Studera Query

Originally posted on swedenpk@yahoogroups.com mailing list on March 11, 2008

Asalam Alekum,

First of all I would like to inform you the situation in which I made the call. Due to some problems at both the ends the voice could not be conveyed properly and I tried my level best to get as many answers as possible.

To most of my questions regarding the confirmation or email regarding receiving documents being received the person replied that they are working on the documents and they were not expecting such a huge response due to which they are behind schedule. And it is also not possible to confirm each and every thing.

Q. My application says “Not processed” / “Under assessment”
A. I found the answer for this on the website where it is stated – Should an application alternative be marked “Not processed” or “Under assessment” this indicates that the course or programme has not been fully processed yet.  (In short nothing to worry about).

Q. What does SG & MR mean?
A. These are for the internal evaluation and do not need to be considered or bothered about. (Its a way by which they make a translation of a foreign degree to a Swedish degree.)

Q. It says on my profile that there are 15 messages waiting but when u follow that link there are no messages ( the space next to the bullets are empty wrt each uni)
A. This is a Technical problem of the system so in reality there are no messages which should be viewed by the user.

There was also questions regarding sending of documents and them not being evaluated properly. The person on the help line said that if you think there are any kind of documents that need to be attached or sent please send them anyway.

My personal advice to all those who think they have additional documents are to please send them anyway – both to Studera and to your target university (just to make it double sure). Because if you miss it at one end you will probably get it done from the other end. (This is just my personal thought). Actually no final decisions have been made. They are all in the process. It is very much possible that all documents have not been processed.

The centralized system I think has been done because after giving you admission the University will inform Studera which will make sure that students do not get entered in multiple programs and only join the program which is of their top priority. Earlier I know cases where people had 2-3 university acceptances and they confirmed to all 3 and joined none of them. So this in effect wastes the seat which could have been availed by some one else.

So everybody do not worry and just have faith in Allah. InshAllah very soon everyone will get a response. Also we must bear in mind that when we say “InshAllah” it means that “If God willing…”. so if Allah wants it to be than so it shall be.

Also I am sorry if I could not convey your message to the exact query mentioned in the emails addressed to me. Sorry for that.

Saad Rahman


This post has moved to http://paksirzameen.net/psz/?p=17

Forwarded by:
Inam Raja <inam_raja@hotmail.com>
Bio 21 Institute
The University of Melbourne
Flemingtom Rd., VIC 3010,  Australia
Mobile : + 61-4-31600027

