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Dr Matthew Apps

Dr Matthew Apps

Dr Matthew Apps
University of Birmingham
In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?

Students in my lab receive guidance scientifically and in their career development under a supportive and inclusive supervision style, which is adapted to the needs and style of learning of students.

In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:

I prefer to take responsibility for your technical training at first, with the support of postdocs in the group, leading to more independence later. Your training will be further supported by input from other lab members and supported by additional faculty supervisors (Dr.Khatibi and Prof. Bagshaw)

Progression monitoring and management:

Progress is monitored in a relaxed manner once a week in face to face ‘catch-up’ meetings. Goals are jointly set between the student and supervisor, under the umbrella of the labs’ goals of high quality research and generally high-level of productivity. Students are supported in striving towards learning and developing themselves as well as their careers, with more in-depth assessments of development and performance carried out annually. In addition, the lab has Journal club/lab meetings once a week, which an opportunity to present research, ideas, analyses plans, discuss papers, and talk through challenges.

Communication:

Main contact between supervisor and students is conducted through email and brief weekly face to face ‘catch up’ meetings (currently being conducted virtually). These meetings are relaxed and students are encouraged to discuss whatever they wish at these meetings, to solve small problems, talk about career development etc. These are supplemented by more in-depth meetings for detailed discussion (e.g. experimental design and analysis) as well as weekly lab meetings. The lab communicates internally by both email and Slack, on which it discusses science, problem solves, and shares more relaxed content. The lab has a healthy social life (which is entirely voluntary), meeting for coffee, social events and encourages a healthy work-life balance.

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

At least once per week

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

Short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required.

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

Short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required.

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

Short meetings once a week of under 30 minutes + longer duration meetings whenever required.

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

Face to face (if allowed under current health and safety advice)

Open door policy?

Yes, I am usually contactable for an instant response 3 or 4 days per week.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

Al members of the lab are encouraged to be on site 3-4 days a week between 10am and 4pm. This is aimed at encouraging interactions with other lab members for both good mental health and to learn from other experienced researchers. However, flexible working is certainly possible in discussion with the PI, and the ongoing needs of students are always considered.

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

I typically need at least 1 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words, although students are notified when a longer lead-time may occur.