Would an RA job count as post doc experience?


======= Date Modified 13 48 2010 15:48:23 =======
Hi all,

I'm due to submit my thesis in a few months and have recently started looking for work. I want to stay in academic research and if possible I would like to stay in the same (or highly related) area of my PhD. The problem is that my work is in a very very narrow area with very few people in it. I've kept my eye out for relevant post doc jobs for a little while and haven't come across anything remotely suitable/desirable. Ideally I would like to get my own grant (as in jointly with a more experienced PI) but am not sure how probable that is (will start another thread on this). Anyway I just came across an advert for a RA in a highly relevant area and the PI is someone that I'd really like to work with/write a grant with someday. But the fact that this job is a RA rather than a postdoc worries me a little (the job description says a PhD is desirable but not essential, i.e. it's clearly not designed to be a postdoc job). I don't know if I should apply for it? On one hand it'd be a really good opportunity to work with this PI and as the job only lasts for a year I could talk about possibilities of writing a grant with her when I'm there (that is if I get the job of cos!). On the other hand it's not a post doc job and I worry if it'd look bad on my CV/when I want to apply for grants in the future. I don't know if this is true but I have the impression that when people talk about postdoc experience it's not simply doing research after having a PhD, but more specifically working in a job that's designed for a person with a PhD?

Any thoughts/comments/advice would be appreciated!


I'd definately apply for it. In my lab, 2 new people have just started as research assistants, having recently submitted and passed their PhD or awaiting their viva. It seems to be an increasingly common theme for RA positions to be aimed at people straight after their PhDs, so I don't think that it would look bad on your cv. If it's someone that you are interested in working with it sounds like a great opportunity for you to network. If a more suitable post doc position comes up in the mean time there's nothing to stop you applying for it anyway, but if one doesn't at least you'd (potentially!) have a job and be getting more experience.


Hi, yes, I'd go for it too. It could lead onto something better. You're right, RA positions are not post-docs, and in my experience in the social sciences, an RA job is much lower level than a post-doc, but would provide you with good experience and contacts. And you'd be staying in academia. So, go for it, and good luck!


There are some post-doc RA positions. My husband was on such a contract for years, until being upgraded to a Research Fellow. And lots of other people in his group are still officially post-doc RAs.

I'd go for it too, especially because the job advert lists a PhD as desirable, so they are looking for someone of that experience/calibre, even if they might technically accept someone without the PhD.


Thanks for all comments and advice! Will put an application in for this as well as keep an eye out for other suitable posts. :-)

Ok, now back to working on my thesis...