I have been very confused about the differences between postdoc and research assistant.
Can I assume postdoc is more like a fixed-term research assistant? or is it more like another qualification?
Is post-doc the only choice if we want to stick within academic after PhD? Some people also told me
post-doc is just like Phd but being paid. I have seen some people doing research work without doing any post-doc so it does not seem to be the only way to do research work.
Also, when do you normally start looking for opportunities whilst doing a PhD? What is the general approach of doing this?
Any advice and clarification is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
At my university the distinction seems to be a postdoc position is only available "post doctorate" and therefore you must have a Phd (or be close to completing one) in order to take up the position. A research assistant position does not necessarily require a Phd and therefore may not qualify for the same salary level on take up. A research fellow position is one that requires you to have had some experience and journal publications as a postdoc and therefore pays a higher salary than a postdoc position on take up. Roughly speaking anyway. All are research positions.
A research assistant post *normally* comes before a PhD. Although sometimes people work as a research assistant during their PhD and some are research assistants even after completing a PhD. A post-doc (post-doctorate) is a form of research usually undertaken by someone holding a PhD.
I started looking for posts about 4 - 6 months before submitting my PhD but have had no luck as yet. Keep an eye on academic type websites etc and apply for things that appeal to you and are in line with your qualifications and experience.
I hope this helps.
One other thing........ask your supervisor! It may be that there is funding available for a postdoc position that they've yet to advertise/sort out. That's what happened in my case. There were no jobs listed but I asked whether there was any further funding opportunities post Phd Viva and low and behold they offered me a postdoc position on contract. :-).
Hey! I mostly agree with the others. Many research assistants where I work either don't have a PhD or are doing one alongside their RA position, however I have seen a few adverts for 'post-doctoral research assistants', just to confuse us even more. A post-doc is only for those who have done a PhD, and fellowships can go to people who have just finished their PhD (if they're very lucky and have publications etc) but often go to people with a few year's post-doc experience. I'm in a post-doc now and am applying for fellowships. One thing I would say, two months into my post-doc, is that the level is very different to that of a PhD. I'm sure this varies according your discipline and supervisors etc, but although I absolutely love my post-doc, the workload is quite scary- I'm leading 2 projects, co-leading another one (all 3 of which I have very limited experience in), and am also teaching, organising a conference, writing up some data for publication, co-writing a book, leading the post-doc meetings, applying for fellowships etc etc...I could go on. I guess part of the reason I'm finding it tough is because I changed topic from my PhD to post-doc, but even if I hadn't, the workload is immense! Also, post-docs are pretty hard to come by right now. I'd just start looking in the last 6 months or so of your PhD. Anyway, good luck with it all :) KB
thanks for clearing it up! it makes more sense now...
i want to avoid working with my supervisor if possible- i feel rather suffocated working with him for my Phd as he is very controlling and I can only do what he thinks is right (i'm not allowed to have any opinion).
would it be weird if I email some other professors and ask them if they have suitable post-doc position? If so, I assume I have to email them rather early as it takes a while for them to apply for funding etc?
======= Date Modified 08 Dec 2011 09:28:33 =======
After the PhD i have found that Post doc positions tend to be called "Research Associate" as opposed to "Research Assistant" which is someone like me, doing research as full time employment before/during a PhD.
Edit: It doesn't help that they both abbreviate to RA!
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