Guide for PhD students (and post-docs) aiming for a successful career in science

roughly in order of importance, and with apologies to those who have worked these things out for themselves!
This is not an official QIMR document and does not represent the views of QIMR or its committees. It does, however, reflect the collective view of some senior QIMR researchers who manage to enjoy very productive and intellectually rewarding careers in medical research, and who wish to pass on some tips to those who are considering a similar career.
Doing a PhD should be fun, rewarding and be seen as a privilege.  It’s the only time in your life that you can spend 100% of your working time learning to do research, finding out new things, having freedom to pursue new areas and getting paid for it, without any administrative or other responsibilities. Those who stick it out do so because, despite the relatively poor pay, long hours and lack of security, it is all we want to do because of the intellectual satisfaction it brings, the excitement of discovery, the freedom to make your own work schedule, the opportunities for travel, the pleasure of being in an international community of like-minded people and (for some people) the possibility that we might actually help the human condition!
  1. Choose a supervisor whose work you admire (find out first what work they have done and are doing, and search PubMed to see how productive they are!), located in a department or institute with good infrastructure (equipment, patient samples, seminar series etc), and who has enough grant funding not to limit your project too much.
  1. Get involved and take responsibility for your project. This is probably the most important transition from the Honours year. To be successful in research you need to develop strong skills in independent and effective thinking, critical analysis, problem-solving, and time management. The only way to develop these skills is to take responsibility for your project. You need to immerse yourself in your research and exercise your mind with every experimental plan and every experimental outcome, including failures. Embrace failures as challenges and training exercises for future successes, rather than looking around for people to blame. If you simply follow directions and close the door behind you at the end of the day you will never progress in research. Tenacity is essential!
  1. Work hard. Don’t think you can get away with a 38-hour week. You will need to work long days all week, and for part of most weekends. That gets you to closer to a 50-60 hour week, which is what you need if you want a successful career in academia (or indeed in any professional career). If research is your passion, this is actually easy to do, and if it isn’t your passion, then you are probably in the wrong field.  You should be going to work because you want to, not because you have to. Of course, ultimately, the number of hours doesn’t matter – the only thing that matters is productivity, but unless you are a genius, and very organized, and very lucky, you will need to work this hard to get out enough good papers to make a good start in a scientific career. A three year stipend might seem like a long time at the start of a PhD but three years goes very, very fast and it might be difficult or impossible (depending on its source) to get an extension into a 4th year. The people who go home with a full briefcase of work to do at home are the ones most likely to succeed.  Note who around you does this – aren’t they the ones who have ‘made’ it? The extra hours are the cause, not consequence of success!
  1. Play hard.  Take some weekends off, and reasonable holidays, so you don’t burn out. But if your work is very dependent on people around you, don’t plan to work over Christmas and New Year and then take your holidays when your colleagues are all hard at work. On the other hand, if you are totally autonomous and not using equipment that is liable to break down, the holiday season is a great time to work in peace, and without competition for equipment. If you’re stuck with a problem in late afternoon or early evening it
    might be more productive to go home and tackle it fresh the next day.
  1. Read the literature, both in your immediate area, and around it; both the current and the past. You can’t possibly make original contributions to the literature unless you know what is already in there. See it as a challenge to put an interesting paper on your supervisor’s desk before they put it on yours! The best time to read papers is between experiments, or in the evenings or weekends. Reading papers at your desk instead of doing experiments is a poor use of time. Most people find it challenging to understand some papers when they start out. Don’t let this put you off. Instead, go back to the earlier literature or text books, ask questions and discuss the papers with your supervisor or other colleagues. Use this as an opportunity to spark thought-provoking scientific discussions.  Your supervisor will be busy, but should always make time for these discussions (if not, find another one!).
  1. Plan your days and weeks very carefully. If you are in the lab, begin the week, and each day, by carefully dovetailing experiments so that you have the minimum of down time. Make lists of what you have to do tomorrow at the end of each day while today’s work is in your mind.  This also allows your mind to think about the next day’s work while you sleep. Unless you have domestic constraints, be flexible about what time you go home to cope with unexpected changes to this schedule (and remember, this is probably the most flexible part of your life – once you have children, this goes out the window, so make the most of it).
  1. Keep a good lab book, and write it up every day.  It will make thesis writing much easier, and will also help to protect any intellectual property that might one day make you rich.  In particular, write up the details of your methods as you go along. They will easily convert to chapters in your thesis, and also to laboratory protocols which is useful for everyone.
  1. Be creative. Think, think, and think some more about what you are doing, and why, and whether there are better ways to go.  Don’t just see your PhD as a road map laid out by your supervisor. Talk to your supervisor, and others around you, about alternatives and watch the literature for new discoveries and ideas that are pertinent to your project. Probably the toughest challenge for a successful scientist is to be creative, while keeping a sharp eye on feasibility. It is never too soon to start working on this aspect of your PhD, and at the end of the day probably the single thing that most distinguishes a great scientist from work horse.  Ask Big Questions, and be sceptical about ‘conventional wisdom’, even if it comes from your supervisor. Don’t be afraid to argue with your supervisor on scientific grounds – they are not always right and should appreciate the debate.
  1. Be active, not passive, in your approach to research. Seek information and advice, and don’t assume that it will just diffuse into your head. Your supervisor won’t know everything (and may be technically less than competent anyway!), so find the right people for advice and don’t be afraid to ask for it. Don’t go for weeks without talking about your research with your supervisor and other members of the lab. If your supervisor doesn’t seek you out regularly, go and talk to him/her. When you are inexperienced it is very easy to get off track and waste valuable time and resources. Those students and post-docs who sit back and wait for the magic to happen, or work in a vacuum, never get anywhere.
  1. Try to keep a three-part portfolio of sub-projects that are ‘safe’, moderately safe, and challenging (could this be a Nature paper if it works out?). That way you are pretty certain to get a PhD, but might hit the jackpot, and have the thrill of a really exciting discovery.
  1. Go to as many seminars as you can and all of them in your general area. But don’t just sit at the back like a sponge, or fall asleep; sit up the front and ask questions of the speaker in question time, or afterwards, and of your supervisor and others in the lab.  Students who speak up in this way gain a much better understanding of their field and are the ones who are really noticed. Remember that at this point in your life it is difficult to make a fool of yourself. Just having the courage to speak up is really applauded!
