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Dr Paco Fernandez-Trillo

Dr Paco Fernandez-Trillo

Dr Paco Fernandez-Trillo
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

Multiple. I think George Whitesides should be a key inspiration to most applied chemists for his ability to contribute to multiple areas. I am very impressed lately with how Carolyn Bertozzi manages to work at the interface between Chemistry and Biology, deciphering the glycocode using chemistry tools.

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

Supportive, approachable, available.

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

I discuss training with each student as part of our regular meetings. When joining our lab there is some basic training that will be expected, normally chemical and polymer synthesis, and basic analytical techniques such as NMR or MS. As the project progresses, the training is adapted. Details about the training we provide in our lab are available in our projects.

Progression monitoring and management:

Normally, progress meetings happen every two weeks. In my experience this give the members of my group enough time to develop enough work for us to discuss. Progress meetings focus on two aspects: 1) Pastoral matters as 1-to-1 meetings provide the confidential environment to discuss these matters. 2) Experimental work, focusing on issues and problems identified.

Communication:

I think that communication is key to success in a PhD. On top of the scheduled 1-to-1 meetings, I have arranged for multiple channels so that members of my group can get in touch with me. The primary point of contact is Slack, where members of my team can message me directly with any queries or concerns. Depending on the gravity or urgency of the issue, we will identify a suitable arrangement to discuss the issue.

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?

Once every two weeks

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

Once every two weeks

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

Once every two weeks

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

Pre-pandemic: face-to-face. Students will bring a short presentation with the results of their wok over the last two weeks. Post-pandemic these meetings happen via zoom.

Open door policy?

Yes, although this is challenging under the current circumstance. The closest we have at this stage is Slack, which is always running in the background so my students can contact me at any point.

My expectation of PhD student working patterns?

I expect students to commit as much time as they would commit to any other job. The working pattern though is flexible, and depends on the PhD student circumstances, but also the nature of the work to be undertaken.

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

1-3 days for short reports (e.g. poster abstracts, etc). I need at least 2 week’s notice to provide feedback on written work of up to 5000 words.