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How to find a science postdoctoral position. Carol Thornber, PhD Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences University of Rhode Island [email protected] Talk Outline. What is a postdoc? How do you find postdoc openings? Getting the most out of your postdoc. What is a postdoc?.

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how to find a science postdoctoral position

How to find a science postdoctoral position

Carol Thornber, PhD

Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

University of Rhode Island

[email protected]

talk outline
Talk Outline
  • What is a postdoc?
  • How do you find postdoc openings?
  • Getting the most out of your postdoc
what is a postdoc
What is a postdoc?
  • Need PhD or equivalent (e.g. MD)
  • Full time research/teaching
  • Appointment from 1-5 years
  • Supervised by mentor/advisor
  • Prep. for professional/academic career
  • Independent or on someone’s grant
history of postdocs
History of postdocs
  • First postdocs-- 1876-- at Johns Hopkins U.
  • Recent increase in postdocs
    • In 1975: 16,000 postdocs
    • In 1995: 35,00 postdocs
    • Today: over 50,000 postdocs
    • Out of 350 doctorate-granting institutions surveyed, more than two-thirds from 50 institutions
what types of postdocs exist
What types of postdocs exist?
  • Academia
  • Government
  • Industry/Nonprofits
the good the bad of postdocs
The good & the bad of postdocs
  • Good:
    • Opportunity to develop new, independent research project
    • Form new collaborations
    • Flexibility
  • Bad:
    • Low pay
    • Nebulous status
do you need to do a postdoc
Do YOU need to do a postdoc?
  • Determine your ULTIMATE career goal
  • Is a postdoc needed/useful for career goal?
  • Pitfalls: Postdocs may…
    • Fail to find full time employment afterwards
    • Receive insufficient mentoring/support
    • Not have enough independence to establish themselves as scientists
talk outline1
Talk Outline
  • What is a postdoc?
  • How do you find postdoc openings?
  • Getting the most out of your postdoc
how to find a postdoc
How to find a postdoc
  • Biggest resource::: networking
  • Go to lots of meetings, talk with PIs whose research you like
  • Ask your colleagues/advisors
  • Email potential mentors
how to find a postdoc specific
How to find a postdoc: specific
  • Science http://nextwave.sciencemag.org/
  • Nature http://www.naturejobs.com
  • The Chronicle of Higher Education http://www.chronicle.com
how to find a postdoc specific1
How to find a postdoc: specific
  • Major funding agency websites:
    • NSF
    • NIH
    • NOAA
    • …and others!
  • Professional societies:
    • Websites
    • Listservers
    • Meetings
  • Individual university websites
how to find a postdoc specific2
How to find a postdoc: specific
  • Research organizations (examples):
    • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories
    • Los Alamos National Laboratories
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
  • Professional websites:
    • www.findapostdoc.com (Europe only)
    • www.postdocjobs.com
    • http://www7.nationalacademies.org/postdoc/
things to consider
Things to consider…
  • Different fields - will broaden your CV
  • New “hot” topics with more funding
  • Geography: where to live?
    • United States
    • International
postdocs at uc davis
Postdocs At UC Davis
  • UCD Office of Grad Studies’ website http://gradstudies.ucdavis.edu
  • PROF (Professors of the Future, http://prof.ucdavis.edu)
  • UC President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
what to look for in your mentor
What to look for in your mentor
  • Is this person active in their field? (publications, grants, etc)
  • What are his/her grad students, postdocs working on?
  • Will this person be a good colleague?
  • What is the funding situation?
before you accept an offer
Before you accept an offer….
  • Is this what you want??
  • Confirm in an offer letter:
    • Salary
    • Benefits (family coverage?)
    • Starting, ending dates
    • Expectations of your research
  • Evaluate the institution
before you accept an offer1
Before you accept an offer….
  • Make sure you will be done with your PhD PRIOR to the starting date
  • Take time off!
talk outline2
Talk Outline
  • What is a postdoc?
  • How do you find postdoc openings?
  • Getting the most out of your postdoc
what to expect when you start
What to expect when you start
  • Ability to get a new project up and running QUICKLY
  • Different dynamics than grad students
what to expect when you start1
What to expect when you start
  • Ability to get a new project up and running QUICKLY
  • Different dynamics than grad students
  • Advise, mentor grads and undergrads

And/Or

  • Run the lab
  • Look for local postdoc network for info
make the most of your time
Make the most of your time!
  • Meet, network with range of faculty/colleagues
    • NOT just your mentor(s)!
  • Participate in seminars, group research projects
  • Publish like mad
make the most of your time1
Make the most of your time!
  • Go to meetings and more meetings, even if you have to pay for them
  • Look for supplemental (funding) opportunities
  • TEACH A COURSE, if you want to become a professor
start looking for real jobs
Start looking for “real” jobs….
  • Develop your career
  • Make your research independent of your grad, postdoc mentors
  • Network, network, network
  • Realize that a postdoc is not a permanent position
for more information
For more information….
  • UCD Postdoctoral Scholars’ Association

http://postdocs.ucdavis.edu

  • Postdoc Network (Science’s Nextwave) http://nextwave.sciencemag.org/pdn/index.shtml
  • Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience

for Scientists and Engineers: A Guide for

Postdoctoral Scholars, Advisers, Institutions,

Funding Organizations, and Disciplinary Societies

http://books.nap.edu/catalog/9831.html (under $12)

thank you
THANK YOU:
  • Joanne Bookmeyer
  • Tom Peavy
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