107

Legally, you can't be made to sign a retrospective, retroactive contract. Professionally, if your supervisor or the university person responsible for the CASE studentships decided to be obnoxious about it, they could make the completion of your PhD uncomfortable. As long as you don't need the CASE money or the on-site experience, this looks like a useless ...


66

No. The professor gets to decide if it would be more beneficial for students' learning to provide full solutions, partial solutions, or no solutions to homework problems.


64

Your institution has definitely met the terms laid out in your award letter, which states that there is "possibility of a fourth year based on availability of departmental funding." This does not mean that you are necessarily guaranteed a fourth year of funding. Even if most students get the fourth year, assuming you will is risky. They promised you three ...


62

Is this normal in post doc recruitment? No, this is obviously not normal. There is something going on, and your guess is as good as mine as to what that is exactly. Maybe there is indeed some sort of administrative chaos due to changing regulations. Maybe the professor hired somebody else and is trying to weasel out of his earlier commitment to you. Maybe ...


29

This is entirely up to the policies of the university or department in question, and is likely to vary between disciplines. In the areas I'm most familiar with (STEM subjects as taught in the UK and, to a lesser extent the US), I'm not aware of any places where professors are obliged to provide solutions, though, in my experience, they usually do in at least ...


25

I upvoted both of the other answers, but in my heart I agree with xLeitix: academics live and die by their honor in a much more extreme way than is the norm in the contemporary Western world. I should admit that my views on this are more absolute than those of some of my colleagues (with whom I have had occasion to discuss issues of reneging on signed ...


24

Your additional information that you put under the comment section and I think it should be placed in Question also, is that post-doc is paid for by the University, not paid by you/from your grant. So you are not PR, you are an advisor. Nick S, pointed out something that is not specific for mathematics, also physics, material science, applied science, ...


22

Unfortunately, we won't be able to provide you with legal information. (And you shouldn't trust random strangers on the internet that claim they can.) That said, it does sound extremely strange for a company to embargo your work done before they ever showed up. I would recommend that you approach your university's legal department. Ask them to specify ...


21

It IS a common situation, although there a two parts here: One is work related, she is employed, you are her supervisor, she is not doing her job, you should act in an appropriate way. The other one is research related, she is producing results (although not together with you), so that might be a criterion to leave her alone. Once again, you shouldn't ...


20

To add to previous answers: if your postdoc includes teaching, you should finish out the academic year, or at the very least finish the current term, and give your department chair as much notice as possible, so that they can find a replacement or adjust teaching assignments.


20

It varies. In my experience some of the more prestigious postdoctoral fellowships sponsored by universities might have some amount of moving expenses built into the budget, and more typical postdoc positions funded out of grants probably won't. But it might be possible to get a professor to help you out, perhaps out of startup or some other funds that aren't ...


20

How to turn down a Postdoc scholarship offer that you already signed the contract for? You don't. I am all but a hardliner when it comes to such topics, but signing a contract and then not taking the offer is a major breach of trust. This is not "close" to burning bridges. Unless the other side is the most understanding person in the world, this is going ...


20

What does "based on availability of departmental funding" actually mean, legally? It means if there are funds available, you may have access to them. You have been told by your department that funding is not available. Why they aren't available isn't particularly relevant. It's possible you can go digging, but no, it's not enough to "ask HR", as they're ...


19

I'm doing a postdoc in computer science at Nankai University, Tianjin, China. You've asked about the negatives, but I first want to point out that I love living in China (my friends talk about how they should visit China one day; I live here!). It's not perfect, but it's not nearly as bad as made out on Western media. And I feel physically safer here than ...


18

I work at an R&D company that has a pretty similar clause in its contract, and in fact most R&D companies will. The core reason is that things change quickly in R&D, so an area that the company has no interest in today may be a big part of their in business in 5-10 years. Moreover, employees like you are likely to be the ones who create new ...


17

If you are working at a US University, they often do this in order to ensure that you are ineligible for benefits under the family and medical leave act (fmla). If you work over 1250 hours they have to provide you with additional benefits, which cost more than they are willing to pay for your labor. http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/workhours/fmla.htm


17

Very roughly, at the US universities I have worked for, the IP policies have been along these general lines: When you write a paper or book as part of your research, you get to keep the copyright and any royalties. But the university gets permission to use the work internally, keep a copy in the library, etc. If, as part of your research, you invent ...


17

In most European countries, it is usually against the law to fire people because of disabilities. So long as you're capable of performing your assigned work with reasonable accommodations, you should not be afraid of being terminated. However, you will probably need to have documentation of your disorder to provide as evidence to support your claim.


17

First of all, consult a lawyer before doing anything. If you were to leave in the middle of the course, that will cause havoc, that they won't probably want. Since they are not paying you for the work, you are under no contractual obligation to fulfil anything (but consult the lawyer), and can leave without giving them notice. Now, you may find unethical ...


17

Contracts for scientific research can often be thought of as having two components: A set of "minimum requirement" fixed deliverables that you must accomplish or else face penalties, and A set of actual goals, which may or may not be able to be accomplished as anticipated, given the uncertainties of every sort of interesting research. Typically, the fixed ...


17

If it starts like this already, before you get a real chance, this will likely not end well. Independent of what position it might be. This is not normal for any kind of position. It's disrespectful to cancel an interview at the last minute that was scheduled. Think about the other way around. Would you hire someone, who once accepted an interview and then ...


15

I think this is just an issue of definition of "what you must do to succeed in your academic program" vs "job duties". A research assistant is a job, and as such it does not always pay you to be doing what you'd be doing anyway. Sometimes you have to do work or help your adviser in a way that does not directly relate to your own program or research ...


14

Clearly for any projects done while there, the IP would belong to the industrial sponsors Clearly not. Assuming no employment (explicit nor implied) was in place, works created by you [a student] belong to you. See here. You can bargain by threatening with 'cease and desist' order for them using your IP. The blanket character of the contract could mean ...


14

The other answers cover most of the issues, but I'll share one strategy I used in exactly this situation (I was supervising a PhD studentship with a CASE award, and the sponsoring organization did exactly the same thing). First of all, as said, the university should be able to help. In fact, they like the CASE award prestige and funding, but the university ...


14

In my opinion neither party has behaved very well. You received an offer and accepted it. Then you asked for a contract and it was not provided in a timely manner. However, from your descriptions it doesn't sound like you conveyed how important it was to you to sign the contract at a certain time. I would reply that I need to start it early so I can ...


14

I am not a lawyer, but a funding possibility of a fourth year based on availability of departmental funding sounds pretty meaningless as a promise. That is, I don't think you have any legal or administrative recourse in your situation. That said, I completely understand why you are upset. It sounds like you were given the impression that you would probably ...


13

You need to talk with someone in the department about how to handle this (presumably the teaching coordinator, or chair, or whoever hired you). In the sorts of departments/universities I'm familiar with, it would be difficult to arrange for someone else to take over a course partway through the semester. Then your options might be teaching the whole course ...


13

I will speculate (and I'm guessing that a speculative answer is the best you'll be able to get to such a question) that the answer is effectively never. Specifically, I have never heard of a journal attempting to impose such a draconian restriction on authors, and moreover, I can think of two quite strong reasons why they would not do so: Any journal that ...


12

This is an unfortunate situation were nobody really is to blame. You can't expect the university to warn you about a law that wasn't even in place yet, and the university cannot objectively be mad at you for reneging when your contractual situation significantly changed, even if it is due to outside factors. Of course the important word in the above ...


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