Table of Contents
- So, who is a postdoctoral researcher?
- What does a postdoctoral researcher do?
- Types of postdoc
- Academic postdoctoral researcher
- Industry postdoctoral researcher
- Government postdoc
- Non-profit postdocs
- How long are postdoctoral positions?
- How are postdocs funded?
- Postdoc projects
- Postdoctoral researcher salary
- Key takeaways
So, who is a postdoctoral researcher?
Postdoctoral researcher devotes their skills and knowledge to research after completing their doctorate program. Researchers participate in various studies, conduct their research, and learn from industry professionals. For example, someone who recently completed a doctorate in virology may choose to become a research fellow and continue studying the impacts and spread of specific viruses.
What does a postdoctoral researcher do?
A postdoctoral researcher isn’t solely concerned with research. Numerous other roles in a fellowship require the skills and experience you gained during your Ph.D. These examples are teaching, writing grants and funding proposals, presenting your findings to others, and leading projects and other team members. These are essential skills for early-career academics, and a postdoc is a great way to get them.
Teaching can be a requirement for advancement in your career and is also a part of postdoctoral work. It may entail lecturing, supervising undergraduate and master’s students, or assisting with training new Ph.D. students. Gaining experience in applying for funding is another critical aspect of becoming a researcher.
Types of postdoc
There are three types of postdocs, depending on where they work-
Academic postdoctoral researcher
An academic postdoctoral researcher is a scientist who works at a university. As an academic postdoctoral fellow, they will train you before taking on a tenure-track position at a university under the supervision of a professor. Students will help the professor with their research projects, conduct research, and publish their findings. Many professors advertise postdoctoral positions on the university’s website, social media (such as LinkedIn), or other job search engines.
Industry postdoctoral researcher
An industry postdoctoral researcher works for a company. Many scientists seek industry postdoctoral positions to conduct research, earn higher salaries, and access more resources (equipment, facilities, and research materials). Above all, this position may help them get their foot in the door of a major corporation.
Some companies advertise industry postdoctoral positions on their websites, job search engines, or LinkedIn. They may request that you send your resume to their human resources department or to the specific researcher who will be your future mentor.
A government postdoc is a scientist who works in various government positions to conduct research and possibly other science-related responsibilities (such as reviewing products, patents, and grants). In this position, scientists typically publish their work. Some scientists prefer government postdoctoral positions because they provide the satisfaction of serving the country, relatively good benefits, and a healthy work-life balance.
The NIH (National Institutes of Health), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and USDA (U. S. Department of Agriculture)are some of the organizations that hire postdocs in the United States.
Non-profit postdocs can provide a less traditional option with benefits comparable to academic postdocs. A non-profit postdoc’s focus can range from food scarcity to sports management. There will likely be a strong emphasis on grant writing and collaborative efforts, with fewer teaching opportunities.
How long are postdoctoral positions?
A postdoctoral contract is typically two or three years, but this can vary depending on factors such as the research country, the research area, the PI, and the funding available. A postdoc is typically shorter than a Ph.D.
Ph.D. graduates may complete two or three postdocs before applying for faculty positions or more permanent jobs outside academia. A postdoc, on the other hand, is only sometimes required for an academic job.
Most postdocs are designed to fit the time when doctoral graduates are still gearing up to become early-career academics and take place soon after a Ph.D. University jobs for early-career academics typically require you to have earned your Ph.D. within the last two to three years, during which time you may also have completed a postdoc.
How are postdocs funded?
One can support postdoctoral positions in a variety of ways. Some postdoctoral researchers are paid employees of a university, institution, or company. They may also be paid a stipend through a grant, fellowship, or scholarship.
In some countries, the position title indicates the source of funding. For example, in the United States, a postdoctoral assistant works on a project developed for and funded by a grant awarded to the principal investigator (PI). In contrast, they cite a postdoctoral fellow in their fellowship, giving them a greater say in the project’s scope.
Postdocs can be as varied as PhDs, but here are some examples of what you might do as a postdoctoral fellow-
Assisting with a digitization project- entails helping in the conversion of print and manuscript sources into a format that can be used by other Arts and Humanities students and researchers, potentially leading to the creation of a published resource or service.
Creating and executing large-scale qualitative research projects- Ensuring that data collected for Social Science research is correct, ethical, and valuable.
Contributing to ongoing laboratory studies- Using PhD-level technical and methodological expertise to provide critical input and assistance to science and engineering research groups
Public engagement work- entails assisting researchers from all disciplines in communicating their findings to the general public through media events, publications, and collaborations with non-academic organizations.
Postdoctoral researcher salary
The average postdoctoral research salary in the United Kingdom is £31,990, while it is $48,825 in the United States. Your amount of pay on a postdoc may vary depending on the position you apply for.
- As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be able to receive advanced training from a mentor and improve your professional expertise.
- As a postdoctoral researcher, you can hone your professional and academic skills in a specific field before moving on to a permanent position.
- A postdoctoral appointment typically lasts 2-4 years. However, funding for your research project determines the length of your postdoctoral position.
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Q1. Which country is best for a postdoc?
Answer- Switzerland is home to some of the world’s most prestigious universities. It makes the country a very appealing destination for postdoctoral studies. It is also relatively well-paid, reflecting the country’s high standard of living.
Q2. How long is a Ph.D.?
Answer- A Ph. D. can take up to eight years to complete on average. A doctorate typically takes four to six years to complete, depending on the program design, the subject area you’re studying, and the institution offering the program.
Q3. Is a postdoc a full-time job?
Answer- Postdocs typically work on short-term contracts of two or three years, but many find themselves in a long-term holding pattern while looking for permanent work.