Postdocs: What are they and how do

Report
Postdocs: What are they and
how do I find one?
Dr. Nicole Michel ([email protected]) and Dr. Lori
Bradford ([email protected]), PDFs, School of
Environment & Sustainability, University of Saskatchewan
Dr. Alex Bond ([email protected]), VRF, Environment
Canada and University of Saskatchewan
What is a postdoc?
Who are postdocs?
Do I need a postdoc?
Outline
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
Introduction
General advice for selecting a postdoc
Writing your own postdoc
Applying for existing postdocs
Networking to find a postdoc
Is a postdoc for me?
Group discussion of any other postdocrelated issues, questions, and concerns.
Who are we?

Dr. Nicole Michel, SENS




Dr. Alex Bond, Environment Canada




Ph.D., Tulane University, May 2012
Lecturer, Tulane University, Fall 2012
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, U Sask, Jan 2013 –
Ph.D., Memorial University of Newfoundland, August 2011
Postdoc, University of Saskatchewan Biology, 2011 - 2013
Visiting Research Fellow, Environment Canada, 2013 –
Dr. Lori Bradford, SENS





Ph.D., Lincoln University, Dec 2009
Part-time Professor and Lecturer, Jan 2010 – Apr 2011
Postdoctoral Fellow, Lakehead University, Aug - Oct 2011
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, USask, Oct 2012 –
Mother and wife
I. Introduction
A.
What is a postdoc?
B.
What kinds of postdocs are there?
C.
Who are postdocs?
What is a postdoc?





“Postdoc” refers both to a type of employment, and the
person who does that work
Typically short-term (1-5 year) teaching and/or
research positions held shortly after the PhD
Preparation for professional/academic career
First postdoc: 1876 at Johns Hopkins
Number of postdocs increasing
1975: 16,000
 1995: 35,000
 Today: >50,000

What kinds of postdocs are there?

Postdocs available in:
 Academia
 Industry/Non-profits
 Government

Postdocs may consist of:
 Research
 Independent
 Existing
 Teaching
 Service
Oregon State University
Postdoc job titles
The Canadian postdoc stratigraphy:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
½ men, ½ women (53:47%)
½ completed highest degree outside of Canada
Average postdoc is in their 30’s and married (69%)
Most expect to hold postdoc positions for 3-5 years (70%)
1 in 3 have dependent children
2/3 earn less than $45000 and have no access to benefits
46% Life Science, 32% in Physical Sciences or Engineering, 14%
in Social Sciences
• Most are happy with work environment and independence, but
most are concerned with salary, career development,
professional training, benefits
• More than half not exposed to career opportunities outside
academia, 87% have no access to career counselling
• Can be labelled “employee, student, trainee, intern,
independent contractor”
*2013 The Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars/L'Association Canadienne de Stagiaires Postdoctoraux (CAPS-ACSP) and Mitacs.
GENERAL ADVICE FOR
SELECTING A POSTDOC
Dr. Nicole Michel, PDF, SENS
Ten Simple Rules for Selecting a Postdoctoral
Position (Bourne & Friedberg 2006)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Select a position that excites you
Select a laboratory that suits your work and
lifestyle
Select a laboratory and project that develop new
skills – diversify!
Have a backup plan(s)
Choose a project with tangible outcomes that
match your career goals
Ten Simple Rules for Selecting a Postdoctoral
Position (Bourne & Friedberg 2006)
6.
7.
8.
Negotiate first authorship before you start
The time in a postdoctoral fellowship should be
finite
Evaluate the growth path

9.
10.
Can you continue this research and take it with you?
Strive to get your own money
Learn to recognize opportunities and up-andcoming areas of research
Selecting a mentor and lab



Is this person active in their field?
What topics are the lab (graduate students,
postdocs) working on? Will you fit in?
Will this person be a good colleague and mentor?
 Ask

around to get the “inside scoop”
What is the funding situation?
 Just
because they say they have/will have money
doesn’t mean it’s true

Can you live in that city/region for a few years?
Survey: what to look for in a postdoc
You’ve received an offer – now what?


