I have completed my master's from a country in Latin America in Mathematics in October 2021. I want to do PhD in Europe in Algebra.

I was looking at the profiles of Algebra groups of the Universities of UK.

It seems that the designation of professors in UK is different as compared to my country. I have googled quite a lot but I am still confused about this particular designation.

Can someone with a designation of Research Associate be principal supervisor for a PhD thesis in math?

  • Many of your other questions say that you obtained your master's from a country in Asia. Some of your other questions say that you have already started a PhD in Germany in late 2021. Which of these details are the true state of affairs?
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Apr 23, 2022 at 23:43
  • @YemonChoi The question I asked by mentioning that I started a phd in Gremany is not true in the sense that I have not started any PhD. That question was asked from a seperate account of mine because I was overthinking and really stressed about a possible confrontation with my master's thesis advisor who had abondened me midway in Future. These accounts got merged by the site.
    – user135061
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 0:39
  • Thank you for the clarification.
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 0:47
  • @YemonChoi I am really sorry for the inconvinience caused to you and other people on this site.
    – user135061
    Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 0:49

1 Answer 1


No, in general Research Associates are postdocs and usually a principal supervisor has to be a permanent member of academic staff. This normally means some research fellows, all senior research fellows, Lecturers, Senior Lecturers, Readers and Professors. In some cases an academic can only be a principle supervisor once they have successfully supervised a student to completion as a secondary supervisor, but this varies.

It is, however, possible that you can have a member of the faculty as your "principal" supervisor on paper, but be supervised on a day to day basis by a research associate.

  • In general, "research fellows" and "senior research fellows" are also postdocs on fixed-term appointments.
    – TimRias
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 6:01
  • For research fellows it depends. Some research fellows, such as those on a Henry Welcome, or EPSRC postdoctoral fellowship are equivalent to a postdoc. However others, such as those on a MRC CDF or a Future Leaders Fellowship are independent group leader positions (generally also fixed term, but often with the expectation of proleptic appointment at the end). Senior Research Fellows are research only positions, generally for people with external funding that are equivalent to Senior Lecturers. Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 8:48

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