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I. Gonzalez-Alvarez1, M. Gonzalez-Alvarez2, M. Bermejo1

1Universidad Miguel Hernandez (SPAIN)
2Universidad de Valencia (SPAIN)
How do the pregraduate students decide about the department or research group in which to do the Ph.D studies?
Is there any proposal to facilitate the relationships and mutual awareness between the pregraduate students and research groups?
The Ph.D degree in a particular Topic could be highly influential on career development, so it would be important for the students to have some guidance to make optimally this so relevant decision in accordance with their skills, preferences and abilities. It is difficult for a pregraduate student to decide, as they do not know in detail the nature of the work to be performed and if the research area suits them.
Very often the pregraduate students contact with a particular professor of a topic that they have enjoyed during the studies, but in some cases the research of the professor is not directly related with that topic. Another possibility is that the student look for the institutional information about the research areas or projects and he/she makes a decision based on their preferences without knowing about the research team, the required abilities and the daily work dynamics or the principal investigator teaching style, with the risk of this choice not matching his/her expectations.
A Ph.D degree involves a lot of work, personal effort and motivation and is a long-term experience, then the human factor and interpersonal interactions among the group members are also crucial for a successful teamwork and for a fruitful learning experience as well for personal maturation and growth.
The objective of this proposal is to explore the organization of a entangled system of teaching and research in which all the students from the beginning of the degree have a first contact with the research world and acquire some knowledge about what is going on, at least in their school, in order to decide if research is the professional profile they want for their future. In a second phase small groups of students could be involved for a short periods in the daily life of the laboratory through some organized activities.
This proposal is a step beyond the current “Collaboration grants” for pregraduate students as it aims to initiate in the first years the contact among the students and the departments and to increase the number of students with this experience not being conditioned to a grant. The organization of a program of activities jointly planned among the student and the professors could help those ones to perceive the presence of the pregraduate students at the labo as a positive input instead of a disturbance and as an opportunity to early detect those bright and skillful students who suit best to their research work.
The first step is to analyze how this “making decision” process is currently taking place. The results of a survey among the Ph.D students at the School of Pharmacy in Valencia will be presented and discussed as well as a list of their suggestions of potential activities to be implemented in this program, from their current experience as junior researchers.