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How Many Postdoctoral Fellowships Should I Tackle?
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How Many Postdoctoral Fellowships Should I Tackle?

Dear Dora: Postdoctoral fellowshipsDear Dora,

How many postdoctoral fellowships do most people apply for when starting their postdoc?

– Dom, grad student

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Dear Dom,

This is an interesting and relevant question particularly as the tough job market is channeling more PhD’s towards the postdoctoral track. According the NSF and the National Postdoctoral Association, there were 89,000 postdoctoral fellows in the United States in 2008, and the percentage of PhD’s going into postdoctoral positions is increasing* (see references at the end).

Some students do not need to apply for postdoctoral fellowships because their PI’s have funding for them. Others are not so fortunate, and they need to go through the bureaucracy and secure their own funding. On the flip side, the process of applying for postdoctoral funding gives students experience in grant writing, which is valued highly in academia. Since there are only limited numbers of agencies that grant postdoctoral fellowships in each field, most students only submit one or two applications.

So, where do you find postdoctoral opportunities? I listed a few online resources below, but your thesis advisor is probably the best person to talk to. He or she could recommend other groups whose research could compliment your experience, as well as places to apply for postdoctoral fellowships.

For more information and to connect with other postdocs, visit the National Postdoctoral Association at:

http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/

If you are looking for a postdoctoral position, you will find listings on the following sites:

http://www.postdocjobs.com/
http://www.findapostdoc.com/

Of course, universities’ job bulletins and your field’s professional association are also excellent places to find postdoctoral listings.
To find fellowships:

http://www.phds.org/postdoc/postdoctoral-fellowships/
http://grants.nih.gov/training/nrsa.htm
http://www.nsf.gov/funding/education.jsp?fund_type=3

Fellowships in the Social Sciences and Humanities:

http://www.spo.berkeley.edu/Fund/socpostdoc.html

*References:

http://www.nationalpostdoc.org/policy/what-is-a-postdoc

http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/issuebrf/sib99310.pdf

http://www.cpst.org/Future.pdf

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Dora Farkas, Ph.D. is the author “The Smart Way to Your Ph.D.:200 Secrets from 100 Graduates,” and the founder of PhDNet, an online community for graduate students and PhDs. You will find links to her book, monthly newsletters, and discussion board on her site. Send your questions to DearDora@benchfly.com and keep an eye out for them in an upcoming issue!

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Stay tuned for the next Dear Dora in two weeks!  In the meantime, check a few of Dora’s recent posts:


Submit your questions to Dora at DearDora@benchfly.com, or use the comment box below!

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  1. Is Burnout in the First Year Normal? | BenchFly Blog

    wrote on October 13, 2010 at 5:49 am

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