial partners, which often promote the project, will host you in order to conduct part of your project within their facilities. This is a unique opportunity to introduce yourself and show what you can do. Industrial experience will help you to have an idea about which kind of job you will like afterwards, that’s if you like to continue in the academic field or start working in industry.
The academic environment of a PhD may allow you to apply for a field slightly different from what you did in your previous studies. In such a case, the beginning may be frustrating because you will not be familiar with the topic and the instrumentation and you will have to spend time familiarizing with them.
BUT because you are still “studying”, this is expected and it is a thing that you have to keep in mind, especially if you will realize the results are not the ones that you were expecting. You will work an average of 8 hours per day on the same project. If you really like what you are doing and you put effort in, good results will come for sure and it will be extremely satisfying! As a side effect of all of this, you will become more and more independent so that by the end of your doctoral program you will become capable of planning and executing an R&D project in an effective manner.
Giulio received his MSc in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from Università del Piemonte Orientale, Italy. During his undergraduate studies, he conducted research at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Germany. His project focused on developing a flow method for the synthesis of a biological interesting fructosamine mimic. Currently, he is working at Syncom BV, in the Netherlands, under the supervision of Prof. R.M. Kellogg and Dr. M. Leeman. His research focuses on: identification of new compounds that can be deracemized through Viedma ripening and development of new methods of racemization.