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Research Assistant Professor

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Research Assistant Professor

Postby Dave Jensen » Mon May 30, 2005 11:51 am

I rarely comment on the discussions centered around academic careers. In this case, though, I thought I would add that a Res. Asst Prof job makes a later job search in industry very, very difficult. To move from a postdoc to an RAP would seem to an industry employer that a decision has been made to stay on the academic ladder. Those RAP's have a very hard time moving to industry should that happen to be a Plan B at a later time,

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Research Assistant Professor

Postby James1 » Tue May 31, 2005 7:41 am

Dave, I tried to look for industry positions as a graduate student without much luck. Perhaps it is because I do more environmental research than biomedical. However, since that time i have become friends with many people in industry and regulatory tox. I am hopeful that this might be a viable option in my future career if things don't work out. Otherwise i'll just take up landscaping and make more than most full professors /industry research scientists.
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NIEHS

Postby Kelly » Tue May 31, 2005 8:06 am

James,
if you aren't already in post-doc you might think about going to NIEHS. they have one of the highest rankings in post-doc satification (thrid or fifth I think).
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NIEHS

Postby Emil Chuck » Tue May 31, 2005 8:37 am

... or the EPA (RTP area included). Government-related jobs in environmental biology abound too.
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NIEHS

Postby leon » Tue May 31, 2005 11:12 am

"or the EPA (RTP area included). Government-related jobs in environmental biology abound too."

Or try Homeland Security's environmental measurement lab in downtown NYC. I happen to have had a little experience in environmental research, I think it is a very compartmentalized field. Chemists do it, geologists do it, epidemiologists do it, microbiologists do it. But there are few connections among the parties. In other words, it is still an 'academic' field. I once inquired with a prominent professor (whose work is at the forefront of using microbial genetic engineering in environmental remediation) about the industry's interest in this. He said: It's up to them.
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Research Assistant Professor

Postby N. Epatis » Tue May 31, 2005 1:08 pm

Hi, I have been a RAP since last fall and I do have a feeling this is a dead-end position. However, I don't want to pursue a TT job. What are my options for jobs? According to Dave, it is pretty hard to get an industrial job from a RAP position. Shall I just quit research and try to find a non-bench job somewhere? Any input is welcome.
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Research Assistant Professor

Postby Kelly » Tue May 31, 2005 1:20 pm

RAPs are deadend positions. ask yourself how you feel about doing research; do you still love it or is it simply paying the bills? everyone deserves a job they love; if you don;t love doing bench work anymore find something else.

I can't say about the move to industry but Dave seems to think it might be tough. Dave knows. listen to Dave.
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Research Assistant Professor

Postby James1 » Tue May 31, 2005 4:35 pm

Many negative things said about RAPs here. Are there any good success stories such as a RAP getting grants and being put onto t-t at that same institute? or are such scenarios just very rare? The feeling i get currently is that you are already working here, why would we hire you for an open position or create a position for you? Just write grants, pay your way, and be a content slave! Are they (faculty) that stupid that they would think that a RAP wouldn't take their talent elsewhere? I think there are alot of RAPs that give the position a bad name by being content with what they have forever.

My opinion still is that RAP is a great opportunity to jump start a t-t career without doing >3 yr postdocs and 2nd or 3rd postdocs.
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Research Assistant Professor

Postby Kelly » Tue May 31, 2005 5:05 pm

James writes:

Many negative things said about RAPs here. Are there any good success stories such as a RAP getting grants and being put onto t-t at that same institute?

never or rarely happens. apply free milk and the cow guidelines.

The feeling i get currently is that you are already working here, why would we hire you for an open position or create a position for you?

this is correct.

Just write grants, pay your way, and be a content slave!

correct again.

Are they (faculty) that stupid that they would think that a RAP wouldn't take their talent elsewhere?

if you spend more than 1-2 years in RAP, you won't have many other options.

I think there are alot of RAPs that give the position a bad name by being content with what they have forever.

But most aren't content just like most adjunct teachers aren't content. Most assumed it would be a stepping stone to something else. Like if their department got a t-t position and they had proved themselves they would be considered. You won't. Institutions always see greener grass in an application pool no matter how green your grass is.

My opinion still is that RAP is a great opportunity to jump start a t-t career without doing >3 yr postdocs and 2nd or 3rd postdocs.

no, it simply isn't. see you are operating on the notion that hiring is based on tangibles such as papers, funding and teaching experience. Don't feel silly for believing this; you were lead there. But it isn't true.

I am going to keep writing this until everyone believes me: hiring is based on intangibles.

These are:

1. coming from a big name institution with a big name supervisor. You are better off going to a big name institution with a big name supervisor and doing 2-3 years post-doc than staying in a smaller place being your own supervisor as a RAP. The first cut in the application process is based on where you are and who you work with.

2. a slick talk (work less in the lab and take some acting lessons/charm school).

3. fit (which is not an absolute; I find search committees rationalizing fit more than gamblers rationalize their bets). fit is the blanket rationalization for hiring a weaker candidate from a big name lab or a post-doc of a friend.
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RAP to tenure track

Postby S. Adley » Tue May 31, 2005 5:22 pm

I started as an RAP in a clinical dept and was later "promoted" to an Asst Professor. I did not receive a start-up package upon my "promotion", nor did I receive an appropriate increase in salary. I suspect that my experience in this regard is not unique for those folks "lucky" enough to be "promoted" from an RAP to an Asst Professor at the same institution. My initial start-up package was pathetic--I'm not going to post too many details here to maintain anonymity. Basically, I was desparate at the time that I took the initial RAP job.

Although I've been very successful obtaining small grants and more recently a larger grant from a non-NIH source, I have yet to obtain an NIH R01. No R01 = no tenture. And with NIH resources rapidly diminishing..... I plan to bolt at the first opportunity. NIH grant or not, I suspect that the odds of a PhD being granted tenure in a clinical dept are about the same as a pig flying to the moon under its own power. I was very naive.



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