Make sure this is really the position you want
Confirm the following in writing:
 Salary
 Benefits
 Start
and end dates
 Expectations of your research, teaching, and service
commitments


Evaluate the institution
Make sure you will be done with your PhD before
the start date (allow some time off, if possible)
What to expect as a postdoc

Get your project up and running quickly
 Often






doing dissertation-level work in 2 years
Publish, publish, publish
Network, network, network (in and beyond dept.)
Participate in seminars & group research projects
Look for supplemental funding opportunities
Teach a course and/or mentor students (academics)
Keep applying for “real” jobs
MAKING YOUR OWN
POSTDOC IN CANADA
(BIOLOGY)
Dr. Alex Bond
Postdoctoral Fellow
Environment Canada / University of Saskatchewan
LabAndField.wordpress.com / @thelabandfield
Start early


At least 12-18 months before you want to start a
postdoc
Account for application deadlines
 E.g.,
NSERC PDF applications due in October the year
before you want to start


Identify a potential supervisor early on and
develop a proposal together
One proposal can be easily modified for several
competitions
Making your own postdoc




Using existing pools of unfettered money
Funds go with you, not your supervisor/lab
Highly competitive
Few sources
NSERC

4 main programs
 Postdoctoral
Fellowships (PDF)
 Industrial R&D Fellowships (IRDF)
 Visiting Fellowships in Government Labs (VF)
 Banting Fellowships (with SSHRC & CIHR)
NSERC PDF Program



$40,000/year for 2 years
Applications due to NSERC on 15 Oct
Similar to PGS application
 2-page
research proposal
 List of publications
 Significant contributions to R&D
 Letters of reference
NSERC PDF Program



Canadian citizens or permanent residents only
PhD completed no more than 2 years before
application deadline
Only get one shot!
 2013
applications: 808
 Down
 2013
from 2011 high: 1431 applications
awards: 110
 Down
from 2010 high: 286 awards
NSERC PDF Success Rate
NSERC IRDF Program


$45,000/year (minimum) for 2 years
No set application deadline
 Notification



of decision within 8 weeks of submission
No proposal required – just an industrial partner &
satisfying eligibility criteria
PhD completed in the last 5 years
No set competition – depends on candidates finding
an industrial partner
NSERC IRDF Program



Lengthy application procedure, especially if the
industrial partner has not had an NSERC IRDF
position before
Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and foreign
students with a work visa & who completed their PhD
in Canada at the time of nomination
No more than 6 months’ employment in R&D after
obtaining PhD
NSERC VF Program

$49,513/year for up to 3 years
 duration
depends on government funding; rate is
~90% of entry-level government scientist (RES-01)

No set application deadline
 Notification


of decision within 3 months
No proposal required – just a federal government
lab willing to take you on (or not*) & satisfying
eligibility criteria
No set competition – depends on candidates finding
a government supervisor
NSERC VF Program



Open to anyone of any nationality with a PhD from
any accredited institution
If no government partner, applicants can be placed
in a pool of “pre-approved” candidates for up to 1
year
Can only ever apply twice
 Can

only ever hold one VF
Funding in one-year increments
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships


$70,000/year for 2 years
EXTENSIVE application process
 First
selected by supervisor, faculty, and put forward to
university
 Independent review (coordinated by applicants) of
their proposal
 University ranks & submits some applications to national
competition (number determined by Banting program)
 Takes >3 months to compile
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships




Application deadline (at Banting): last week of
September
University deadline is weeks before
4-page proposal, contributions to R&D, list of
publications
70 total across NSERC, SSHRC, CIHR
 2013
NSERC pool: 23 awards/180 final applicants
Other Funding Schemes





Liber Ero Fellowship Program
Killam Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships
W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral Fellowship in
Northern Research
UBC Biodiversity Research Centre
University of Toronto Ecology & Evolutionary
Biology
Liber Ero Fellowship Program






$55,000/year +$15,000 for travel & research for
2 years
Applied conservation focus
Requires a collaborating conservation practitioner
4-page proposal, CV, and letters of reference
4 awards every year
Last deadline was 01 November
Killam Postdoctoral Fellowships






UBC, University of Calgary, University of Alberta,
Dalhousie University
Each university runs their own competition
$44,000-50,000/year for 2 years
Application deadlines vary by university (some in
the fall, others in winter)
Generally require a proposal, CV, letters of
support, …
~2-4 awarded by each university each year
W. Garfield Weston Postdoctoral
Fellowship







Canadian Northern Studies Trust
$50,000/year for 2 years + $10,000 for travel
Research in the Canadian North (defined as the
permafrost line)
Canadian citizens & permanent residents only
PhD within 2 years of the application deadline
Letters of support from supervisor, university;
transcripts; research proposal
Deadline: 31 January 2014
Biodiversity Research Centre, UBC







