Dr William Fraser
University of Aston
Who is your scientific inspiration and why?
Prof. Albert Eschenmoser who I worked for as a Royal Society funded Postdoc. His depth of knowledge, his competitive collaboration with Nobel laureate Robert Burns Woodward on the total synthesis of vitamin B12 that including a bold, cunning, concluding deprotection strategy, and later in his career, his work on DNA analogues and derivatives towards an answer to the life question; “Why DNA?”
In three words or phrases how would you describe your supervision style?
Students and colleagues would describe my as inclusive, collaborative and detail-orientated.
In one or two sentences please describe your strategies regarding the following.
Provision of training:
Students would say that I prefer to take responsibility for your technical training at first in, for example, NMR use and data processing and interpretation. This leads to more independence later once students have proficiency and confidence.
Progression monitoring and management:
Students would say that I like to be kept up to date. I encourage attendance and participation at conferences UK and abroad, and expect to see evidence of method development/data generation results on a weekly basis, successful or otherwise!
Students and colleagues are happy if I email outside of normal work hours, but they know that I don’t expect immediate response. It could be that I’ve corrected an NMR glitch at the weekend and that I’ve simply given an update so they can run their spectra remotely on samples they already queued.
How often do your PhD students see you in a timetabled group meeting?
At least once per fortnight but I see them every day and we interact during the lab, sharing duties and giving practical AND MORAL support with catalytic hydrogenations!
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?
Face to face.
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 chemistry lab is completely flexible, and (other than attending pre-arranged meetings), I expect students to manage their own time. However, in my collaborator’s microbiology lab, certain tasks (use of anaerobic cabinet) need to occur at set times, and 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 do this immediately or within a reasonable time as reports and drafts or papers are important for student progression and research endeavour in the university especially in the run up to REF. I am known as a reliable and thorough PhD examiner. I have conducted several oral examinations at various universities including the Russell group.