Post Doctoral Fellowship

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A Postdoctoral scholar or ‘postdoc’ is a person who has already obtained a doctorate in a particular research area and is involved in guided research or scholarly training for a certain period. The aim of the postdoc is to gain professional capabilities required by the scholar to adhere to a career path of their choice.

According to the National Postdoctoral Association there are roughly 89,000 postdocs doing research in the United States of America. In fact the figure of postdocs in the US is on the rise because the post doc has evolved into the next default step in the career trajectory of an academic who has received a doctorate. As a postdoc, an individually will normally conduct research under a supervisor or a mentor who is usually a more senior academic or scholar. The supervisor or mentor is called the postdoctoral advisor.

One must remember that the postdoc is also a means to an end, in other words it is a career-consolidating step to a position which is more permanent in nature. If you are selected as a postdoc appointee, you can purse a range of projects. However, the bulk of you efforts will be devoted towards nurturing and growing your own scholarship. Postdocs usually add a great deal of value to their hosting institution- thus they have a great deal of freedom to publish the outcomes of their study.

As a postdoc, you will be able to make a transition to an indenpendent career by nurturing your unique professional skills. Further, you will be supervised by at least one(if not more senior scholar). Postdoc students also have plans which and individually tailored to meet their requirements. Such a plan is called the ‘individual development plan’ which integrates the postdoc student’s choice of career, training goals and mentor research goals.

Publication will be an important part of your tenure, so make sure to publish as much of quality research as possible. Since a postdoc appointment is only temporary, usually you cannot spend more than five years in that position. Postdocs are crucial members of the hosting university or research institution. Hence they receive adequate benefits, healthcare, stipend and compensation, at least corresponding with their status. The institute is expected to provide you a set of benefits, apart from your source of funding.

Since postdocs involve an advanced level of research and study, usually generous funding is available. However, while a great number of universities offer doctorates, only a few offer post doctoral studies, since this is a field of super specialization. Hence, you will need to find which university or research institute offers post-doctoral studies. Much like a doctorate, do a post-doctorate only if you are very serious about your subject and wish to delve further and specialize in it. You will have to demonstrate scholarly commitment and dedication to your research project and adhere to deadlines etc. Though still a student, you will be expected to show professional behaviour in accordance with the norms of the academic community.