NSERC CREATE training program
$43,000/year for 2 years + $7,000/yr research
stipend
Research on core problems in biodiversity
Work with one or more of 50 faculty members
All applicants welcome
CV, three letters of reference, statement of overall
scientific goals and interests (2 pgs.)
Deadline: 13 January 2014
University of Toronto EEB




$40,000/year for 2 years
Work with existing faculty at U of T Department of
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
CV, representative publications, research summary
& future plans
Review starts 25 Nov
Other resources


International Scholarships Database (Government
of Canada)
Applying for existing postdocs
WRITING YOUR OWN
POSTDOC – US FUNDING
SOURCES
Nicole Michel, PDF, SENS
As in Canada, start early


At least 12-18 months before you want to start a
postdoc
Account for application deadlines
 E.g.,
NSF applications due in autumn the year before
you want to start, many private apps. in Jan/Feb


Identify a potential supervisor early on and
develop a proposal together
One proposal can be easily modified for several
competitions (recycle!)
Making your own postdoc in the US




Using existing pools of money
Some funds go with you, not your supervisor/lab,
but most funds are linked to specific labs &
projects
Highly competitive
Few sources
 more
than in Canada, but there are also more
applicants
National Science Foundation


Independent Federal agency created by the
National Science Foundation Act of 1950 “to
promote the progress of science; [and] to advance
the national health, prosperity, and welfare by
supporting research and education in all fields of
science and engineering.”
Multiple divisions, funding sources
NSF Postdoctoral research fellowships

Programs are subdivided by research area
Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS-PRF)
 Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
 East Asia & Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI)*
 Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research (MSPRF)
 Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability Fellows
(SEES)
 Ocean Sciences Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF)
 Postdoctoral Fellowships in Polar Regions Research (PRR-PRF)†
 Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)
 Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE-PRF)
 Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

* For graduate students, must be enrolled at time of application
† Suspended April 2013, may be reinstated
NSF Postdoctoral research fellowships

Programs are subdivided by research area
Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences (AGS-PRF)
 Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowships (EAR-PF)
 East Asia & Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI)*
 Mathematical Sciences Postdoctoral Research (MSPRF)
 Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability
Fellows (SEES)
 Ocean Sciences Research Fellowships (OCE-PRF)
 Postdoctoral Fellowships in Polar Regions Research (PRR-PRF)†
 Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in Biology (PRFB)
 Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE-PRF)
 Science, Technology, and Society (STS)

* For graduate students, must be enrolled at time of application
† Suspended April 2013, may be reinstated
Science, Engineering, and Education for
Sustainability Fellows (SEES)










“Seeks to advance science, engineering, and education to inform the societal actions
needed for environmental and economic sustainability and human well-being while
creating the necessary workforce to address these challenges”
Who can apply: US citizen, national, or permanent resident; have the PhD by the
start date; <36 months post-PhD. Others may apply through affiliation with
universities, colleges, or non-profits.
Stipend: $88,000/yr including benefits
Research funds: $60,000 over 3 years
Indirect: none
Funds transportable: yes if applying as unaffiliated individual
Duration: 3 years
Due dates: November 26, 2013
Number of awards annually: 15-20
Application limits: 1 per applicant, no limits per university
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in
Biology (PRFB)


Four areas: (1) Broadening Participation in Biology; (2) Intersections of Biology and
Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Engineering; (3) National Plant Genome Initiative
Postdoctoral Research Fellowships; and (4) International Postdoctoral Research Fellowships in
Biology
Who can apply: US citizen, national, or permanent resident; have PhD in science, math, or
engineering by the start date; <12 months full-time employed post-PhD; have not accepted
academic appointment; have received <$20,000 federal funding (not counting GRFP, DDIG)

Stipend: $54,000/yr

Research funds: $15,000/year (no foreign travel)

Indirect: none

Funds transportable: Yes. May work in US or internationally

Duration: Area 1: 3 yrs + 1 yr teaching (optional); Area 2: 2 yrs + 1 yr abroad (optional) +
1 yr teaching (optional); Area 3: 3 years; Area 4: 2 years

Due dates: October 8, 2013

Number of awards annually: 15 per competitive area

Application limits: 1/year, 2 consecutive per applicant, no limits per university
Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences
(SBE-PRF)


Two tracks: (1) Broadening Participation, (2) Interdisciplinary Research in Behavioral
and Social Sciences
Who can apply: US citizen, national, or permanent resident; obtained PhD <24
mos. before application or within 10 mos after deadline; no full-time tenure-track
position. Must be affiliated with university or non-profit through which proposal is
submitted.

