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SL2College: Undergraduate Research and higher Education, March 2017, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

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SL2College Research Collaboration Program

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SL2College: Undergraduate Research and higher Education, March 2017, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

  1. 1. Charith Perera (PhD, MBA) SL2College Research Collaboration Program Undergraduate Research and Higher Education February 2017
  2. 2. Why these slides exists ? In February 2017, SL2College asked me whether I can give a talk to University of Peradeniya students regarding the importance of undergraduate research, scientific publications, and higher education opportunities. This slide set came to life as part of that talk. The content presented here are experiences of mine and some of my colleagues who went through similar processes. It is also important to note that each researcher who goes through this process may end up with different experiences. Further note that my views may have influenced by my own experiences in Australia (during PhD time) and UK (since graduation). I did an extensive information gathering during 2009-2010 as part of my own journey towards a research career. These slides are not designed to replace you own information gathering. Instead, this is to give you an starting point to explore your own career, possibilities, and options. Finally, good luck for your own journey…
  3. 3. Disclaimer Please note that I or SL2College do not take any responsibility regarding the content presented here. I do not work for SL2College and do not responsible for their activities. I offer my free service to Sri Lankan students through SL2College as an invited guest speaker and a volunteered mentor.
  4. 4. Higher Education Opportunities
  5. 5. ADVICE 1 PhD IS for everyone Who should do a PhD PhD IS NOT for everyone Yes, anyone can do a PhD. It is different from any other coursework based degree. GPAs, classes and other similar esteem factors do not say much about whether anyone would be successful as a researcher. You need to be passionate about a certain subject and willing to explore your own journey alone with little guidance from others. PhD is not something you do in order to demonstrate your intellectual excellence. Having a 1st class bachelors degree does not guarantee the success in research. There have been many instances where 1st class BSc graduates have left their PhD in the middle of the program because they get bored or frustrated, or just they realised research is not for them. That is totally fine. Life is short. Try to find who you are and what you like to do in you career. UG research project is the best place to explore yourself.
  6. 6. ADVICE 2 Technical, getting into a PhD program and Find a Scholarship it two different processes. However, in most universities, these two processes go hand in hand Most of the time, it is not recommended to start a PhD without a scholarship as the financial burden could end up putting additional pressure on you and your studies Doing a PhD and Find a Scholarship
  7. 7. ADVICE 3 Finding a Scholarship is not a science, but an art How to Find a Scholarship PhD IS for everyone, however, you will need good marks for you bachelors due to competition (for both PhD program admissions and scholarships)
  8. 8. ADVICE 4 • Relocation for entire family = partner + kids • Partner can work • Extremely flexible work schedules • Work from home + annual leave • No daily start or end time What a PhD Scholarship means
  9. 9. UK PhD Scholarship Advertisements ADVICE 5
  10. 10. PhD Scholarship Types • Home country Funds • Charity Funds (Home or Host Ends) • Project Funds • Host Government Funds • Host + Home Government Partnership Funds • University Level Funds • Department Level Funds • Research Group Level funds • Industry Funds ADVICE 6
  11. 11. ADVICE 7 Your Living Space During PhD  This is where I lived Each university has onsite accommodation for both UG and PG students There are different levels of facilities for different prices as well
  12. 12. ADVICE 8 Living inside and outside University, Your choice with pros and cons Life Outside Work
  13. 13. ADVICE 9 You get all the resources you need…From unlimited stationary.. to printing…to binding…etc. Couple of screens, desktop or laptop, etc.. Access to servers, you will get you own mini budget for conference travel and small equipment… Basic Resources  This is where I worked
  14. 14. It is always good to learn some generic skills during your Bachelors degree that will help you research lifer later: By no means you need to learn all listed below, just learn few as you feel right for your long term interests…may be inline with your Bachelors thesis • LaTeX (to write papers) • Data Science / Machine Learning (how to use ready made tools) • Qualitative research (User studies, Surveys, interviews) • Quantitative research (Statistical techniques) • Some scripting, Linux stuff (most research may need) ADVICE 10 Develop Generic Skills
  15. 15. ADVICE 11 [IMHO] Supervisor matters, not much the University Do not judge supervisor or group my the University Ranks Choosing a PhD Supervisor Look at their profiles, past students, grants they have, international engagements, awards they hold, etc. However, Top universities / departments can provide you extra advantages (e.g. additional money, important networking opportunities, recognition after graduation, etc.)
  16. 16. ADVICE 12 This is the typical flow for AUS Figure is from ANU Rank #1 in Australia. : Reference letters matters a lot: From whom? NOT from famous people, but people who know you best) Increasingly, publications matters Competition for Scholarships Lesser ranking Universities will have lesser expectations: Sometimes a Good international publication may fill some weaker results in your degree….
  17. 17. Undergraduate Research
  18. 18. ADVICE 13 Publication processes takes time, plan very early Better to decide by the end of 2nd year Publications Take Time
  19. 19. ADVICE 14 Try to take the advantage of being in SL (aka a developing country) Low cost, affordable, suability (less tech savvy)…. Our own problems…. (so you are not competing) Weight of the paper may change…more on evaluations… Good for the university as well…and could open future possibilities …. The Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) is a £1.5 billion fund announced by the UK Government to support cutting-edge research that addresses the challenges faced by developing countries… Blue Ocean Strategy
