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Professor Martin Wills

M Wills

Professor Martin Wills
Department of Chemistry
University of Warwick
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Prof Steve Davies, Oxford, who was my PhD supervisor, for his endlessly enthusiastic and hard-working attitude.

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

High expectations. Attention to detail. Your PhD success is essential.

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

In the early stages I will be with you in the lab and teaching you directly, with plenty of suggestions. As you become more confident, I expect you to lead and solve problems yourself. My group will be there to guide and advise, and I expect you to talk to them. My group has varied between 4-10 in number over the years, i.e., quite a small group, and I work closely with each student to maximise outputs and achievements. I will advise you on job opportunities, cv, conference attendance etc. so that you gain vital experience in these important areas.

Progression monitoring and management:

Formal fortnightly meetings with a written report and a timetabled meeting. Presentations through group meetings, to which I would like you to contribute fully. I will be available every day that I am in (which is most days) to give you advice. I will read through every report and presentation you give. I will frequently ask you how things are going and suggest ideas for you. I don’t set any fixed hours – you just need to get great results to make sure you get a PhD.

Communication:

Happy to talk and communicate anytime. Late night and weekend messages are not a problem, although I might not reply immediately, and I don’t expect you to reply ‘out of hours’ either. I’ve seen most things now. I don’t regard any question as a silly question. I will have lots of questions for you and will test your understanding in depth. If you are the sort of person who likes to get on with things by themselves for days at a time without interruption then I am probably not the right supervisor for you.

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 fortnight

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?

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

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.