Dr Dave Chandler
University of Warwick
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?
I have a thing about the best research being that which combines understanding with usefulness. A really good example of this approach is the work of Louis Pasteur. Nearly all his work was funded by industry, developing ways of solving real-world problems in food preservation and silk production among others. In doing all this practical work, he also developed the germ theory of disease.
In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?
Collaborative, guiding, inclusive.
In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:
I tend to be fairly prescriptive and hands on at the start of the phd and then transition over to more independent working later. We are very collaborative at Warwick Crop Centre and there are always lots of people to give advice on technical issues.
Progression monitoring and management:
I think it’s important for students to take ownership of their work and progression as part of the PhD training process and to enable the student to realise their potential: but this is only effective when it’s done with proper support and guidance from the supervisor. The objectives for the project will be set out in the project plan and these will be used for monitoring and managing progress. I am very approachable and I have an open door policy, so I expect and encourage my students to show me progress with experiments and to ask for advice when they think it’s required. I don’t like hierarchies and I think that the student and supervisor work best as a team, with the student eventually taking over from the supervisor as the expert in their particular area of study. The nature of research and problem solving means there are inevitably times when things don’t go as planned, and that’s when the team approach is essential. This only works when the student feels valued, doesn’t feel intimidated, and knows that they have the support of the supervisors and others around them.
We use WhatsApp a lot for communication - we’ve found it works really well. I don’t like the “always on” culture that is commonplace these days, and I think it’s important for everyone to have a proper work/life balance. So I won’t be hassling you at all hours. I want all my students to achieve their potential, and I am always available to discuss any pastoral support issues that arise alongside the excellent systems that are run by the postgraduate research support team.
How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?
At least once a month
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 lab is completely flexible, and (other than attending pre-arranged meetings), I expect students to manage their own time.
Notice for feedback (e.g. on reports, manuscript drafts, thesis chapters)?
I need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.