Abstract | A PhD is not enough ... How to prepare for a career in academia

27 April 2022 - Pre-workshop lecture

The first step after the PhD towards a permanent job in academia is a temporary one, namely becoming a postdoctoral research fellow. I shall discuss what a young researcher needs to achieve in her/his postdoctoral period and what consequently s/he has to consider in making his/her choice where to go (place, topic, type of supervisor,...).

After one or two postdoc appointments it will be time to go for the second step, a tenure track assistant professorship. Now not only the scientific productivity is an important criterion, but the selection committee will want to know about teaching experience, whether the candidate has been the daily supervisor of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD students and if s/he has ever attracted any funding, done any outreach or done anything to serve/influence the community in his/her field. They might also like it if the candidate has already been distinguished with a prize. I shall give tips on what a young researcher at the PhD and postdoc level can do to acquire experience and skills in all these areas.

In the last part of my talk I shall discuss how to prepare for the application for a tenure track assistant professorship, what is important in the negotiation if chosen and what to pay attention to in the first months on the job.

For extra info I recommend two books:

  • “Survival Skills for Scientists” by Federico Rosei and Tudor Johnston
  • “A PhD is not enough” by Peter J. Feibelman if you want to spend part of your career in the USA.

And a good guide for grant proposal writing:

  • “Art of Grantmanship” by Jack Kraicer, on https://www.hfsp.org/node/5761 gives an outline of what to do from 1 year before the deadline until the actual grant proposal submission

Download the presentation (pdf format)