February 3rd, 2020

kieth: crazy

Day 17/183: Oh, piss OFF, you exceedingly privileged tosspot

I'm not usually a fan of the articles contributed by members of the academic community to the esteemed publication Nature, but this one really pissed me off.

"Design your own doctoral project" by Jesko Becker.

I warn you, take a deep breath and brace yourself for an onslaught of unabashed, tone-deaf horseshit if you decide to click that link. Reading it made me want to scream. A lot. Because so very few people in the world are in a position to spend months or years, as this author clearly did, doing a vast amount of unpaid labour in order to cook up a doctoral project and then chasing funding for it. You have to already be nicely sorted out for that. This aspirational bullshit is exactly the kind of thing that puts off less privileged members of the academic community (which, M. Becker, is 99.999999% of them) from pursuing doctoral work in the first place, or makes them feel like failures when they can't complete it. Doctoral work is already very badly paid, and even if you are lucky enough to land a funded position, the funding is almost always insufficient to cover the actual duration of projects. Nearly everyone with a PhD that I have ever met in the UK worked at least a couple of months on their doctoral theses without pay. It is an absolutely shite system and it is not to be encouraged. So don't go telling people, "You don't need funding, just follow your dreaaaaams!" People have to pay rent. They have to eat. Some of them have families to care for. They need money to do those things.

It doesn't just take "autonomy, determination and perseverance" to make an unfunded doctoral project happen. It takes MONEY, and not just money for the project. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM, M. Becker. You are not the solution. Bugger Off.

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