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Professor Rob Jackson

Professor Rob Jackson

Professor Rob Jackson
University of Birmingham
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?

My PhD and postdoc mentors, Profs Alan Vivian, John Mansfield, Paul Rainey: their passion and enthusiasm combined with inquisitiveness and critical thinking (including challenging paradigms) really inspired me to love the area I work in and to think outside the box to solve the problems I faced. Based on this, I really want to pass these on to those I work with.

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

Supportive, collaborative, inclusive.

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

My preference is to meet regularly to discuss strategy and provide guidance, whilst letting the postdocs provide technical training. I would expect independence will gradually build up.

Progression monitoring and management:

I like to be kept up to date on progress and to discuss progress regularly. I would typically set out expectations from the outset and then allows these to develop with new ones emerging as the project progresses. I am always available for guidance and support and it is important to me to help with progression and completion.

Communication:

Communication is the keystone for good working and I try very hard to get communication correct. This will develop professionally via regular meetings of the research group and use of email and Teams to make regular contact. I am always available to discuss issues and work through them.

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, but my pattern of being contactable for an instant response is not predictable.

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. However, where activities are scheduled for set times, then I expect attendance at that time. Students need to be able to commit to a rota/timetable shared with other members of the team.

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.