Stipend: $45,000/yr + fringe benefits per institutional rates

Research funds: $10,000/year

Indirect: included at institution’s indirect rate, in addition to stipend & research funds

Funds transportable: No

Duration: 2 years

Due dates: Last Monday in October

Number of awards annually: 15

Application limits: 1/year, 2 consecutive per applicant, no limits per university
Science, Technology, and Society (STS)


Research into the interface between science (including engineering) or technology,
and society, using social science, historical, and philosophical methods
Who can apply: US citizen, national, or permanent resident; obtained PhD <5 years
before start; no full-time tenure-track position. Can not work at Ph.D. institution

Stipend: $75,000/yr including indirect

Research funds: none

Indirect: included at institution’s indirect rate, deducted from stipend

Funds transportable: Yes if made to individual

Duration: 2 years

Due dates: February 1, August 1

Number of awards annually: 15

Application limits: none
Other NSF funding sources






Core program grants
CAREER grants
RAPID grants
EAGER grants
Dear Colleague Letters
Special solicitations
Core program grants

Wide variety of funding topics/clusters
 Biology: Biological Infrastructure, Environmental Biology,
Emerging Frontiers, Integrative Organismal Systems,
Molecular and Cellular Biosciences


DEB: Ecosystem Science, Evolutionary Processes, Population and
Community Ecology, Systematics & Biodiversity Science
SBE: Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, National Center for
Science and Engineering Statistics, Social and Economic
Sciences, Office of Multidisciplinary Activities

BCS: Anthropological Sciences, Geography & Environmental Sciences,
Psychological & Language Sciences, Interdisciplinary Behavioral and
Social Science Research
Application process (DEB)





Pre-proposal (5 pgs.): January 23
Full proposal (if invited): August 4
May only be PI, Co-PI, or lead senior investigator on 2
proposals/year
Budget: flexible. In 2014 $72M for ~200 awards
May be submitted by:
Universities and colleges (typical)
 Non-profits or for-profit (rare) organizations
 Unaffiliated individuals (rare, must be US citizens)


PI typically a senior scientist. Postdoc helps write the
grant, may or may not be listed as Co-PI
NSF CAREER grants









Awards for junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacherscholars through research & education.
Who can apply: US universities, colleges, or non-profits; PI
must hold PhD; be on tenure-track but untenured until 1 Oct
after deadline; have not received CAREER award
Application date: late July
Budget: $500,000 BIO & Polar, $400,000 other
Indirect: included in budget
Duration: 5 years
Number of awards: 600/year
Application limits: 1 per competition
Highly competitive: <10% funding rate
Grants for Rapid Response Research
(RAPID)







Funding mechanism used for urgent proposals, e.g.,
quick-response research on disasters (BP oil spill)
Available through various programs. Must contact
NSF program officer pre-submission.
Project description 2-5 pgs.
Internal merit review only
Budget: up to $200,000
Duration: up to 2 years
Extensions and supplemental funding available
Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory
Research (EAGER)








Funding mechanism used to support exploratory
work in early stages on untested research ideas
High risk / high payoff
Must contact NSF program officer pre-submission
Project description 5-8 pages
Internal merit review only
Budget: up to $300,000
Duration: up to 2 years
Extensions and supplemental funding available
Special Solicitations

Special solicitations provide opportunities for
funding on selected topics, often cross-cutting
 Assembling
the Tree of Life
 Dimensions of Biodiversity
 Dynamics of Coupled Natural & Human Systems
 Ecology and Evolution of Infectious Diseases
 Long-Term Ecological Research
 MacroSystems Biology
Other funding programs




Dear Colleague Letters advise applicants of NSF’s particular areas
of interest
 Proposals are submitted through regular channels
Proposals for Conferences, Symposia, & Workshops
Catalyzing New International Collaborations
 Support short international planning visits by US researchers
Research Experience for:
 Teachers
 Undergraduates

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry (GAOLI)

Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)
NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences Funding Rates



DBI: Biological Infrastructure
DEB: Environmental Biology
EF: Emerging Frontiers


IOS: Integrative Organismal Systems
MCB: Molecular and Cellular
Biosciences
NSF Directorate for Biological Sciences Funding Rates



DBI: Biological Infrastructure
DEB: Environmental Biology
EF: Emerging Frontiers


IOS: Integrative Organismal Systems
MCB: Molecular and Cellular
Biosciences
NSF DDIG & PRFB


