A postdoctoral scholar is an individual with a doctoral degree who is in a temporary period of academic research. This research is done under the supervision of a mentor called a postdoctoral advisor or a principal investigator. A postdoctoral program is an opportunity to further develop the skills needed for a career in research.
Developing Important Skills during Your Postdoctoral Appointment
There has been an ongoing debate about the benefits of a postdoctoral position. If you decide to embark on this path, focus on developing important skills and getting the most out of the benefits that this experience has to offer. It is important to broaden your research interests and abilities. You should also spend a good amount of time on writing papers and publishing research during this phase of your career. Also, it is essential that you effectively network and meet other researchers. Connecting with others in your field will not only help you develop career connections but also opportunities for collaboration. However, the most important skill that you need to develop during your postdoctoral appointment is to work independently.
Researchers in a postdoctoral program have many reasons to seek some degree of independence. First, it is important to show future employers that you can do scholarly work and handle projects on your own without always relying on your mentor for guidance. Also, it is important to publish and establish your name as a researcher.
Tips on Gaining Independence in Your Postdoctoral Career
Gaining independence is an important step in establishing yourself as a serious researcher. You want others to see that you can perform research and publish papers. Independent work shows your aptitude for important professional skills and a determination to be recognized as an accomplished researcher.
Apply for Your Own Funding
The main source of funding for postdoctoral researchers is grants. Grants are primarily given through government agencies and private foundations. You should aim to write at least one successful grant application during your time in a postdoctoral program. Being awarded a grant not only funds your research but is a sign of independence and hard work.
Create a Niche for Yourself
You want to be seen as an independent researcher. You want to show people that you can handle big projects. One way to be seen and to make a name for yourself is to create your niche in a research field. One way to do this is to branch out into other areas. This is an opportunity to learn new skills and develop your knowledge in a field. Branching out can also lead to new opportunities to publish your work independent of your mentor.
Get Your Work Published
Publishing your research is a clear sign that you are a serious scholar. It also shows an aptitude to do research independently and introduce new ideas in your field. You should try to focus on publishing high-quality papers in top journals of your field. Additionally, you could also publish review articles, to highlight your knowledge in your field. You can also collaborate with other researchers on articles. This is one benefit of developing a good network.
Are there any other opportunities for postdoctoral researchers to gain independence? Do you have any experience with postdoctoral programs? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.