Tips on applying for post-docs in UK, potentially in slightly different field

19-Aug-19, 18:51
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 1 month ago
Hi all,

I'm currently working in a research institute in the UK (but employed in a non-research role). I would like to get back to full-time research (with or without teaching - but not a teaching-focused role), preferably in the UK, if not Europe.

The role I am in is good but feels like there is no chance of progression or a career development path.

The issues I am facing are:

1) the possibility to work in slightly different fields than my PhD (which was on distributed computing for molecular biology) - my undergrad/masters was in Pharmacy/Chemistry with a hard-core Chemistry dissertation. I am particularly interested in in-silico drug discovery as it was something I employed in my masters, but has come a long way since then (2011), and also I have much more experience in distributed computing now that I could apply to that area. What will a potential supervisor look for in this case, i.e. from someone who didn't specifically do a PhD in this area. Chemistry is also an interest, but I guess I'd be at a disadvantage for not knowing the lab protocols by heart as compared to someone who used specific techniques during their PhD (though I am confident I could do whatever is required as I have publications in Chemistry and Computer Science).

ii) what sort of things make a post-doc application stand out positively, I mean does anyone have any suggestions on how to be successful in this regard.

I did secure a post-doc from a famous professor at my university, from him knowing me and inviting me to apply to be interviewed. This was just as I was completing my PhD. However, I had some corrections which meant I couldn't do both and had to focus on the corrections (as the post-doc had tight deadlines) and therefore I couldn't start it.

Thanks for suggestions!
20-Aug-19, 17:58
by rewt
Avatar for rewt
posted about 1 month ago
Have you tried networking. Like reach out to that famous professor or your old supervisor for a coffee and talk about possible job opportunities. The number of post-docs I know that got recommended for their job is kinda crazy. If you tell some connected people in your research department that you are looking for X or Y, they might be able to recommend you to someone at a conference or collaborator. It is a long shot but you might get lucky
20-Aug-19, 23:33
edited about 1 second later
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 1 month ago
That's a great suggestion, i sort of had something like that in the back of my mind but it didn't quite click, lol. Thanks rewt :-)
23-Aug-19, 22:41
Avatar for Tudor_Queen
posted about 1 month ago
Totally agree with Rewt! That famous professor wanted you as a post doc then so he will want you now - or be willing to recommend you. And that carries more weight than any personal statement or anything! I have a postdoc through knowing someone I met at a conference! Good luck Jamie! Your plans sound exciting!
27-Aug-19, 15:58
Avatar for Jamie_Wizard
posted about 3 weeks ago
it's very encouraging to hear you got a post-doc from networking at a conference. I appreciate the support!


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