Pretty much what the title says (I know this question is quite strange).
I have some extra money (my research stipend is fairly generous, and I get paid by doing TA work on top of it) that I'd like to spend to increase my research productivity. I am thinking of hiring an undergraduate to help me with odd jobs (not actual research). This is the "job" description I've come up with:
Calling all maths students interested in research!
Want to learn what a PhD involves, get hands-on experience, and be paid for your time? Keep reading.
I’m a second-year student in X, working with Prof. Y. I’m looking for help with some research-tangential tasks. This would be a flexible role, both in content and schedules. It’d probably involve a few hours each week, whenever it fits our schedules (maybe one hour/day Mon to Fri, or ~5 hours every Saturday).
Tasks you would be responsible for:
- Helping with the design of my research posters (eg, see my previous posters here), and printing them (which can be done for free in the Faculty).
- Help with the design of my presentations (both technical research presentations and science communication tasks). You can find a list of my past talks here, with links to slides and videos.
- Proofread my research manuscripts and other research-related documents (eg, cover letters for applications), for grammar mistakes and to improve the language style.
- Help me with my research planning and accountability (e.g. setting goals with me and make sure I achieve them).
- Occasionally typing maths into LaTeX (my handwriting is good!).
- Very occasionally drawing pictures in Tikz (eg, see these diagrams in my previous paper).
- Help with Overleaf/LaTeX documents, eg formatting my references.
This list is not set in stone. If there is anything here that you would prefer not to do, please let me know. If I find other tasks that I’d like you to do, we’d discuss if you’d like to do them or not.
- Be at least a second-year student, but a third-year would be ideal.
- There is no definite minimum grade required, however, you must demonstrate high academic standards.
- Be a highly motivated individual.
- Demonstrate a specific interest in working with me (at the very least be considering pursuing a PhD, better if in X).
- Excellent time-management, organisation, and admin skills.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English (native-speaker strongly preferred), including scientific terms.
- Familiarity with LaTeX and willingness to learn Tikz.
- Familiarity with PowerPoint or similar (I now use Google Slides for my presentations).
- Be able to meet in-person during term-time, at least once a week (We’d decide later how to proceed out-of-term, perhaps less frequent remote meetings), for at least this coming academic year.
What you’d gain from the opportunity:
- Direct insights into the work and life of a PhD student, and how academic research works in general.
- Soft skills that are useful in both academia and industry (eg, communication and design skills).
- A payment of 10 pounds per hour.
- Life-long regular academic mentoring from me.
- The opportunity of obtaining good letter of recommendation from me (if you do a good job, of course).
- This is not a traditional research assistant position (you won’t do any research). However, I might host a summer research student this summer or next summer. If so, you’d have priority over other applicants, should you be interested.
I know this is an uncommon job advert, so please get in touch with any questions! If it helps, I’m thinking of this role as something in between an executive assistant and a personal assistant. To apply please email xxx your CV and a short text explaining your motivation for the role.
I can expect there would be quite a lot of interest from undergraduates in my university. I was also an undergrad here, and I would certainly have said yes. My questions:
- Is this ethical?
- Would it be ethical if I didn't offer pay?
- Should I tell my supervisor before doing this?
- Is this reasonable?
- Any other ways I could get a similar (ideally more) benefit? Eg, hiring a professional proofreader for my manuscripts, hiring a graphic designer for my posters/talk designs, etc.