I got a PhD in mathematics three years ago, and am currently a post-doc. My appointment is due to finish this August, so I am now looking for a new job.

My dream job would be a permanent faculty position in my home country. The problem is that in my home country, the recruitment calendar is considerably later than the international average: if an offer comes, it could be in mid- to late May (most likely) or possibly even June (if I have to wait for people above me in the shortlist to step aside). Also, the competition is very tough; even though my CV (as far as I can judge) seems fairly good, there is a real possibility that I will not get any such position this year.

If I cannot get a permanent position, I would like to do a second post-doc (somewhere in Europe). But the calendar for post-docs, on the other hand, is much earlier: based on my experience so far, it seems that the vast majority of offers that I could get would have a reply deadline somewhere in February.

All of this puts me in a tight spot:

  • either I could sit idle until the permanent position interviews; and only if I fail all of them, start looking for a post-doc. But the chances of finding, in June, a post-doc to start in September seem fairly slim. If I did this, I am genuinely scared I would end up as a high-school teacher.
  • or I could apply to post-docs now, and accept one of the offers without telling them anything; then quietly go to the permanent position interviews, and if I pass one of them, renege on the post-doc I had already accepted and take the permanent position instead. But this raises obvious ethical issues.

Of course backing out of a commitment on a job A to take a better offer B is usually frowned upon. However I think I heard people saying that the case when A is a post-doc and B is a permanent position is exceptional, and that in this case such behaviour can be forgiven. Still, I would feel more comfortable if I had more opinions about this. If you were in this situation, what would you do?

Anticipating some objections:

  • Applying to post-docs now, all while being upfront with them about my parallel permanent position search, seems more or less equivalent to not applying at all. In fact there is already a post-doc position that I failed to get for this very reason (this position actually was in my home country, so I could not hide anything from them).
  • From what I have heard, requests to postpone the permanent position’s starting date by a year so that I could do my post-doc are usually not granted (since they need someone to teach their classes).

(This question: Accepted post-doc and have subsequently received offers for full time faculty position – quandary is similar, but their exact situation seems somewhat different.)

I very recently learned that I will be awarded an NSF postdoc!
And then the US government shut-down.

Should I expect the NSF postdoc to work out once the government starts running again?

Note: The email I received from the NSF is not an official award notice. From the NSF website is says that during this shut-down period “no new grants or cooperative agreements will be awarded”. It does not say anything about whether grants that have been scheduled will be awarded once operations resume. Perhaps I am overthinking it, but I am worried that the NSF postdoc might fall through and it will be to late for me to make alternate arrangements.

I very recently learned that I will be awarded an NSF postdoc!
And then the US government shut-down.

Should I expect the NSF postdoc to work out once the government starts running again?

Note: The email I received from the NSF is not an official award notice. From the NSF website is says that during this shut-down period “no new grants or cooperative agreements will be awarded”. It does not say anything about whether grants that have been scheduled will be awarded once operations resume. Perhaps I am overthinking it, but I am worried that the NSF postdoc might fall through and it will be to late for me to make alternate arrangements.

I am a PhD candidate in Physics, and I am applying to some interdisciplinary postdocs that deal with economics/climate science/etc. I have a pretty good academic publishing record, but also own a moderately successful blog that deals with economics, politics, science, etc. from a Left perspective.

Would it be sensible to include my blog in my CV or research statement to show that I am interested in that sort of interdisciplinary work and that I have good communication skills?

Some of the posts have a couple of thousands reads etc, which implies I have an audience. My issue is that, because it is a partisan blog it has obviously some strongly worded opinions, so I am not sure if it would be professional to mention it. The reason why I want to include my blog is that my PhD is in pure physics, and I want to show I can “work” in other environments as well.

So I am a PhD candidate in physics and currently I am applying to some interdisciplinary postdocs that deal with economics/climate science/etc. I have a pretty good academic publishing record, but also own a moderately successful blog that deals with economics, politics, science etc from a “left” perspective.

