Dissertation Research During PhD in Biomedical Science Programs

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        Dissertation Research During PhD in Biomedical Science Programs

        The goal of doctoral research is to contribute new and original findings to the field. PhD candidates should expect continuous feedback from your peers, mentor, and advisors throughout their dissertation research.

        Your thesis/dissertation project

        The goal of your doctoral research will be to contribute new and original findings to the field. As you will think about your thesis/dissertation project, you would identify the scientific questions and then identify the experimental approaches, including possible alternatives, you will use to answer the questions. This process will be guided by your theses advisor. You will do a comprehensive review of the literature and write a draft research proposal to discuss with your mentor and advisors.

        Managing your time and staying on track during your dissertation research will help to manage your time-to-degree. Creating a reasonable timeline, in consultation with your mentor and advisors, regular analysis of the timeline and your progress, and consistently working to stay on the timeline will be invaluable in helping you to stay on track. You should expect continuous feedback from your peers, mentor, and advisors throughout your dissertation research.

        Writing and defending the thesis/dissertation

        Earning a PhD is marked by your intellectual development as an independent scientist, including the ability to employ critical thinking skills to address important unanswered questions in biology, human health, or disease. Monitoring your intellectual development is the responsibility of your thesis committee, which usually consists of your thesis advisor and other faculty members. Your thesis committee appraises your development employing a variety of measures, including progress on your dissertation project. When your committee determines that your intellectual development and your research has reached an appropriate level you will be given permission to write and defend your dissertation. Of course you should not wait until your Committee tells you to begin writing; you should begin writing drafts of some sections as early as possible. Some programs may allow you to use your publications as the backbone of your dissertation.

        After many drafts, your Committee will approve the written document for the oral defense of your dissertation. The precise format for this will vary from program to program, but most will include a public seminar. Look for opportunities to give presentations of your research throughout your graduate studies. If your program requires an oral examination/defense of your proposal before advancement to candidacy, you will have had a taste of the dissertation defense and you should use that experience as you prepare for the defense.

        In preparation for both the writing and oral defense, you should talk with senior students about their experiences, check if your institution offers writing and presentation/communication workshops, and browse the web for resources such as these listed below:

        • Right Your Writing
        • An Orals Survival Kit

        PhD Programs for Aspiring Biomedical Scientists

        Download this informational resource for students interested in pursuing a PhD degree in the biomedical sciences.

        Download

        Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisors

        These guiding principles are intended to support the development of a positive mentoring relationship between the pre-doctoral student and their research advisor.

        Read more

        Summer Undergraduate Research Programs

        View the full list

        Predoctoral Programs by School

        View the full list

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        • SRCD SECC Dissertation Research Funding Awards

        Established in 2008 by SRCD and the Student and Early Career Council, up to ten non-renewable awards in the amount of $2,000 are given for dissertation research proposals that merit special recognition and display the strong potential to contribute to the field of child development. Submissions should be in the proposal stage (i.e., not completed), and money is to be used for research costs or professional development related to the proposed dissertation project.

        The SECC members and the SRCD Early Career Awards Committee evaluate all submissions.  Evaluation criteria include the following:

        • Quality and feasibility of research proposal (based on significance of the research question, theoretical rationale, methodological appropriateness, and innovation)
        • Qualifications of the applicant (based on materials in CV and recommendations)
        • Extent to which the award will contribute significantly to the applicant’s professional development and productivity
        • Extent to which the proposed work contributes to the field of child development.

        2018 SECC Dissertation Research Funding Awards

        Procedures:
        The Student and Early Career Committee (SECC) of the Society for Research in Child Development is pleased to announce the tenth annual competition for student funding for dissertation research. Up to ten non-renewable awards in the amount of $2,000 (maximum) are given for research proposals that merit special recognition and display the strong potential to contribute to the field of child development. Submissions should be in the proposal stage (i.e. not completed), and money is to be used for research costs (e.g., participant incentives, standardized measures, research equipment) and/or methodological training (e.g., fees for a statistical workshop) needed to complete the dissertation. All expenses must be justified as needed for the completion of the dissertation.

        Award recipients will be recognized at the SRCD Biennial Meeting.

        Deadlines:
        The deadline for the 2018 SECC Dissertation Funding Research Award application is May 1, 2018 by 5 PM EDT. Application materials may be submitted online through the Submission Site beginning on February 20, 2018. Award decisions will be made by August 31, 2018.

