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Dr Christopher Rodrigues

Dr Christopher Rodrigues

Dr Christopher Rodrigues
University of Warwick
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

I draw inspiration from the various mentors I have had throughout my career. Becoming a scientist is a journey and it is important to have inspiring mentors that can support and inspire you.

In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

As a supervisor, my goal is to:

  1. ensure students and postdocs generate excellent outcomes from their work;
  2. help them develop skills so that they pursue their chosen career paths in science and have access to opportunities in their careers,
  3. and create an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing their opinions.
Provision of training:

I encourage students and postdocs to learn things on their own and seek their own answers, but at the same time I realize that guidance is important, so that research can be efficient and productive. For this reason, I am always available to discuss and troubleshoot technical aspects of the projects or discuss any other aspect related to scientific training (preparing for presentations, critical thinking, reading, ideas on published work, applying for jobs etc).

Progression monitoring and management:

Understanding expectations while working in a team is important to me. To achieve our goals as a team I like to set expectations clearly. I discuss expectations with my team members on a biweekly basis. I also like to check-in regularly so we can quickly discuss a plan of action together, particularly around certain experiments and technical trouble-shooting. Every day or so, I like to come in to the laboratory and have a quick, one-on-one chat about what my team members are doing.

Communication:

My team uses a WhatsApp group chat to communicate during the week (and weekends, where necessary). I expect my team members to keep up with my communications and reply to e-mails within normal working hours.  

As a supervisor, it is important to me to know your thoughts, feelings and concerns around your project. Research can be stressful and create anxiety; I recognize the need for work/life balance and the importance of mental health. It is important to me that my team members communicate their concerns, so we can find ways to ensure work is less stressful.

How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?

 At least once per fortnight

In year 1 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per week

In year 2 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

 At least once per fortnight

In year 3 of PhD study, how often do your PhD students have a scheduled >30 minute 1:1 meeting with you?

At least once per fortnight

What form do your 1:1 meetings with PhD students take?

A mixture of face-to-face or via video chat or telephone.

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response (if required) on every working day.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

The timing of work in my laboratory is mostly flexible, and other than attending pre-arranged meetings, I expect students and postdocs to manage their own time, be productive and work consistently towards defined goals and expectations. I am happy to support students and postdocs with time management and project planning.

Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?

In most cases, depending on my schedule, I need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.