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Resources for finding a PhD position in medical sciences

I have been trying to find a suitable PhD position, preferably in European Union or North America, for the last three months. Until today I had no luck, but I am not complaining because medical research is a highly competitive field and three months are rarely enough to get a fantastic position.
However, what I did manage to do during this period is to find, try and evaluate numerous websites designed to help you find research positions (PhD, post doc or anything else). I am bringing you a little review of these websites enriched by my own observations and some tips on how to use them in the most efficient manner. There are also other resources you can find and use, but I believe the ones presented here will get you off on a good start. I wish you luck in finding your dream position.

If by any chance you are an employer looking for a PhD student with MD degree, be sure to take a look at my CV.

Resources are listed in alphabetical order.

AcademicTransfer
The Dutch Academic Career Network

Academic Transfer
AcademicTransfer is a website for finding academic positions in the Netherlands. Don’t worry, they also have an english version of their site. 

The good thing: up to date listings of academic positions in the Netherlands, good search engine, email newsletter with latest vacancies, various RSS feeds (by job discipline, job type and specific organization)

The bad thing: includes only positions in the Netherlands (although sometimes they list some positions from other countries) 

Tips: Go to their extended search where an interface designed in Flash will appear, allowing you to tweak your search query to the last detail. Also, subscribe to their RSS feeds. 

Career.edu

Career.edu

Career.edu is a job board for the international research and academic community. It is used by scientists at over 600 institutions in 38 countries.

The good thing: allows you to register, submit your CV, save jobs you like, create email job alerts

The bad thing: small number of jobs, no advance search, no RSS feed, email alerts not specific enough

Tips: Visit from time to time, as you may find jobs not listed elswhere

EMBO Life Sciences Mobility Portal

EMBO Mobility

EMBO Life Sciences Mobility Portal essentially provides a list of international PhD programs in life sciences. It also includes links for grants, courses and events.

The good thing: lots of high quality jobs

The bad thing: this is essentially just a list, don’t expect advance search, lot of listed jobs already expired, no email newsletter and RSS feeds for jobs

Tips: Worth visiting because sometimes you can find positions not listed elsewhere, although you can get very frustrated when you realize deadlines for lots of listed jobs have expired a long time ago.

The European Researcher’s Mobility Portal

EU mobility portal

The European Researcher’s Mobility Portal is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the 34 countries participating in the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research. It stores research jobs in the EU, but also has a list of fellowships and grants.

The good thing: at one place you can find jobs from 34 countries and some useful practical info about each participating country

The bad thing: one would expect more PhD vacancies, no email newsletter, no RSS feeds

Tips: No email newsletter and RSS feeds means that you will just have to visit this site regularly. Go to advance search, enter PhD into a free text field, select your main research fields and other options, and then search.

FindAPhD

Find a phd

FindAPhD is a large database of worldwide PhD positions, but I have noticed that most of the included jobs are from the United Kingdom. This makes it somewhat redundant to Jobs.ac.uk site. They also provide databases for master courses, postdoc positions and other academic jobs.

The good thing: lots of jobs, funding flags assigned to each position providing you with a quick funding information (self funded, only UK students, international students, etc.)

The bad thing: no email newsletter, no RSS feeds, lots of jobs have no deadlines (applications accepted all year round), but when you contact employers you will find that some of them are already taken, sometimes no contact information is provided, so you have to send enquires to the employer through FindAPhD site, form designed to do that does not allow for your attached CV to be larger than 150 KB

Tips: No email newsletter and RSS feeds means regular visits to the site. Use advance search and select research fields of interest. When search results return sort them by funding type, so you don’t read about those you can’t apply to.

Jobs.ac.uk

Jobs UK

Jobs.ac.uk will find you jobs in research, science, academic and related professions. Although this site lists some jobs in other countries, it primarily exist to help you find a job in the United Kingdom.

The good thing: frequently updated with many jobs from the UK, probably the best source of academic jobs in the UK, email newsletter, RSS feeds, career advice, podcasts, blogs

The bad thing: email newsletter and RSS feeds are general, and there is no way to receive only the jobs you prefer

Tips: Subscribe to Health & Medical category either by email newsletter or RSS feed. When new jobs arrive to your inbox you will have to do a little bit of work by yourself, to scan through all of them and find PhD studentships.

Naturejobs

Nature jobs
Naturejobs is a part of a Nature publishing group, publisher of Nature (the world’s foremost weekly scientific journal), web portal. It is much more than a mere database for research jobs, as here you can find career podcasts and vodcast, news, magazines, advice etc.

The good thing: daily updated directory of numerous prestigious research positions from across the globe, lot of jobs, tags assigned to each job, RSS feeds, additional services offered to job posters, extra content like career advice

The bad thing: to receive email alerts you need to register

Tips: You can look for jobs by opening a category, for example studentships, or you can use their advance search to really pin point jobs you are looking for. Their RSS feed service is excellent. You can transform any search query into a feed.

Scholarship-Positions.com

International Scholarships

Scholarship-Position.com is an international scholarships and financial aid website. Their scholarship database is developed by international students in order to help fellow students.

The good thing: a substantial number of PhD scholarships from around the World, lot of jobs not listed elsewhere, email newsletter, RSS feed, forum, comments 

The bad thing: many old, expired studentships, no advance search, no specific email newsletters and RSS feeds

Tips: Worth visiting because sometimes you can find positions not listed elsewhere, although you can get very frustrated when you realize deadlines for lots of listed studentships have expired a long time ago.
 

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Drugs from your inbox

Spam, or unsolicited e-mail, is everywhere and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, it will never go away, at least not until people keep buying the stuff spammers offer. And oh boy aren’t there always some new suckers in the cyberspace. However, things get far less amusing when human health gets into play. Have you noticed that a high percentage of spam you receive today is health-related?

It is just this health-related spam that Peter Gernburd and Alejandro Jadad from the Centre for Global eHealth Innovation from Canada wanted to find out more about. In September 2007 issue of PLoS Medicine, an open-access, peer-reviewed medical journal, they published a very interesting paper on this subject titled “Will Spam Overwhelm Our Defenses? Evaluating Offerings for Drugs and Natural Health Products”E/mail spam selling drugs
In their research they used three e-mail accounts, unfiltered for spam, to gather all the spam they could get in the period of one month. Among all the received spam messages, they picked out the health-related ones, defined as those which included offers of interventions that could modify a physical, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional state in humans (e.g., medications, natural health products, devices, or professional services). All Web links included in such messages were further analyzed.

During the study period researchers received 4,153 spam messages, out of which 1,334 or 32% were health related. Majority of these messages (73%) were sent from the United States.

Scientists tried to order prescription drugs and natural health products from Web sites advertised in these messages. Online drugsEventually, they received 9 orders (5 prescription drugs and 4 natural health products). Some of the products they managed to buy where Clalis (for erectile dysfunction), Tramadol (for pain), Valium and Xanax (for anxiety and other disorders). There was no report of any evidence of credit card abuse by the spammers, except for one undelivered product.

What the study lacked, but authors promised to report on in the near future, was the analysis of the actual purchased pharmaceutical products to reveal whether they are genuine, fakes, and most importantly are they dangerous.

You can read the complete paper on PLoS Medicine Web site.
 

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