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Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:45 am
by Vani
Hi,

I need to apply for Humboldt fellowship in Germany. After my PhD I straight away joined a university in India and became assistant professor. I have no experience of foreign post doc.Initial years went by setting up the lab, getting grants etc. Now I am applying as experienced researcher. Writing to scientists in Germany and asking them to become my mentor, However, I am not getting positive responses. I am having decent publications and so far doing good in my career. I don't know where I am going wrong. Though I am writing to people in my field, they are replying that our interest don't match. I am sure, I am doing some mistake here.

I request the experts and experience people on this platform to please guide me and show me the correct path. I will be really thankful to you.

Moderators, Please bear with me if this is a silly question.

Thanks

Regards
Vani

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:06 pm
by SCT
Hi - can you just provide a bit more background - where did you do your PhD and where are you normally resident ?

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:08 pm
by Vani
Hi,

I did my PhD from Delhi university, India. And I am resident of India.

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 12:36 pm
by SCT
The Humboldt webpage says it welcomes applicants from all nationalities if: "you are a researcher from abroad with above average qualifications, at the beginning of your academic career and only completed your doctorate in the last four years."
Are you still within the 4 year time period ?
Also, there may be a question mark about why you would like to become a postdoc, if you have already secured a position as an assistant professor...this could be seen as a step backwards. What would become of your current lab and students ?
While there are other similar fellowships/schemes available around Europe, I would seriously consider South Korea, Singapore and japan too.

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:17 pm
by PG
A few more general questions.

How did you select the people you asked to become mentors?

Did you have any Contact with these people before asking them to become mentors?

Did you do any type of networking effort to be able to for example say "I am currently doing research i the field of X and am currently applying for a Humboldt fellowship. I talked with professor Y and he recommended me to contact you about potentially becoming my mentor" ?

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:09 pm
by Vani
SCT wrote:The Humboldt webpage says it welcomes applicants from all nationalities if: "you are a researcher from abroad with above average qualifications, at the beginning of your academic career and only completed your doctorate in the last four years."
Are you still within the 4 year time period ?
Also, there may be a question mark about why you would like to become a postdoc, if you have already secured a position as an assistant professor...this could be seen as a step backwards. What would become of your current lab and students ?
While there are other similar fellowships/schemes available around Europe, I would seriously consider South Korea, Singapore and japan too.


Its been 8 years now since I completed my PhD. I will be applying in the experienced researcher category. That will be as visiting researcher. I want to expand my field of research, So that I can do better and publish better than now, that is the reason I want to apply. Moreover this will give me a new way of thinking.

I would definitely try others also as you suggested. But my worry is that I am not getting positive responses from mentors. That is the first step, and I am stuck there.

Thanks

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:15 pm
by Vani
PG wrote:A few more general questions.

How did you select the people you asked to become mentors?

Did you have any Contact with these people before asking them to become mentors?

Did you do any type of networking effort to be able to for example say "I am currently doing research i the field of X and am currently applying for a Humboldt fellowship. I talked with professor Y and he recommended me to contact you about potentially becoming my mentor" ?


I found them through their publications and their webpages.

Unfortunately I don't have any networking like that. I don't know anybody in Germany.

I thought if I write to them, I will get some response. Though I am getting responses but not positive.

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:56 am
by PG
The fact that you are getting negative responses isnt that surprising. I am not a well known professor in Germany but I would expect that they are getting a lot of requests similar to yours and especially for requests when you dont already have the money in your hand the probability for a negative response is high.

The key to improve your odds is either having an extraordinary publication record, having funding already available, networking or a combination of these.

For networking you dont need to know anyone in Germany. The question instead becomes do you know anyone who in turn knows someone in Germany? If you know a professor in India who has for example collaborated with a group in Germany that might be your starting point for your networking effort.

This can of course be extended ie if you dont know anyone working with a group in Germany can you find someone who can help you with that type of contact?

Having a personal recommendation from someone they know will go a long way to have them at least seriously consider mentoring you and if they are unable to do so they might point you to somebody else.

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:37 am
by Vani
PG wrote:The fact that you are getting negative responses isnt that surprising. I am not a well known professor in Germany but I would expect that they are getting a lot of requests similar to yours and especially for requests when you dont already have the money in your hand the probability for a negative response is high.

The key to improve your odds is either having an extraordinary publication record, having funding already available, networking or a combination of these.

For networking you dont need to know anyone in Germany. The question instead becomes do you know anyone who in turn knows someone in Germany? If you know a professor in India who has for example collaborated with a group in Germany that might be your starting point for your networking effort.

This can of course be extended ie if you dont know anyone working with a group in Germany can you find someone who can help you with that type of contact?

Having a personal recommendation from someone they know will go a long way to have them at least seriously consider mentoring you and if they are unable to do so they might point you to somebody else.


Thank you PG for your response.

Yes I understand that they might be getting many applications that's why the response is negative. But to have funding in hand, first requirement is to get approval from the mentor. Once the mentor agrees then only I can apply for fellowship.

I am trying to find some network now.

But other than that what is it that grabs attention of somebody. Like If somebody applies to you and you don't know the person, on what basis you will entertain that person. I am having Decent publications like in FEBS letters, Biotechnology advances etc. However they will be noticed only if somebody sees them (I am worried that some might not even open my resume)

Is it the way of writing the cover letter? Is it giving too much information or less information?

I am sorry to bother that much. I am just trying to find a way out.

Thanks a lot!

Re: Humboldt fellowship response from Mentors

PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:58 pm
by PG
Dont worry about asking too many questions thats what we are here for.

I understtod that this fellowship needs a mentor Before you can apply for money. This is usually the case but around here there is a couple of different grants that you can get Before you find a lab. At least one of these grants also contain some funding for reagents etc. Obviously the people who gets these are attractive to recruit.

In my case (Industry, Northern Europe) I read the cover letter first and if that is interesting I read the CV. In my experience academia are more likely to start with the CV but that probably varies.

You also use the word resume in your latest post. What is it that you are sending when you are applying to a lab? Most people want to see a CV for science positions.

There is a lot of information on this site about networking including practical tips. If you havent read these before and have limited experience in networking I strongly advice you to read at least some of this information.