Blogger Candid Engineer in Academia says the postdoctoral training period is the perfect time for PhDs to "reinvent" their research repertoires. It's "not that you can't reinvent yourself as a professor," she says, "but it appears to become significantly more challenging" as institutions and funding agencies are less likely to "take a chance" on faculty who wish to make significant changes to their line of work, especially those early in their careers. In a comment, however, Comrade PhysioProf contends that the opposite is actually the case: "Once you are a PI, if you can present good preliminary data in a new area, you have as good a chance of getting funding to pursue that area as anyone else," he says, adding that postdocs can often be limited in their research roles and scopes by the terms of their training grants. Blogger Dr. Becca weighs in, saying that "it can be done in either position, but you have to be smart about it." Postdocs shouldn't reinvent themselves "too much, because when it comes time for that job talk, you need a cohesive story about who you are, not a showcase of all the techniques you've collected," Becca says.
When to Revamp Your Research Focus
Feb 15, 2011