2

I am a senior year undergraduate student in Computer Science, graduating in a year and looking forward to pursuing a PhD. I have a good experience with the research topic I want to work on, with a couple of papers published and a couple of more getting lined up for publication. As I will be applying for PhD programs to the research groups of my interests, will it be a safer bet to reveal my research ideas for the next couple of years with them, which I believe are capable of publishing in academic conferences or journals? It would obviously be a point of strength in my Statement of Purpose to demonstrate a clear research path and vision, but then how worthy are those possible research gaps I might possibly hint towards in my application. I would love to do them under the Principal Investigator who might be interested in it, and who might eventually accept me as his student, but I would be applying to a few of them and leaving off research ideas to someone who you won't be working with eventually sounds a bit scary to me. Obviously there would be some layer of abstraction with which I will be pitching my research vision in my Statement of Purpose, but should I be too much careful regarding it?

Any idea regarding how this works would be really helpful.

3

will it be a safer bet to reveal my research ideas for the next couple of years with them, which I believe are capable of publishing in academic conferences or journals?

This is the entire point of doing a PhD - you are supposed to share your ideas with your collaborators! If you deeply distrust your potential research group to the extent that you worry that they'll steal your ideas without crediting you, you should probably not join them.

Obviously there would be some layer of abstraction with which I will be pitching my research vision in my Statement of Purpose, but should I be too much careful regarding it?

The scenario you are concerned with is highly unlikely. Professors would probably not steal your ideas from your applications, but rather actively fight to get you into the program so that they can start working with you (if indeed you have a very good idea).

If you truly have good, novel, ideas that you feel are worth publishing, and are worried about them being stolen, how about working them out into a two-page note which you can then put up online/on ArXiv, and then reference? This leaves no doubt as to the ownership of the idea, and gives professors a chance to assess your work and your capacity to convey it in writing. However, if that is really the case, you should probably contact professors individually (via email) with your manuscript and have them evaluate it. That way your emails act as evidence that the idea is yours.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.