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Rethinking the PhD

front cover of concepts of materials science

I self-published this short book on Amazon to record the innovations of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) I established at Imperial College London in 2009 and its demise ten years later. The CDT won international acclaim for the exceptional quality of the students it attracted, their personal and professional development, the quality of their research some of which was genuinely world-leading, and for the engagement with industry and the wider community through student-led outreach activities. The CDT was a dream I had nurtured for 28 years after my own PhD at the University of Pennsylvania. For many years I had felt the British PhD was not fit for purpose, failing students and employers alike. The book describes how we put the personal, professional and educational development of our students at the centre of all our activities. It also describes how we established strong relationships with industrial partners, taking time to understand the problems they faced and involving them directly in the personal development of our students. The demise of the CDT was the result of an asinine decision in 2018 by the research council EPSRC not to renew the funding of our CDT and 27 other top-rated CDTs in the country - a decision EPSRC refused to explain. The book makes clear that EPSRC's decision-making process was egregiously flawed. The reviews of the book on UK and overseas Amazon websites highlight the dismay and catastrophic consequences surrounding this decision, not least for the UK plc. It contributed to my withdrawal from academic life in 2018.

Available in paperback and as an ebook on Amazon websites only.

Table of Contents (opens in new window).

Reviews (opens in new window).

Response to my book from the Executive Chair of EPSRC (opens in new window).