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Advice to postdocs

PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:33 am
by Emil Chuck
I'm going to be slightly contrarian with this thread and what has been said. I agree with what most people are saying, but I have my own thoughts about what would make an effective postdoctoral experience.

1) Choose a lab group as if you were going to be living with/married to the group. That means, make sure you are welcomed and can get along with the group, that there's enough money to be spread around by the head-of-household (lab), and that everyone is supportive of you and your lifestyle.

2) Choose a project that challenges you. I know a lot of posters recently have asked about doing a postdoc in the same lab as doing your predoc studies. It's generally frowned upon because it doesn't make you look independent, but the more important factor to me: you don't get a chance to really challenge yourself and become innovative. Be in an environment where you can find and be on the cutting edge... and get credit for whatever you discover. This means being able to collaborate with other labs and networking as well as publish to prove and establish that you are a player in the world of academic science.

3) Gain experience with increasing faculty-like responsibilities. This means work on communication and grant-writing skills, your cover/CV/resume, supervising and managing others, even committee/leadership work with other faculty and administrators. You will need these political and non-scientific managerial skills to survive as an independent academic, and there is no excuse if you don't get these chances while you are still "protected" as a postdoc.

4) Create a personal narrative and career development plan as follows:
a) Personal background and interests
b) Academic/career background, accomplishments, and goals
c) Research/scientific background, research plan, and future directions

Some of you may recognize these points because they are deliberate: this is the format for describing yourself on a K grant. I wish they'd do this for every F grant as well.


PostPosted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 10:34 am
by Casey
"It might sound silly, as the interview gets over, and you think everything went well, and he/she sounds pretty positive about you, ASK him, why does he think that it would be a good idea for you to join his/her lab. you will be surprised with his/her answer. "

why? what unusual answers may i get?