• Queen’s University Belfast Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Glasgow Featured PhD Programmes
  • Northumbria University Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Manchester Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Southampton Featured PhD Programmes
  • Staffordshire University Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of East Anglia Featured PhD Programmes
  • University of Warwick Featured PhD Programmes
Brunel University London Featured PhD Programmes
University of Huddersfield Featured PhD Programmes
Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Featured PhD Programmes
Heriot-Watt University Featured PhD Programmes

PhD Discussion Forum

The following thread is brought to you by our sister Web site PostgraduateForum.com. If you wish to reply or post your own thread, you will be redirected to this site.

This Category:   PostgraduateForum.com > PhD Funding


1 to 15 of 17 PhD Forum Posts
Message

First day of PhD but found out my stipend is 1500 e/month instead of 2800 e/month.


User: WhatToDo - 04 December 2017 21:02

For those who are not aware, the European Union has these amazing PhD scholarships called Marie Curie. If you get one of these your monthly salary, gross, is 3110 euro multiplied by a country correction coefficient to take into account expensive or cheap countries.
Luckily, I was awarded one of these PhDs and today was my first day and I signed the final contract. None of the previous contracts mentioned the salary.
For these scholarships there is a mention that if the institute you are going to be part of, for whatever reason that has to be agreed on by European Research Commission, can't make an employment contract it can make a fixed amount contract that will be 50% of the value of the stipend. Guess which one I got?
Never throughout the process there was a mention of this aspect. On the PhD's advertising page it said "competitive Marie Curie salary". Well, I don't find this very competitive.
Another issue is, that half of my project I have to spend in Zurich, which is absurdly pricey.
I don't blame my future supervisor, I am certain it is a rule of the research organisation he is part of, however there was no mention from his part that this might be the case.
The first day went well, really interesting people, all very dedicated, helpful and down to earth. I somewhat still think I would have accepted it.
It just that all these months before starting I envisioned a better PhD lifestyle, staying on top of burnout, depression and so on. Affording to visit home for important occasions, visiting the country I moved to without looking at the prices of museums, tasting the food it has to offer. It was just a nice escape from the stress to know that I don't have to also budged my life on top of everything else. And knowing when I finish I will have some money to move onto the next stage.
I don't know if I could consider applying to other PhDs that offer this scholarship. On the other hand, I know that this small stipend, is the reality for many PhDs. It's just that I always postponed my "reward" for this moment, but here I am having to wait another three years until I might get a good salary.
Maybe I just needed to vent I don't know. I, really, do, not, know, anything.

User: tru - 05 December 2017 12:56

Hi WhatToDo,

You are venting a lot of things which you should have used to negotiate with your supervisor and the research org.

Why do you sign the final contract if you do not agree with it? Why did you not ask or negotiate it? Does the final contract state the salary which you are disagreeing on?

If you have signed the final contract with the lower salary clearly stated without any negotiation, then you have sealed your fate. There is no point lamenting about it anymore, unfortunately. Unless you claim you signed being given misleading information or that you were pressured to sign.

User: pm133 - 05 December 2017 15:25

I am a little confused here.
You did your research into this funding route as you demonstrate in your post and then you signed a contract without checking the amount of money you were to be paid? You also appear to have realised that some universities wouldn't allow the full rate but you didn't check whether your university was one of them and signed anyway?
I am confused about why you are venting and it is strange that you want to blame the Marie Curie awards people. It seems like you were in control of the entire process from start to finish. Learning to check the salary is an painful lesson to have to learn in this way but I suppose you won't make that mistake again. You don't appear to have done your research properly and there is nobody to blame but yourself. We all make mistakes in life and you will certainly make worse mistakes than this. Own the mistake and learn from it would be advice.

User: Walter_Opera - 07 December 2017 22:29

Your post is somewhat confusing. I do not understand what you mean by a "fixed amount contract" instead of an "employment contract". Are the 1500 EUR before or after taxes and social insurance? Because if they pay you 1500 EUR net instead of 2800 EUR gross as a regular employment contract, this pretty much amounts to same thing in many European countries. Either way, the pay isn't that bad for pursuing a PhD. Also, you won a prestigious fellowship, which is a great start for an academic career. Maybe you shouldn't focus on the money so much.

User: Dunham - 08 December 2017 21:33

It's hard to say something without more details regarding location or field of study but in Germany for instance, it is normal to get a 50% (around 1200€) to 65% (around 1500€) positions in the life sciences. I never heard of any scholarship that provides you with more. You are of course expected to work 100%. Only fields where it is really hard to recruit PhD students such as computer sciences will offer higher salaries.
It's of course disappointing if you expected a higher salary but in most of central Europe you should be able to live comfortably with 1500€. I know many PhD students that are located in Zurich and can promise you that even in Zurich, you'll get by with 1500€. I know several PhD students from South America and Asia personally, who came with their own scholarship that is in this range and they spent 4 years in Zurich. And no, there are no rich parents in the background that could afford to sponsor their child ;) You will live like an undergrad without any luxury but you can certainly manage to get by. I am however relatively sure that they will adjust the amount of money to the Swiss living costs. At least it was like that for a friend of mine with a French scholarship.

