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05
18
2021

Behind the scenes of MT180 competition: the laureates share their experience

Caroline Betto-Colliard, CUSO

On Friday, May 21st, the fifth Swiss finals of the competition “Ma thèse en 180 secondes” will take place. It will be broadcast online from 6pm on the EPFL website, on mt180.ch and on the EPFL YouTube channel.

What is “Ma thèse en 180 secondes” ?
It is a competition that allows PhD students to present their research topic in simple terms to a diverse audience. Usually it takes place in a theatre or auditorium, with the warmth of physical presence, but this year it will be online, for obvious reasons. Each doctoral candidate has to give a clear, concise, yet convincing presentation of their research project in three minutes. To give you a better idea of what this competition is all about, what the challenges are and what the difficulties are, the CUSO secretariat asked the last four winners a few questions, which they kindly accepted to answer.

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10
01
2020

Doing a PhD …and then what ? CUSO’s new series on the after thesis

Ilaria Orsi, Caroline Betto-Colliard & Denis Billotte, CUSO

The number of doctoral degrees awarded in Switzerland continues to grow, and statistics show that after obtaining the title the majority of graduates work in a non-academic field (public or private). It is also well documented that it is possible to move back and forth between the academic and extra-academic worlds.

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06
25
2020

Basic Tips for Writing a Grant Request

Caroline Betto-Colliard, Ilaria Orsi & Denis Billotte, CUSO

Summer is looming on the horizon and our blog will also enjoy a little summer break. We look forward to seeing you back in September with some new posts about the PhD. But before that, we propose you an article dealing with the writing of grant requests.


Research needs funding from third parties, mainly public funding providers. The competition to obtain research grants may be very intense, making it challenging to write a request. Indeed, the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) received 7’404 proposals and funded 3’465 of them in 2019, a little less than 50 %. Though writing proposals for grants may be difficult, it is an essential process for scientists who would like to have a successful research program. This process is even more difficult for early career researchers whom are trying to differentiate themselves from their colleagues and need to demonstrate their autonomy from their supervisors while developing their own new and innovative ideas and concepts. For our last post of the season, we present you some basic tips that may help you to write a successful research grant request. Think also about the courses proposed by the CUSO transversal program regarding this topic.

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06
11
2020

Developing and Maintaining a Professional Network during the PhD and beyond

Caroline Betto-Colliard, Ilaria Orsi & Denis Billotte, CUSO

Establishing and maintaining a professional network is essential for doctoral candidates – not only while studying, but also for their professional future whether in the private sector or in academia, as we recently discussed in one of our last posts.
Networking is based on sharing and exchange, voluntary collaboration and the principle of reciprocity. It allows you to develop your career and to create cooperative partnerships during the entire professional life, and not only just after the end of the PhD. In addition, discussing and collaborating with colleagues from different cultures and backgrounds is an extremely enriching experience for your own personal development. Here, we propose some suggestions and ideas to proactively build, grow and maintain a professional network. Please also note that a specific Transversal Program workshop (Proactive Managing Relationships and Networks) has been conceived to improve your skills in networking!

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05
07
2020

What career path after my doctorate?

Caroline Betto-Colliard, Ilaria Orsi & Denis Billotte, CUSO

Did you know that in Switzerland only 33% of PhD graduates embark on an academic career after completing their thesis? According to a study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) published in 20181, more than 58% of young PhDs in Switzerland are working in another field one year after the end of their thesis. The doctorate is therefore not only the first step for any academic career, but often represents the first stage for plenty of professions.

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04
23
2020

Tips for Conquering the Blank Page when Writing your Thesis

Caroline Betto-Colliard, Ilaria Orsi & Denis Billotte, CUSO

Staying in front of the blank page and its blinking cursor for minutes, hours or days… or drafting only a little paragraph in an entire day because you erase and rewrite every sentence you type out. Which early stage researcher has not been confronted with these problems? Publishing quality research papers effectively is certainly one of the keys to a successful academic career. However, most researchers begin without any formal teaching, causing thesis writing to be often stressful and inefficient…

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04
09
2020

Physical and Mental Well-being in Times of Pandemic and Thesis

Ilaria Orsi, Caroline Betto-Colliard, Denis Billotte

Containment is not new to doctoral students, as Mathilde Maillard and Mathieu Rouault note.  In particular, working on a thesis in the humanities and social sciences involves overwhelming but necessary phases of confinement, involving social isolation and lack of physical activity.

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08
19
2019

"My thesis in 180 seconds": entertainment, communication and doctoral education

Denis Billotte, CUSO

The original article is published in "The Doctoral Debate", blog of the Council for Doctoral Education of the European University Association (EUA-CDE).

Link to the article: www.eua-cde.org/the-doctoral-debate/113:my-thesis-in-180-seconds-entertainment,-communication-and-doctoral-education.html

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