  20. 20. ADVICE 15 Work together during Bachelors to get a publication done. Its pretty hard to do any good work alone (and also publish) at UG level Working Together
  21. 21. ADVICE 16 SL2College Research Collaboration: Prof. Saman Amarasinghe (MIT) Must Watch Travelling for Conferences: Consider the logistics and value trade- offs, funding situation, and potential opportunities to acquire travel grant from either locally for through conference organizers It is not essential to match UG paper to PhD theme, but always better it matches. Further Advice (United States)
  22. 22. ADVICE 17 Publications in Conferences and Journals Conference Journals New Hybrids Continuous Review Research communities are comparatively small…. everyone knows who is in the town….positive and negative bias exists (even with double blind)… do not take reviews personal IMHO, for SL UG, when possible Journal First / Journal only Publication Venue Choices
  23. 23. ADVICE 18 YOU are always a RISK… You need to help Universities (Professors) to think that you are comparatively a lower risk (also a higher return) In scholarship market…YOU are the Product… Universities (Professors) are the buyers In scholarship market…YOU are a Start-up… Universities (Professors) are the investors Selling Your Self
  24. 24. ADVICE 19 Pick a camp, if possible, not essential There are pros and cons There are other societies / communities as well in IEEE side Research Area
  25. 25. ADVICE 20 There are many different types of research in computer science Interdisciplinary research is EXTREAMLY valued these days • Can you work with doctors • Can you work with farmers • Can you work with social scientists • Can you work with social activist or historians Note: Interdisciplinary doesn’t mean that you just solve a problems faced by someone else using technology… but in your UG level, that is also fine… Going Interdisciplinary
  26. 26. ADVICE 21 • Example Non-traditional CS departments/groups • MIT Media Lab • Newcastle Open Lab Writing algorithms …to building systems…to design fictions…software engineering…etc. There is a huge variation to choose from... The questions is what make you more interesting In research, waves comes and goes…so the PhD studentships… (2017) Data Science, IoT, Cyber Security, distributed ledgers…but traditional pillars will stay as always Types of Computer Science Research
  27. 27. Some random samples…. There is a huge spectrum of work Does not even look like CS…isn’t it? CS PhD without single equation ? ADVICE 22 Mathematics and Computer Science
  28. 28. Books Edited Books Book Chapters Transactions / Journals  For UG Research Magazines Conferences Regular  For UG Research Conference Short  For UG Research Poster / Demo Papers  For UG Research Workshop  For UG Research ADVICE 23 Types of Publications (Broad View)
  29. 29. Regular research Paper  For UG Research Short Papers  For UG Research Tool Papers Vision Papers Data Papers Industry Papers Experience Papers Application Papers ADVICE 24 Types of Publications (Within Conferences)
  30. 30. ADVICE 25 Each scholarship Committee is different, so is the professor Each professor, each research group is different (Criteria they may look for, not in priority order) • GPA, • Class, • Recommendation Letters, • Publications, • First impression, • Your languages skills, • UG Thesis • Etc… Each Selection Process is Different
  31. 31. ADVICE 26 Selection criteria and supervisors influencing power could be varied based on where the funding comes from…. Your CV may fight for you (specially if you have a way to distinguish you from others. e.g. Olympiad prizes, international competitions, publications, etc.) Someone to Champion Your Application Is you University / Department known to them ? Look for past graduates…
  32. 32. ADVICE 27 Apply for a Scholarship… You need a support from a potential supervisor Contact him/her well before First impression matters a lot.. They will need to fight for you… Read their web pages in detail before you contact them. To be safe side…start with Professor / Madam / Sir …etc. verify their current venue…people move a lot Process and Etiquette in Applying Scholarships
  33. 33. ADVICE 28 Not every research can be done (competitively) in every University… Even world’s top Universities have their own limitations… More than technological…. they are more to do with concentration of talent, undocumented knowledge… UK’s Doctoral Training Centres (CDTs) acknowledge this… AUS is slightly different… PhD Proposal (Part of Application)
  34. 34. How it ends ADVICE 29
  35. 35. You can easily save enough to pay our parents tickets How it ends… (Just a beginning) ADVICE 30
  36. 36. ADVICE 31 PhD, as a paid, once in a life time fun experience overseas Travel for conferences Do somethings interesting, Spend 3-4 (5-6 in US) and you can always come back PhD is not all about technical work, but the full experience Once in a Life Time and Its FREE
  37. 37. ADVICE 32 • Academic • Industry (e.g., MSR, Intel, Google) • Industry (Other) • Government / NGOs • Start ups (Still limited culture in UK and AUS) After PhD There are pros and cons in each job category. Pick what is right for you…or may try few before settle down…each country or state may also have own pros and cons
  38. 38. ADVICE 33 • Scientists (Research) • Academics (Research and Teaching) • Science Managers (Managing) • Science Communicators • Journalists (News / TV / Film) • Recruiters • Corporate Trainers • Public Policy • Consultants many more…. Types of Jobs
  39. 39. ADVICE 34 Want to be inspired… PhD Comics
  40. 40. ADVICE 35 Each country has its own culture when it comes to do a PhD English language requirements: Rules change time to time…check yourself…always better to look at documents than asking from someone you know Look for other requirements as well: GRE OR GMAT for US and some other countries English Language and Other Requirements
  41. 41. ADVICE 36 Some Perks of Doing a PhD  Travel Around the World: During my PhD and after I travelled US (Hawaii), UK, France, China,…and lived and travelled all over AUS Get Paid to do what you like to learn and what you like to do: You can plan a start-up from you business (Next GOOGLE ?): Most of the time, you (students) own Intellectual property of your PhD work. Get to know different cultures, different people, make friends, life long experience, lots of free food… Get the taste of how industry works (i.e. internships)
  42. 42. Charith Perera | | Feel Free to send you queries to following contact information