Prof Harold Thimbleby …
Do research with Harold
If you are interested in doing a PhD (or any other research, such as European Marie Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship) with Harold, please contact me direct; we get zillions of applications, so the best thing to do is engage, visit, and meet us so that we know more about you.
Don’t fill in the University application form first and just wait for things to happen somehow automatically, as perhaps you’ll get lost in the noise!
- If you prepare a PhD proposal on your own, you have three problems: first, is that you will develop it from your undergraduate or masters perspective — but a PhD is very different; secondly, you have made it much harder to find a supervisor who wants to do exactly what you propose. Finally, sending a carefully written research proposal narrows down the people who will be interested in you, and inhibits negotiation.
- A supervisor will be interested in what skills and interests you have, and how good you are. Some supervisors will prefer independent researchers, some will like people they can narrowly supervise to do what they want done. You and your potential supervisor have to negotiate to find out what suits you both.
- For me, the things that get me interested are: you can program (maybe you are good at formal methods too), you are interested in HCI, and you are interested in the things I am interested in. Evidence of those generic skills is much more use than a detailed research proposal.
If you want to do a PhD, you need to find a supervisor who you’ll will be able to enjoy working with for three or four years — and possibly much longer if you follow a research career and carry on collaborating. Find out a bit about potential supervisors (me or my colleagues) and send them crafted emails they will want to read.
I get many spam emails (i.e., that appear to be sent to nobody in particular) from people who want to do their own PhD project, but while this shows you are interested in something (and perhaps how deeply you have thought about it), it shows you aren’t interested in who you will work with.
In reality, you negotiate a project: what can be funded? what is interesting research? what will get a PhD for you? what will work with the team at Swansea? what will Harold be interested in? So, if you are going to email me, make sure I can tell the difference between your email and spam! “Hey Harold, I read your paper … and I want to work with you!” — or something. Also, please send me your CV and any details about funding you have or need — it costs money to live and do a PhD, and that has to be sorted out up front!
If you are at all interested in a research career anywhere — whether as a PhD or as an RA, or even as a PDRF (postdoc) — you should have a good look at Vitae.
Currently, Harold has had excellent postdocs, RAs, PhD researchers, and others:
- Carlos Monroy Aceves
- Chitra Acharya
- Andrea Buck
- Abigail Cauchi
- Jay Doyle
- Andy Gimblett
- Robin Green
- Natalyia Green
- Vicky Hurst
- Howard Ingham
- Alexis Lewis
- Karen Li
- Rhian Morris
- Gerrit Niezen
- Patrick Oladimeji
- Lidia Oshlyansky — now a web consultant
- Tom Owen
- Jen Pearson
- Simon Robinson
- Fern Thomas
- Will Thimbleby — now with Apple, Cupertino
- Huawei Tu
- Victoria Wang
See also SURF, the Swansea University Research Forum, which Harold founded.
The building where we work