The postdoc experience

What Every Postdoc Needs To Know

by Liz Elvidge (Author), Carol Spencely (Contributor), Emma Williams  (Contributor)

Thinking of starting a postdoc? Want to know how to move on from a postdoc? Or simply want to make the best of your postdoc years? Being a postdoc is not a career ... but it can be the pivotal point in the making of one. This friendly, practical, and occasionally humorous guide to all things postdoc combines the three authors’ vast experience of postdoc careers and personal development.

This is a guide to developing, advancing and furthering yourself and your career. In working through exercises, learning from the experience of others (including the trials and tribulations of the authors), and seeking out information, we hope you will consider what success means on your own terms. In its pages you will find advice on:

  • Choosing the right postdoc for you
  • Maximising your postdoc contract for personal and professional goals
  • Selecting and attaining your next career step (academic or otherwise)

Your postdoc is part of the journey towards a range of career destinations; from an industrial R&D specialist to politician, from lecturer to spin-out Chief Executive, and this book is designed to help you get there. Providing indispensable advice on UK-based postdocs for national and international students, it is perfect for those making exciting transitions (student to postdoc, postdoc to the wide world of careers beyond) or for those who simply want to take their postdoc up a gear.

The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited

by Committee to Review the State of Postdoctoral Experience in Scientists and Engineers (Author), et al.

The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited builds on the 2000 report Enhancing the Postdoctoral Experience for Scientists and Engineers. That ground-breaking report assessed the postdoctoral experience and provided principles, action points, and recommendations to enhance that experience. Since the publication of the 2000 report, the postdoctoral landscape has changed considerably. The percentage of PhDs who pursue postdoctoral training is growing steadily and spreading from the biomedical and physical sciences to engineering and the social sciences. The average length of time spent in postdoctoral positions seems to be increasing. The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited reexamines postdoctoral programs in the United States, focusing on how postdocs are being guided and managed, how institutional practices have changed, and what happens to postdocs after they complete their programs. This book explores important changes that have occurred in postdoctoral practices and the research ecosystem and assesses how well current practices meet the needs of these fledgling scientists and engineers and of the research enterprise. The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited takes a fresh look at current postdoctoral fellows - how many there are, where they are working, in what fields, and for how many years. This book makes recommendations to improve aspects of programs - postdoctoral period of service, title and role, career development, compensation and benefits, and mentoring. Current data on demographics, career aspirations, and career outcomes for postdocs are limited. This report makes the case for better data collection by research institution and data sharing. A larger goal of this study is not only to propose ways to make the postdoctoral system better for the postdoctoral researchers themselves but also to better understand the role that postdoctoral training plays in the research enterprise. It is also to ask whether there are alternative ways to satisfy some of the research and career development needs of postdoctoral researchers that are now being met with several years of advanced training. Postdoctoral researchers are the future of the research enterprise. The discussion and recommendations of The Postdoctoral Experience Revisited will stimulate action toward clarifying the role of postdoctoral researchers and improving their status and experience.

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