starting a postdoc

starting a postdoc

You have a Ph.D. and your are looking for at postdoctoral position. Find below some basic information about how and where to start a postdoc.

Where?

Postdocs can be done in a university. Private companies and research centers offers some postdoctoral positions as well especially in biotechnologies and pharmaceuticals.

Who?

To start a postdoc you usually need to have a Ph.D. from a recognized university. Ph.D. from industrial countries are usually recognized.

What?

A postdoc is a temporary position allowing PhDs doing some years of more ore less independant research, often abroad. It is often a step between the PhD and a senior position at university or in industry. Postdocs normally don't have a budget or an own research team, however, they might have to supervise students or PhD candidates. Beside postdocs, there are often similar position having the titles "lecturer", "senior lecturer", "reader", "Oberassistent", "maître-assistant" etc. Such university positions can be either permanent (usually with the opportunity to seek promotions to the next levels as the research career progresses), temporary (e.g. if funded by a specific budget) or "tenure track".

How long?

The duration of a postdoc is not standard, and is usually between 1 and 6 years depending on the research field and the university. A lot of universities have time limits, i.e. the maximal contract for a postdoc is limited to 6 years. The duration may also be related to research grants limited in time.

How much?

Postdoctoral researchers are usually hired by the university or the company. The salary greatly varies from place to place: from 1000 US$ up to more than 7000 US$ per month. The salary must be indicated in the contract of employment. Funding may come from the university, from the Science Foundations, from third-party funds or may be a mixture of these sources. Or you are hired by a company.

How?

The working conditions varies from institution to institution. In most contries, postdocs are in general full time employed. They can use this full time for research activities. Depending on the country, the university and the specific contract, some are also involved in teaching activities and/or supervising tasks. (However, in a lot of countries, giving regular lectures is reserved to professors or lecturers).

How to proceed?

First figure out what subject you are interested in, then find out which university or company is doing research in this field, then find the professor or research group whose work interests you most and contact him/her directly to ask for opportunities.

The other way is to look at the science job portal of myScience.ch.

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