  1. Make the most of any opportunities to attend a conference or workshop. If you are lucky enough to do so, don’t treat them like a holiday; they are work. Make sure you go to every talk, no matter how relevant you think it is, or isn’t. You will always learn something. Between talks, use every minute to meet new people, find out what they are doing, tell them what you are doing, and remember that this is where you are most likely to find a good post-doc lab.  Don’t spend all the time speaking only to people you already know or socialising with your lab; you can do that when you get back. Receptions and dinners are not optional; these are where most networking takes place and you need to be there mixing with new people, not hanging around the ones you already know. Likewise, don’t take your partner with you and spend all the free time with them; they can join you before the meeting starts, or after it finishes, but during the meeting, including the social events, you are at work. If you are hung over from all of the socialising, don’t miss the next morning’s session, just take a bucket in with you. And when you come back, tell your supervisor (who has probably paid for all or some of it out of their hard-won grants), and others in the lab, what you got out of the meeting.
  1. Take a notepad and write down the action items when you meet with your supervisor, unless you have a perfect memory, and make sure they get done – or go back to explain why they can’t be done. 
  1. Practise your writing in any way you can. Most students with a recent Australian education have very poor writing skills, and this will severely impact on your ability to write a satisfactory thesis, get a grant, and get a paper accepted. Do a course in writing (if you can find a good one), use the grammar and spell checks on Word, try to learn from people around you who write clearly and concisely, and get feedback on everything you write from colleagues or even friends and family.  Plan your project so you can get at least 3-4 good (or 1-2 extremely good) papers out of your PhD. Don’t leave thesis writing until after your scholarship or candidature has expired. Start writing from Day 1, even if nothing you write in the first or second year ends up in your thesis, the experience will be invaluable. It will help to broaden and deepen your knowledge, prioritize experiments, and significantly increase your chances of publishing during, rather than after, your PhD. It will also make writing your thesis much, much easier. In addition, a good literature review is often publishable, so that can be another option that will help to make your name, particularly since reviews get good citation rates.
  1. Buy yourself a lap top if you can possibly afford it, even if the lab is well supplied with computers. That way you can work easily between work and home, and if the lab gets busier you are still independent.
  1. Make the most of any opportunities to talk about your work. Use it as an excuse to read additional papers and to think long and hard about what you have (or haven’t!) achieved and where your project is going. A shoddy presentation, even at a lab meeting, makes you look bad and is a wasted opportunity. Try your hardest to pre-empt questions that you might get and try to have prepared answers. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so; people will invariably see through a ‘bullshit’ answer!  Talk about your work with family and friends – they sometimes have useful insights (and as tax payers are ultimately your employers).
  1. Appreciate that most biomedical research is very expensive and is mostly funded by taxpayers’ money or private donations. You therefore have a responsibility to use these funds carefully and not to waste them on ill-conceived or poorly-performed experiments. Think carefully about everything you do and always seek advice if you are uncertain. Be aware that your productivity also has implications for others in the lab. If you take it easy and are unproductive this will affect the productivity of the lab, which in turn will affect the chance of the lab getting grants that support your research and pay the salaries of your colleagues.
  1. Look ahead. What are you likely to be doing 3, 6 or 12 months from now, and are there any steps you can take now to pave the way (e.g. HREC applications, collection of biospecimens or reagents, learning new techniques)?
  1. Set yourself deadlines and try to keep them – it is good training for the days when you have to adhere to grant application deadlines etc.
  1. Plan to work abroad at some point, not because Australian science isn’t world class, but because of all the benefits of working with some real stars (it is a fact that the USA has more Nobel Laureates than any other country), and to get a better perspective of where you fit into world science.  If you end up in the lab where the head gets more invitations to speak than he/she can cope with, some might be passed on to you, which is a major advantage for career advancement.
  1. Think very early and very carefully about what you plan to do after your PhD. If you hope to stay in research you should be aware that you will be judged almost exclusively on your publication record. This judgement includes the number of papers, your position in the author list and the quality of journal in which the work is published. Without a good publication record your chances of getting a fellowship, or even a grant funded position, in research are remote. Salaries are hard to come by and are therefore very competitive. If there is one job and six (or more!) good applicants, the job will always go to the person who has achieved the most.
  1. Start collaborations. Don’t wait for your supervisor to start them for you. It only takes a conversation or an email to someone else who is working on a very similar topic to you, to start the ball rolling. Whether it is the Nobel prize-winning lab head, or a PhD student or anyone in between, you can talk or write to them and see if they are interested in
    collaborating by sharing samples or ideas.  It is probably best to discuss this with your supervisor first, not least because a joint email is more likely to bear fruit, but there may be occasions when you want to at least initiate the discussions alone.  In addition to external collaborations, collaborate with your lab colleagues. PhD students who seek collaborations with their lab colleagues often get more publications, and finish their
    project much earlier than those who work by themselves. We are all very
    protective about our projects but sometimes we can’t do everything. It may be helpful to get someone in the lab (who may be expert in a specific technique) to do an experiment for you which saves lots of time.
  1. Talk to Sales reps. They can sometimes bother you when you are busy doing something, but if you make appointments to talk to them, you might learn something new, like a new method or a new reagent that will make your life much easier and maybe even make the lab head’s budget look much healthier. Conferences are a good place to talk to them, and don’t forget to pick up the free pens.
  1. Look for opportunities to write small grants, such as travel grants, and small society grants as you gain more experience. You will learn a huge amount, and you might even get lucky.  Nothing impresses more than your ability to get your own funding (well, except Science or Nature papers I guess).
  1. Join professional societies. They all have very cheap student subscriptions, and you will gain something by being involved at any level (cv-building, cheaper registrations at conferences, getting to know who else is working in your field, a society journal, newsletters etc).
  1. Take courses, in statistics, bioinformatics, English or whatever you think you need extra help in. They take extra time and extra effort, but it is time and effort well spent.
  1. Get involved in institute or department events, such as organising student seminar series or conferences, though not at the expense of your project. It is all good experience, and looks good on your cv.
  1. Work out if you are a good collaborator, or more suited to working alone. Both are perfectly acceptable, but plan your career accordingly. Good collaborators (particularly in large consortia which are all the rage now) need very good communication skills, as well as diplomacy and patience, but if you are naturally rather non-communicative or anti-social (or paranoid or selfish!) it might not be for you.
  1. Ultimately, to be a successful research scientist (e.g. join the NHMRC Fellowship scheme) you need to be at least four of the following:
·               extremely motivated
·               creative
·               very smart
·               very hard working
·               very skilful in the lab (or at the computer)
·               very lucky
Since you can’t depend on luck, you’d better focus on the others. If you don’t think you can meet most of the expectations above, this is the wrong career path for you, so think again!