My question is whether it would be sensible to include my blog in my CV or research statement, to show that I am interested in that sort of interdisciplinary work and that I have good communication skills. Some of the posts have a couple of thousands reads etc, which implies I have an audience. My issue is that, because it is a partisan blog it has obviously some strongly worded opinions, so I am not sure if it would be professional to mention it. The reason why I want to include my blog is that my PhD is in pure physics, and I want to show I can “work” in other environments as well.

I am PhD student in my final months, and I know that I don’t want to stay in academia forever. However, I wouldn’t mind doing a postdoc for two or three years, because I really like the academic work.

I have written a postdoctoral fellowship proposal together with my potential future host. The host has agreed to fund 1 year from her own funds, while the fellowship pays for another year. A few days ago, I have been awarded this fellowship.

In the meantime, I have also applied for industry positions (as I wasn’t sure whether I get the fellowship), have recently had an interview and just now I got a job offer ready to sign.

Now, I have to choose between the two, and I am inclined to take the industry position and to leave academia for good – because the company has been on my “wish list” for many years and I potentially might regret having declined the job offer in a few years.

However, I am not sure whether this is fair towards the professor, as she has invested a fair amount of time into the proposal. I have not told her anything about the fellowship outcome nor the job offer. Could I still decline the fellowship without bad feelings, or have I already committed myself into this postdoc?

somewhat related:
How to politely decline a postdoc job offer after signing the offer letter?
Please note, I have not signed anything yet, so I am asking from a moral rather than a legal perspective.

I’m planning to apply for a postdoc that asks only for a CV and a research statement describing “educational and research background, areas of interest, and what you would like to accomplish in your postdoctoral training.”

Does this mean they don’t want a cover letter? Should I be essentially merging the cover letter and research statement in one document? Because in a way it just sounds like they’re describing what I would expect to be in a cover letter. Or is the cover letter just expected and I should do that plus a research statement?

After a PhD in Biomedical Engineering (focus on Imaging and Robotics) with a decent publication record and some prestigious fellowships, I took on an industry research position at a well-known company, where I’ve been for 1.5 yrs. Still, I’ve kept one foot in academia with the goal/hope of one day returning (for the usual reasons: opportunity to do longer-term research, publish, mentor, etc).

Specifically, I’ve been collaborating with a well-known PI from a different field (Neuroscience) who needed help with a “side-project” (applying machine learning and related techniques to complex neuroimaging data). The project has gone further than expected, and we are close to publishing a paper. I expressed interest in continuing this work and, to my surprise, he invited me to interview; it went well, and I’ve been offered a postdoc position. Furthermore, since he lacks computational expertise, he wants to set me up with a co-mentor who is renown in the machine learning field.

I’m looking for opinions on how risky it’d be to make this jump. My concerns are:

  1. Field change. While I’ve taught myself a range of computational techniques through this project (and through my industry
    job), my prior publications were not in this field.
    Neuroscience is even newer for me. Even assuming a productive postdoc, I worry about my
    competitiveness for future TT positions compared to people
    who did their PhD’s in these exact areas (what do I bring that they couldn’t bring?). I’m also concerned
    about my CV appearing disjointed.
  2. The mentorship situation, since the PI himself is not a computational expert. The people in the co-mentor’s lab are experts, of course, but I do not know them as well (yet).

Reasons this could be great:

  1. I get to do more long-term, basic research in an area
    in which I’ve always been
    interested.
  2. The main PI and I have worked well together, and he is genuinely interested in mentoring me, helping me apply for postdoc/early-career funding, establish independence, etc.
  3. If the co-mentorship situation works out as planned, I’ll receive great training from both sides.
  4. Hopefully by having a head start and being close to a paper
    already, I’d hit the ground running.

My options are pretty straightforward: Say no and continue my current industry job; say no and start looking for strong postdoc labs closer to my area of expertise (or another industry research position that prioritizes publications and longer-term research); or jump on board and swim!

TLDR: I’m “stuck” between two good options – terrible situation, I know. Still, I’ve been on the fence, as it’s hard giving up a permanent position in industry for a risky alternative. I’d like to know if my concerns are valid, and I’m curious what others would do in my shoes. Apologies for the overly long post, and thanks very much for the feedback!