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How do you find a Phd candidate who would be interested in analyzing personality profile data?

We've collected a lot of very interesting and intimate data on users but we don't know how best to analyze it. We think it would be great for a Phd candidate to undertake as part of his/her dissertation, but don't know where to begin a search or how to suggest such a topic. Is there a better way than cold-calling professors in a related field? Thanks!

17 Replies

Steven Schkolne
2
0
Steven Schkolne Entrepreneur
Computer Scientist on a Mission
HI well - having a PhD I know a bit what it's like to be a candidate. Many, many people in academia are looking for real problems. It is well known, by those in the ivory tower, that they are in a tower.

While it sounds great (free research!) to have a PhD candidate attack your particular problem, realize that they will be steered by the needs of the community they are contributing to, as well as the philosophy they are exploring in their dissertation, so there is a high chance they won't address your particular issue, but rather something related.

I do think the best thing to do is to start with professors. They are more likely to have the maturity (and interest) to manage an interface with industry. Also, without their buy-in (and - in most cases - funding) a student won't be able to work on it anyway. Their grants need to actually be well aligned with your problem.

From what you said -- and it is indeed quite brief -- I have a hunch that what you're looking for is a good data scientist, who you hire, and pay cash to analyze your data for you. There is a slim chance that your data actually requires advances to the field of data science, which is absolutely required for a PhD candidate to want to research it. 99% of data science problems don't require research, but instead a good experienced data scientist.

If you do believe there's a strong case for a research problem, I would indeed start by cold-calling, reaching out on LinkedIn, going through your network etc etc the same kinds of techniques you would use to find anyone in the business world you need. Since the attitudes and interests of academics are so different than those we see in industry, it would really help if you could recruit someone you know who is an academic to help with this, so that you can speak the same language. But, in general, most profs I know are dying for their work to have more relevance in the real world. Paint that path and a good relationship will begin to form.
Arpit Gupta
0
0
Arpit Gupta Advisor
CTO @ AA Creator|Mentor ML|IoT|Cloud|Analytics|SDDC
Universities regularly have demo days and hack events. So could participate there with this problem.
You could try crowd-sourcing aka mechanical turk, try specific data science sites
Visualization, Clustering of your data is a good way to start R is relatively easy to begin with, if data is not in GB+ our old XLS can do a lot of analysis as well
Sometimes motivated stats, maths, CS undergrads could also do some exploratory analysis
Steve Götz
0
0
Steve Götz Advisor
VP @ Frost Data Capital
Hi Erik,

I have some former colleagues at Trinity College Dublin that specialize in personalization and user modeling. If you're interested I can put you in touch with them and they can discuss your idea.

~Steve
Chad Huemme
0
0
Chad Huemme Entrepreneur
Business Development| Operations| Strategy
Erik, I have a phd contact in India looking to do contract work. Interested? Chad Huemme
Krithika Chandrasekar
1
0
Krithika Chandrasekar Entrepreneur
Graduate Teaching Assistant at UC Santa Barbara
There are better ways than cold calling professors. A good candidate for your specific problem will be working in either the Ece/cs department. Each graduate program has a program manager who looks after the entire department's administation. For example, the Electrical and Computer Engineering department at UCSB handles all queries about prospective new projects for PhDs by sending an email to the graduate manager Val de Veyra. She sends out an email to the program mailing list. An interested student will then come up with a proposal in alignment with your requirements. Hope this helps!
Erik Molander
1
0
Erik Molander Advisor
Executive in Residence at ITEC at Boston University
Hi Erik, Here are a couple of questions that will be asked by the Dissertation committee that you should be prepared to answer. Did the users give their consent to have this data collected? If they haven't then the student will not be allowed to use it. How was the data collected? They will be looking for any systematic bias in the data set. This may not be all bad if you excluded the irrelevant data. Has all the personally identifying data been removed? The university could be liable for release of personal data. Then ask yourself a couple of questions. How does your firm feel about the data being shared with the Dissertation committee and potentially with a wider group for peer review? If it is proprietary, then you do not want to share it. How does your firm feel about the PhD sharing the results with the world? The data and insights will have to be made public for the student to earn their PhD. If they generate some potentially commercially viable insights or algorithms it will be available for public scrutiny. Finally ask to whom this may be valuable? We have a PhD candidate in marketing that might find it useful if it is clearly related to consumer choice and perception of trust. This is a pretty narrow field of inquiry. If the data is really broad then PhD's in Public Health, Biostatistics, epidemiology might find it useful if there is some way to link your data set to health outcomes. If you could send me a brief description of the data set, I might be able to help you narrow down your search. Cheers, Erik Molander Erik Molander Executive-In-Residence Strategy and Innovation Department School of Management 143 Bay State Road Room 502 Boston, MA 02215 [removed to protect privacy] _molander@bu.edu_ Logo*/entrepreneurship@BU/*
Shobhit Verma
0
0
Shobhit Verma Entrepreneur • Advisor
building an adaptive recommendation engine
If the problem is interesting, I will do it for free.
Tyler Bauer
0
0
Tyler Bauer Entrepreneur
Sales @ Nyentek LLC
hey dude i have a company that does this for you. lets talk over google hangouts. email is [removed to protect privacy] just shoot me an email and lets get crackin
Lalit Sarna
0
0
Lalit Sarna Entrepreneur • Advisor
Business & Technology Leader
I would start looking at published papers in fields related to your problems. This will help you narrow down the folks to target.

I used to run a directed research program with UC Berkeley, but it was not cheap and had complicated IP issues. Bigger the university, the more expensive the directed research.

Expanding to international university can be a cost effective solution. We had great luck with National Taiwan University and Delft Univ.
Benjamin Grosof
1
0
Benjamin Grosof Advisor
CTO, CEO, Co-Founder at Coherent Knowledge Systems
Hi Erik,
I used to be a professor at MIT Sloan and have lots of experience in research. I recommend the following angles.
Look on the web at descriptions of local/relevant university departments in comp sci and also B-schools (IT and marketing) and maybe social science (social psychology). Survey their research areas and the faculty involved in them. Also find there their industrial partners programs. That may give you ideas on topics and collaboration modes as well as people pointers to contact.
Also, talk to PhD graduate students who have a few years under their belt. Their time is typically much less constrained than professors', and they can help give you the lay of the land. You can find them by showing up to seminar or networking events in person.


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