Georgia Chenevix-Trench
Melissa Brown
Nick Martin
Peter Visscher
Emma Whitelaw
James Flanagan
Rajiv Khanna
February 3rd, 2006

This post has moved to http://www.paksirzameen.net



Studies in Europe

This is the most complete and up to date information website about Pakistanis in Austria and also tells about various students studying in various Universities in Austria.

Courtesy: Naeem Akhter Meo (naeemakhtermeo@gmail.com)



Basic Guide to Higher studies in Sweden
If anybody wishes to pursue higher studies than the single most important thing to take care of is that they should take up a structured approach for doing this:

1. Visit the website: http://www.studyinsweden.se and find a program suitable to your liking and qualifications. Do remember that only you and you yourself can make the best choice and there will be no one to tell you – do this. You should be able to make the decision for yourself and decide what is best in your context.
2. Prepare for either IELTS or TOEFL. More information and material for preparation of IELTS can be found in the IELTS section.
3. To give an IELTS or TOEFL exam the valid form of ID that is acceptable now is only your passport.
4. Get your Machine Readable passport made. More about that can be read from the http://www.nadra.gov.pk
5. Get your documents attested by HEC. When submitting the application at the Embassy the Embassy staff will check your degree with the list of accredited HEC institutions in Pakistan. More about that can be read from http://www.hec.gov.pk
6. Also do note that application deadlines for most Swedish Universities is end of February. So all your applications should be sent to the respective university ideally by the end of December.
7. It is always good to apply to all the possible universities so that you may have the choice later on to decide where you want to pursue your studies.

PSA in Sweden

Do visit this link which will provide you complete information of all universities and contact information of people who are based all around Sweden. You might be able to get a first hand information from people on these links.

If you would like to see any other topic included here or have a comment about any of the information provided than just write me an email on msaadrahman@yahoo.com and I will try to compile something about it or correct it.




Along with this some other older and related links on the subject can be found on the links below: