I studied Physics Engineering at Politecnico di Milano (Milano, Italy), where I earned a bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree. Both of them consisted mainly of solid state physics classes, with a particular focus on semiconductors (for electronics and photonics application) and magnetic nanostructures. My first experience in research was at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (Grenoble, France), where I spent 10 months working as a trainee for my master thesis project.
Read more about Davide Pincini
Diamond’s commitment to developing skilled researchers starts at the earliest stages of a scientific career. To this end, Diamond collaborates with Research Organisations to co-supervise and part-fund a cohort of PhD Students each year.
While not a degree awarding institution, Diamond is committed to ensuring that Diamond’s Students receive the best training and support available through its Doctoral Studentship Programme. Diamond’s Doctoral Studentship Programme was a new programme implemented at Diamond for the 2017/2018 academic year.
This document provides existing and potential supervisors of Diamond Studentships with information and guidance on the Doctoral Studentship Programme and studentships at Diamond in general.
Diamond’s Studentships are collaborations primarily with UK higher education institutions, but may include other organisations where appropriate and where approved by Diamond’s Executive.
A Diamond Studentship will typically be for a period of 4 years, or sometimes 3½ or 3 years, depending on the particular circumstances of the Studentship. In exceptional circumstances and where adequately motivated, Studentships over a shorter or longer period will be considered.
Every Studentship should be designed and managed to allow for the writing up of the research within the funded project period.
Diamond would typically expect submission of the thesis within the funded period unless otherwise agreed in advance.
Early each year, an external call for proposals will be made. This external call will primarily be directed at Diamond’s user community and the UK higher education community. Potential collaborating Research Organisations will be encouraged to discuss directly with eligible Diamond staff the details of any proposed Studentships.
In the event that potential Research Organisations are not clear on who to contact for a proposed collaboration, they will be directed to Diamond’s Life Sciences Coordinator and/or Diamond’s Physical Sciences Coordinator, who will be able to assist with potential collaborations with Diamond staff.
To apply for funding for a Studentship, the prospective Diamond Supervisor and the collaborating supervisor(s) will need to put together a scientific case and complete the Studentship Proposal Form. This form will be available from Diamond’s PhD studentships webpages, with all supervisors being given the opportunity to contribute to the application.
Once the Studentship Proposal Form has been completed, it will be submitted electronically to Diamond’s Student Engagement Officer who will review the details submitted. Forms must be completed in full and with sufficient detail to ultimately enable Diamond’s Studentship Review Panel (“Review Panel”) to critically evaluate the submitted proposal. In the event that details are missing or further clarification is required, this will be requested by the Student Engagement Officer before being submitted to the Review Panel.
If you require assistance in completing the proposal form or if you have any questions related to it, please contact Diamond’s Student Engagement Officer.
The selection process for PhD proposals for the 2018 cohort will be a two-stage process. During the course of October, all Studentship proposals will be evaluated and longlisted by the Review Panel, taking into consideration the scientific merit, and strategic relevance of each proposal.
Throughout November, Diamond supervisors whose proposals are longlisted will be invited for a 15 minute interview with the Review Panel. Diamond supervisors will be invited for interview with collaborating supervisors only being invited under exceptional circumstances when requested by Directors. Focus will be how much ownership the Diamond supervisor has of the project
Depending on the quality of proposals and the availability of funding, the Review Panel will either approve or reject proposals following the Review Panel interviews.
The Review Panel will pass on the outcome of the review to the Student Engagement Officer who will notify applicants whether they have been successful or unsuccessful in their application.
Successful applications will then be passed on to Diamond’s Legal Team who will contact the Research Organisation(s) with a draft agreement and will, with support from the Student Engagement Officer and Diamond Supervisor, oversee the negotiation of each studentship agreement.
From December each year, the Studentships available at Diamond will be advertised on Diamond’s website, on the Research Organisation(s) website and on any other agreed online platforms. All Studentships must be advertised for a minimum of 4 weeks on the Diamond webpage.
The recruitment of Students shall take place through an open and transparent recruitment process, with the closing date for applications being during the course of first quarter of the year and with interviews and provisional offers scheduled to take place in the second quarter where feasible.
The higher education institution that will be awarding the degree to the Student must ensure that the Student meets the relevant eligibility criteria, including but not limited to residency, academic and subject criteria. A Studentship should not be offered to a prospective Student unless they meet all the eligibility criteria.
Supervisors (or their nominated deputy) must be involved in the interview and selection process before an offer is made to the Student and successful candidates are expected to visit Diamond before a studentship agreement between Diamond and the Research Organisation(s) is entered into.
By the end of August each year, provisional offers must be confirmed and contracts finalised.
In the event that a Student does not fulfil the requirements of the provisional offer, or an alternative suitable candidate who has been through the recruitment process is not available, it may be necessary to re-advertise the position in June/July.
If a suitable candidate is not found in time for the project start date, the Studentship will not go ahead and the supervisors may consider re-submitting their proposal for consideration in the following academic year.
Note that Studentships will be awarded based on the quality of proposals and not a predetermined allocation. There should be no expectation that Diamond has budgeted for approximately 2 PhD students per beamline.
Each Student is required to attend an induction at Diamond, organized by the Student Engagement Officer. Once a studentship agreement has been finalised, the Student Engagement Officer will contact the relevant parties to make arrangements for the Student’s induction. The Diamond Supervisor is also required to attend their Student’s induction.
An annual meeting will be held by the supervisors, the Student Engagement Officer and the Student to discuss and review the progress of the Studentship, and to plan for the balance of the Studentship. Within 7 days of this annual meeting, the Diamond Supervisor will be required to submit the Annual Review Form to the Student Engagement Officer to add to the Student’s file.
The Diamond Supervisor must be:
• A Principal Beamline Scientist (with Director approval);
• A Beamline Scientist (with Principal Beamline Scientist approval);
• A manager in the Technical Division (with Director approval); or
• Any other Director approved Diamond employee or secondee.
Students may have more than one Diamond Supervisor and/or more than one Research Organisation supervisor.
The Diamond Supervisor is the Student’s primary point of contact for all Project related queries at Diamond. The Student Engagement Officer is the Student’s primary point of contact for all non-Project related queries at Diamond.
Diamond and the Research Organisation(s) are expected to provide excellent standards of supervision, management and mentoring during the course of the Studentship and should undertake to develop a research project of the same difficulty and challenge to a conventional doctoral programme.
Students should understand how to comply with relevant ethical, legal and professional frameworks.
During the studentship, students should receive formal/informal training in:
• The principles of good research conduct in their discipline;
• Experimental design and statistics appropriate to their discipline; and
• The importance of ensuring research results are robust and reproducible.
The training of Students should be as flexible as possible, allowing for customisation to suit the individual needs of the Student and the research area and Students should, wherever possible, benefit from the advantages of being developed as part of a broader peer group.
Supervisors should recognise the Studentship as a wider training opportunity and encourage and support Students in developing their careers, with the parties to a studentship being expected to provide an environment where Students have the opportunity to widen their horizons as part of their training.
Students should be encouraged to consider the wider context of their research area and the importance of engaging the public with research. Students should receive in-depth advanced training and should develop a broad understanding of their subject area and how their research fits into the broader ‘research and innovation system’ and of practicable routes to maximise economic, social and/or health impact.
Learning and training opportunities should be provided to help Students develop their public engagement skills and the provision of transferable skills should form a fundamental part of the Studentship.
Diamond will contribute a fixed amount of funding for each Studentship. This contribution will typically amount to 50% of the total cost of the Studentship, but may be less than 50% where the university fees are high. The contribution will ordinarily be made to the higher education institution that will be awarding the degree to the Student annually in advance under the following headings:
Diamond will part-fund the student stipend, contributing a fixed amount each year, with Research Organisation(s) matching or exceeding this figure.
Diamond will part-fund student fees, contributing a fixed amount each year and with Research Organisation(s) contributing the balance of the student fees or, if the fees are less than the fixed amount, Diamond will contribute an amount equal to the amount of the fees, if any.
Diamond will contribute a fixed amount each year towards travel and accommodation costs incurred by the Student in carrying out the Studentship. To the extent that additional contributions towards travel and/or accommodation costs are incurred, these must be contributed by the Research Organisation(s) and not by the Student.
Diamond will contribute a fixed amount each year towards conference attendance costs incurred by the Student in carrying out the Studentship. To the extent that the costs of conference attendance exceed this fixed amount, these costs must be contributed by the Research Organisation(s) and not by the Student.
Diamond will not contribute funding directly to Research Organisations for equipment, consumables or bench fees.
Diamond will provide reasonable and essential consumables required for a Studentship to the extent that such consumables need to be used at Diamond. Reasonable and essential consumables required for a Studentship at the Research Organisation(s) shall be provided by the relevant Research Organisation(s).
Any equipment and consumables requested by a Diamond Supervisor for a Studentship will come from the beamline/area budget, and must therefore be included in the relevant annual budget for the beamline/area involved.
The Student will receive at least the national minimum doctoral stipend as published annually by Research Councils UK.
Stipend and Tuition fee contributions will be based on guidance from the Research Council UK (RCUK) and will be reviewed and specified before the call for proposals is opened.
Where Diamond acts as the industrial partner for the collaborating institution, some studentships may be submitted for ‘CASE conversion’ (previously known as ‘Collaborative Awards in Science and Engineering’). By securing ‘industrial’ funding some proposals apply to become ‘CASE Studentships’, this results in larger financial contributions from the research councils. Diamonds funding contributions will stay the same.
All changes during a Studentship must be authorised via the Change Request Form. These must submitted to the Student Engagement Officer providing details of the change and the expected impact on resources (time and/or cost).
Changes with a financial impact of less than or equal to £5,000.00 need approval by the Student Engagement Officer and the budget holder.
For changes greater than £5,000.00 authorisation will also be needed at director level.
Directors may request a meeting with the supervisor and Student Engagement Officer to discuss the reason for the change request.
Any arising intellectual property developed during the course of a Studentship will be dealt with as follows:
1. Where intellectual property is generated by Diamond alone, it shall vest in and be owned by Diamond;
2. Where intellectual property is generated by Diamond jointly with the Research Organisation(s) and/or the Student, then it shall vest in and be owned jointly by Diamond and the Research Organisation(s); and
3. Where intellectual property is generated by the Research Organisation(s) and/or the Student, without Diamond’s intellectual contribution, then it shall typically vest in and be owned absolutely by the Research Organisation(s).
The parties to a Studentship shall grant each other the right to use their intellectual property to the extent needed for the Studentship and to the extent that it arises out of the Studentship. This right to use the parties’ intellectual property shall be granted for the purposes of the Studentship, for academic research and teaching and to develop and enhance the services and facilities that Diamond provides.
Research arising out of Studentships should lead to high impact academic publications, a thesis in furtherance of the Student’s career and should further Diamond’s status as a centre of excellence within the international scientific community.
The Student should provide Diamond with an electronic copy of the thesis no later than 12 months following the award of the doctorate, recognising that commercial, collaborative or publication arrangements may necessitate a slight delay. Please see the process for determining whether an exception can be granted to the requirement for publication within 12 months. Please note that it is at the discretion of the supervisor to request a hard copy version of the thesis.
All published theses should provide recognition to all parties involved in accordance with normal academic practice.
Diamond expects every Student to spend 50% of their time during the course of the Studentship at Diamond. The Studentship should be structured to allow for this, and at the proposal stage a detailed and pragmatic plan will be required to demonstrate how the Student will divide their time between Diamond and collaborating Research Organisation(s).
A tier 4 visa is the primary immigration route for non-EEA Students who wish to study full-time in the UK. Non-EEA Students must be sponsored by an education provider that holds a Tier 4 licence. The education provider is known as a sponsor. Diamond is not an education provider that offers courses of study to full time Students in the UK, and therefore does not hold a Tier 4 licence.
In the event that the successful candidate is a non-EEA national, it is the responsibility of the higher education institution that will be awarding the degree to the Student to ensure that the Student has any necessary visa/s and/or other permit/s required to reside in the UK and carry out the Studentship in the UK.
Access to beamtime at Diamond shall be in accordance with Diamond’s standard user terms. Diamond is not able to guarantee access to beamtime in any studentship agreement.
The Student will be given a FedID and the use of a hotdesk in a shared Student office.
The Student’s access to Diamond, the synchrotron, beamlines and labs will be in accordance with Diamond’s standard terms of access. The Supervisor will be responsible for ensuring the Student has undertaken the necessary health and safety training (including health physics training) for their level of access.
Whilst at Diamond the Student is expected to be present from 9am to 5pm each day, unless otherwise requested by their supervisor.
The Student must be supervised at all times and the work undertaken must not be prohibited by law or too hazardous for the student’s level of experience. Diamond has a duty of care to ensure that the Student is able to recognise potential hazards and the control measures within the workplace to reduce or eliminate injury (and be advised of any specific areas where increased care is needed).
Any personal data provided by the Student will be used in accordance with Diamond’s prevailing personal data policy.
Diamond has public liability insurance in place. A copy of the certificate confirming Diamond’s public liability insurance is available upon request.
Doctoral students are treated by Diamond’s insurers as “quasi employees” and as a result are covered by Diamond’s employers liability insurance.
If any disputes or concerns arise during the placement (such as concerns about the level of supervision or the behaviour of a Diamond supervisor or Student), the Student Engagement Officer should be notified immediately and appropriate steps will be taken to address the dispute/concerns.
Diamond will keep a record of the placement following completion of the studentship. These records will be kept in accordance with Diamond’s prevailing records management policy.
Diamond Studentship Policy
Studentship Proposal Form
Student Induction Checklist
Certificate confirming Diamond’s employer’s liability insurance
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