        Eligibility:
        1. Only SRCD student members are eligible to apply. Applicants must be SRCD members at the time of application and membership must be maintained throughout the award period. International members and members from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Consistent with the SRCD initiative to improve multidisciplinary collaboration in the child development field, applications that reflect multidisciplinary research aims and/or are from non-traditional disciplines are encouraged to apply.
        2. Applicants must be graduate students in a field related to child development, in good standing with their university, and have their dissertation proposals approved by their advisor. Students may apply for the award prior to dissertation committee approval, but funding will not be issued until the research project has been approved by the dissertation committee.
        3. Funding is for a dissertation research project. Funding will not be issued until the research project has been approved by the university IRB.

        Process:
        1. The SECC members and the SRCD Early Career Awards Committee will evaluate all submissions. Evaluation criteria include: (a) quality and feasibility of research proposal (based on significance of the research question(s), theoretical rationale, methodological appropriateness, and innovation); (b) qualifications of the applicant (based on materials in CV and recommendations); (c) the extent to which the award will contribute significantly to the applicant’s professional development and productivity and (d) the extent to which the proposed work contributes to the field of child development.
        2. Please submit application materials electronically on or before May 1, 2018 at 5 PM EDT by visiting the SUBMISSION SITE , which will open to accept application submissions starting in February 2018.
        3. Please use APA formatting guidelines (6th edition; 2010) and be prepared to include each of the following when applying online in one PDF file:

        • Cover letter (1 page maximum, double-spaced): Letter describing your research experience and interests, as well as your career goals.
        • Abstract (1 page maximum, double-spaced)
        • Project summary (6 pages maximum, double-spaced): Summary of the research project, including background and rationale, an explanation of research design (methods, analyses, etc.), how the project fits your career goals and interests, and other important aspects of the study (references do not count towards page limit).
        • Budget & Budget Justification (1 page maximum, single-spaced): Please provide (1) a list of each budget item with (2) an accompanying explanation about how the budget expense (item per item) will be utilized to help with the completion of the dissertation. Be sure to justify all expenses (no minimum, maximum $2,000). Also, please provide (3) a list all other sources of funding for this project and (4) your dissertation advisor must sign this budget form.

        Note regarding budget: The award must be used to support expenses that are directly needed for the completion of the dissertation (e.g., animal care, equipment, and participant incentives) or indirectly (e.g., training workshop, consultant fees). A portion of the budget may go towards mentoring and training if necessary to carry out the research proposal (e.g., consultant fees, travel to trainings/seminars to acquire specialized research skills, and workshop registrations for these trainings/seminars). It may not be used for personal expenses (i.e., personal travel) or for travel to conferences to disseminate research findings (i.e., cannot be used to cover costs associated with travel to SRCD Biennial Meeting or other conferences). All expenses must be justified as needed for the completion of the dissertation. Failure to comply with this requirement may disqualify your application from further consideration.

        ***Please be aware that SRCD does not pay for indirect costs associated with institutions.***

        • Timeline (1 page maximum, single-spaced): Timeline for completion of the project.
        • Curriculum Vitae including research experience, presentations, and scientific publications.

        4. A letter of recommendation from your research advisor is also required. This letter should include a statement of support and approval, the feasibility of research study, attest to the student’s primary and major contributions to the research, and explain why the research is worthy of the award. The advisor must comment on the student’s academic standing as well as the student’s current progress on the dissertation. Letters should be in PDF format and submitted by your advisor through the submission site by May 1, 2018 at 5 PM EDT.
        5. Award recipients will be contacted by September 2018 and recognized at the next SRCD Biennial Meeting. All applicants will be notified of funding decisions.
        6. Award recipients must acknowledge the SECC Dissertation Research Funding Award from SRCD in any resulting publications from the dissertation project.
        7. All application materials must be submitted online through the SUBMISSION SITE . Incomplete applications and applications exceeding set page limits will not be reviewed. The deadline for submitting complete applications is May 1, 2018 at 5 PM EDT.

        Please send all inquiries regarding eligibility requirements and submission content to [email protected] .  For technical assistance with the submission site, please contact [email protected] .


        Congratulations to prior SRCD SECC Dissertation Funding Award Winners:

        • 2017 Awardees
        • 2016 Awardees
        • 2015 Awardees
        • 2014 Awardees
        • 2013 Awardees
        • 2012 Awardees
        • 2011 Awardees
        • 2010 Awardees