I am very proud of the students who have obtained PhDs from the batlab. Elsewhere on this site you can see what some of them are doing now. Graduates of the batlab include university lecturers at Leeds and Stirling, a Royal Society University Research Fellow, as well as ecological consultants and scientists working in nature conservation (including the Head of Biodiversity at the Bat Conservation Trust). Postdocs who have worked here now have academic positions at the Universities of Auckland, Berne, and Bristol. The batlab also allows interesting opportunities for collaboration in the School of Biological Sciences at Bristol, especially with Professor Daniel Robert working on insect hearing, and Dr Marc Holderied on echolocation. Dr Orly Razgour arrived in 2015 as a NERC Advanced Research Fellow researching how bats respond to climate change.
If you are interested in doing a PhD, you need to be sure that a PhD is for you! You can find out more about doing a PhD at the School's postgraduate website. Funded PhD positions come up rarely, and it is vital that students are dedicated to these studentships. Everyone who has done a PhD in the lab believes it is a tremendous experience, although hard work. If you have any doubts about what is required from doing a PhD, some recent advice published in Nature (11 May 2006) is valuable:
- Take responsibility for your project.
- Work hard — long days all week and part of most weekends. If research is your passion this should be easy, and if it isn’t, you are probably in the wrong
field. Note who goes home with a full briefcase to work on at the end of the day. This is a cause of success, not a consequence.
- Take some weekends off, and decent holidays, so you don’t burn out.
- Read the literature in your immediate area, both current and past, and around it. You can’t possibly make an original contribution to the literature unless you
know what is already there.
- Plan your days and weeks carefully to dovetail experiments so that you have a minimum amount of downtime.
- Keep a good lab book and write it up every day.
- Be creative. Think about what you are doing and why, and look for better ways to go. Don’t see your PhD as just a road map laid out by your supervisor.
- Develop good writing skills: they will make your scientific career immeasurably easier.
- To be successful you must be at least four of the following: smart, motivated, creative, hard-working, skilful and lucky. You can’t depend on luck, so you had
better focus on the others!