DDIG funding rates: 20-35%, by division/year
PRFB: ≤15 awards given in each of 4 areas
 Broadening
Participation in Biology
 Intersections of Biology and Mathematical and Physical
Sciences and Engineering
 National Plant Genome Initiative
 International Postdoctoral Research Fellowships
 Funding rate? But ~8,000 Biology PhDs/year in US
NSF DEB core program grants





Pre-proposals submitted: 1,624
Invited for full proposal:
380
Recommended for funding: 259
Early career investigators: 29 of 401
Primarily undergraduate : 18 of 287
institutions
23.4%
15.9%
7.2%
6.3%
Writing a NSF grant



Grant Proposal
Guide (76 pp.)
Follow directions
very carefully!
Often submitted
through Grants &
Awards office at
University => allow
extra week
Other US-based Postdoc Funding: Databases



UC Berkeley’s database of Postdoctoral Fellowship
in the Biosciences (heavy on biomedical)
UC Berkeley’s database of Postdoctoral Fellowships
in the Social Sciences
UCLA’s Graduate & Postdoctoral Extramural
Support (GRAPES) database
Other US-based Postdoc Funding (cont’d)









American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grants
(small funds - up to $6,000 - for research)
Columbia Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Postdoctoral
Fellowship in the Earth, Environmental, and Ocean Sciences
Columbia University Earth Institute Postdoctoral Fellowships
Harvard University Environmental Fellows Program
Life Sciences Research Foundation
Michigan Society of Fellows
National Academy of the Sciences
National Institutes of Health
Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences
Other US-based Postdoc Funding (cont’d)








Smith Postdoctoral Fellowship in Conservation Research
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Postdoctoral
Fellowships
Smithsonian Institution Fellowships (many)
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Tupper Postdoctoral
Fellowship (3 year)
University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
Program
University of Chicago Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
University of Chicago Society of Fellows (teaching)
University of Michigan President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship
Program
Fulbright funding for International Study
 US
Student Program
 US
student at time of application, work outside the US
 Non-US
Student Program
 Foreign
 US
student at time of application, work in the US
Scholar Programs
 Short-
and long-term programs to send US faculty and
professionals abroad
 Foreign
 Short-
Scholar Programs
and long-term programs to bring foreign faculty and
professionals to the US
Other postdoc funding




L’Oreal program for women in science
Marie Curie Research Fellowships (Europe)
National Geographic Explorers Programs
United Nations University Postdoctoral Fellowship
Programme
 research
systems
at the intersection of societal & natural
POSTDOCTORAL
FELLOWSHIPS IN THE
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND
SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCES
Lori Bradford, PDF, SENS
My experiences

Two postdocs
 Turned
down postdoc in New Zealand in 2009
 Postdoc 1: 3 months at Lakehead University
 Postdoc 2: 14 months at UofS – renewed contract 1
year, renewal up again in 4 months


Two very different supervisors
Have developed into a social science
‘methodologist’ and know-mo expert
SSHRC-CRSH
•
SSHRC Postdoc Fellowships:
–
•
•
•
•
•
to support the most promising Canadian new scholars in the social
sciences and humanities and assist them in establishing a research
base at an important time in their research careers
$40 500 a year for up to 2 years
Success rate ranges from 14-20% - results are posted and
can be checked here:
http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results-resultats/statsstatistiques/index-eng.aspx
Can only apply twice, must be within 2 years of getting Ph.D.
(unless career interruption)
Criteria for evaluation – challenge, feasibility, capability
Banting postdocs
•
•
•
•
Aims to “attract and retain top-tier postdoctoral talent,
both nationally and internationally, to develop their
leadership potential and to position them for success as
research leaders of tomorrow, positively contributing to
Canada’s economic, social and research-based growth
through a research-intensive career.”
Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships are valued at $70,000
per year (taxable) for two years.
7-22% success rate depending on stream
Here: http://banting.fellowshipsbourses.gc.ca/res/2012-2013-eng.html
Other government opportunities
•
•
•
•
•
DFAIT – Department of Foreign Affairs and International
Trade (3 opportunities – change frequently) http://www.scholarships-bourses.gc.ca/scholarshipsbourses/news-nouvelles/2011-10-02.aspx?lang=eng
IDRC – International Development Research Center –
opportunities for researchers you know to write you into
their budgets http://www.idrc.ca/EN/Pages/default.aspx
United Nations University:
http://www.ias.unu.edu/sub_page.aspx?catID=6&ddlID=12
7
Other agencies – AgCanada, Environment Canada,
Matched funding with Mitacs – Mitacs Elevate program:
http://www.mitacs.ca/elevate/information-for-participants
International Opportunities
•
•
Commonwealth fellowships
Country-by-country examples:
–
New Zealand Rutherford Postdoctoral Fellowships:
•
–
–
http://www.scholars4dev.com/category/level-of-study/postdoctoral-fellowships/
Malaysia international Scholarships:
•
–
http://www.royalsociety.org.nz/programmes/funds/rutherfordfoundation/funding-opportunities/post-docs/
http://www.scholars4dev.com/4765/malaysian-internationalscholarships/
Germany, Humboldt Foundation:
•
http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/humboldt-fellowshippostdoc.html
Other means… the sneaky ways