Personally, I would suck it up. If you have enough to make a living (and 1500 is enough) then it is all about the institution, your bosses, your project and the colleagues. That's what is impacting your mental health in the end. More money is always nice, but I guess you didn't get into a PhD program to earn a good salary ;)

User: ceylan - 18 December 2017 18:58

To be honest, people like you piss me off. I mean I have been trying forever to get a PhD position and I have had no luck for one reason or the other. NEVER have I thought about money. I love research with a passion. I could even get on with 750EUR per month if I had to. Give me your marie curie scholarship, I am sure I would make better use of it than you ever could.

User: laurelin88 - 21 December 2017 00:34

Well that last comment is a little bit uncalled for. This person expressed their discontent, and yes perhaps they are also partly to blame for not being extra careful, but sometimes we just make mistakes. Implying they are not worthy of funding is kind of ridiculous and certainly mean.

User: pm133 - 21 December 2017 05:39

Quote From ceylan:
To be honest, people like you piss me off. I mean I have been trying forever to get a PhD position and I have had no luck for one reason or the other. NEVER have I thought about money. I love research with a passion. I could even get on with 750EUR per month if I had to. Give me your marie curie scholarship, I am sure I would make better use of it than you ever could.

Whoa hang on. I am not sure the original poster deserves that sort of response. If you are struggling to get funding then that is your issue to resolve. Personal attacks on other posters really isn't on. This isn't Twitter.
I can't believe that I am saying that to other people given my own posting record but there you go :-D

User: saa - 21 December 2017 13:16

I think you misunderstood about the salary. Marie Curie actions have a great reputation and really good salary than most of the others program. But you missed something because in your contract you saw the gross salary and when you signed the contract, it should be explained to you that you have some tax cuts. And also if you looking the Marie Curie documents, there are some explanations in there. I can understand you it is hard situation because you planned most of things and got decision depend on this salary.

And for the inappropriate comment, no one can judge or blame to others. Everyone has own life, own decisions. I also try to understand that comment but i think it is too much.

User: chaotic1328 - 22 December 2017 18:52

Quote From saa:
I think you misunderstood about the salary. Marie Curie actions have a great reputation and really good salary than most of the others program. But you missed something because in your contract you saw the gross salary and when you signed the contract, it should be explained to you that you have some tax cuts. And also if you looking the Marie Curie documents, there are some explanations in there. I can understand you it is hard situation because you planned most of things and got decision depend on this salary.

And for the inappropriate comment, no one can judge or blame to others. Everyone has own life, own decisions. I also try to understand that comment but i think it is too much.

Yes, salaries are taxable, whereas stipends are usually tax-free (at least in the UK). It might be that your salary is correct once you take the tax deductions into consideration.

I saw an advert for a funded PhD place in Norway in the summer, with a stated salary in the region of 40K Euros per years. Was going to apply, then realised that the salary is taxable, and given the tax rates in Norway, it hardly works out more the the standard UK stipend of £14.5K. Not really worth upping sticks to overseas.

User: Dunham - 25 December 2017 10:11

Quote From ceylan:
To be honest, people like you piss me off. I mean I have been trying forever to get a PhD position and I have had no luck for one reason or the other. NEVER have I thought about money. I love research with a passion. I could even get on with 750EUR per month if I had to. Give me your marie curie scholarship, I am sure I would make better use of it than you ever could.

And you are the reason why this system is paying so little. There is nothing noble about working way below minimum wage in science and the fact that you are willing to do that does not make you exceptionally passionate at all. Science and a reasonable salary are not mutually contradictory and there is absolutely nothing wrong with demanding a fair salary for good work. No wonder that so many supervisors think they even do you a favor by letting you work for them for free. You advance their research and that's how they get their money, both supervisors and the University itself.

If you can't secure a position with funding, you are either very inflexible regarding your location or you are not competitive. No reason to get insulting just because you are frustrated...

User: cruzpaul - 27 December 2017 08:05

Whoa hold tight. I don't know the first publication merits that kind of reaction. On the off chance that you are attempting to get financing then that is your issue to determine. Individual assaults on different notices truly isn't on. This isn't Twitter.

User: mop2995 - 07 February 2018 07:28

In all fairness to the poster, I know someone who got the full Marie Curie monthly salary in the UK i.e. around 3k a month. So, the poster has a point. Doing a PhD is hard work. It's rewarding work, but living off 1.5k a month is pretty tight. Most of us have to subsidize with outside work.

User: TreeofLife - 07 February 2018 10:50

Quote From mop2995:
In all fairness to the poster, I know someone who got the full Marie Curie monthly salary in the UK i.e. around 3k a month. So, the poster has a point. Doing a PhD is hard work. It's rewarding work, but living off 1.5k a month is pretty tight. Most of us have to subsidize with outside work.

If people can't live off £1500 pm they have a problem. I lived off £800 pm during my 4th year and I lived on my own in a 2 bed flat and I had a car.

User: pangpang_8102 - 19 February 2018 05:57

Quote From ceylan:
To be honest, people like you piss me off. I mean I have been trying forever to get a PhD position and I have had no luck for one reason or the other. NEVER have I thought about money. I love research with a passion. I could even get on with 750EUR per month if I had to. Give me your marie curie scholarship, I am sure I would make better use of it than you ever could.

You are disgusting!
1 to 15 of 17 PhD Forum Posts




Cookie Policy    X