New Administrators
New Faculty
Single project work
Big partnership grants
Mitacs funding
Searching for opportunities
•
•
•
•
University Affairs: http://oraweb.aucc.ca/pls/ua/ua_re
University Websites (look off-the-beaten-track):
– UOIT: http://research.uoit.ca/faculty/research-industryfunding/internal-faculty-funding/uoit-medi-post-doctoral-fellowship.php
– Ryerson:
http://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/hfe/documents/Post_Doc_HFE201
2.pdf
– UPEI: http://hr.upei.ca/competition/academic
CAPS website:
https://sites.google.com/site/canadapostdoc/postdocopportunities
Job-Bank (Canadian Government): http://www.jobbank.gc.ca/proveng.aspx?RchJobType=Reg_jobs&OpPage=50
APPLYING FOR EXISTING
POSTDOCS
Overview

Upsides of applying for existing postdocs
 The
money already exists => lower risk
 Quicker turn-around (often 1-6 months)
 Good as a backup plan

Downsides of applying for existing postdocs
 Lower
risk = lower reward. May not be as prestigious
as writing your own (depending on who you work with)
 You’re working on someone else’s project
 Study
area, and perhaps project design, already chosen
 May have less independence and freedom
Job search sites












AGU (American Geophysical Union)
APECS (Assoc. of Polar Early Career Scientists)
CAGLIST (Canadian Assoc. of Geographers)
Chronicle of Higher Education (postdoc, academia)
Conservation Job Board
Duke University Physiological Ecology Job Board
Ecolog (Ecology listserv)
Environmental Career Opportunities
ESA Physiological Ecology Section
Evol postdoc job board (McMaster University)
HigherEd Jobs (postdoc, lecturer and faculty jobs)
HigherEdSpace
Job search sites (continued)











NASA (NASA Postdoctoral Program opportunities)
Nature Jobs
Ornithological Jobs (birds)
PAGES (Past Global Changes)
PhDs.org
Postdoc Jobs
Science Careers Jobs
Society for Conservation Biology Job Board
Texas A&M Wildlife & Fisheries Job Board
USAJobs (government jobs, mostly US citizens)
The Wildlife Society Job Board
Other ways of finding postdocs


Teaching: review websites of relevant departments
at universities where you’d like to teach
Networking
NETWORKING TO FIND A
POSTDOC
Networking: your biggest resource


Go to meetings and conferences, talk with
researchers whose work you like
Work your connections
 Your
own
 Your advisor’s
 Colleagues’ and committee members’

Cold-contact researchers doing interesting work by
email
Networking: just do it!


Start early!
Prepare and practice your elevator speech
 Tailor

to specific audiences
Remember this is common in our field
IS A POSTDOC FOR ME?
The Good




Opportunity to develop and/or work on new,
exciting research projects
Form new collaborations, make new connections
Flexibility
Freedom to focus on research
 Few(er)
teaching or service requirements
The Bad

Low pay (relatively – unless you’re in Australia)

Nebulous status – not quite student, researcher, or faculty



May fail to find full-time employment afterwards
 Average time spent as a postdoc >4 years (can be 8+)
May receive insufficient mentoring/support
Conversely, may not have enough independence to establish
yourself as a scientist
…and The Ugly
Do you need to do a postdoc?

What’s your long-term goal?
 Academia:
yes
 Even
some community colleges
prefer postdoc experience
 Government:
yes, preferably
in government or at a co-op
 Industry or consulting: maybe
not
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats
DISCUSSION
Activity – what is your dream postdoc?

similar documents