Postdoc Options

In which I discuss my thoughts on a career in research at the present time. In which I cover the options open to me both from a research point of view and location.

I still currently plan to have an academic research career as opposed to an industrial research career but I'm open to the possibility my AZ placement may change my mind.

A Career in Research?

So far I've enjoyed my PhD and the working environment that is academia. There are always problems with any working environment but I've only encountered minor niggles so far and there is a lot of freedom to carry out your work in a manner that suits you (as long as it gets done :) ).

From the few people I've spoken to about Postdocs so far it is clear that getting at least one publication published by the end of my 4 year programme is a must. While it is possible to continue my research career without a publication under my belt it will make applying for good jobs significantly easier. This is the world of "

Publish or Perish

" after all.

Location, Location, Location

There is a general rule in research - move! The majority* of academics suggest you change institution between PhD and postdoc (the same has been said about undergrad to PhD too) unless you truly are at the best institute in the world for what you are doing. This, of course, gives me something to start ruminating about and also a great opportunity to visit a completely new city for several years.

Obviously the UK† is always an option but this is probably my best opportunity to live abroad for a short while.‡ And there is quite a lot of choice open to me. With my current language skills I could easily look at Australia, Belgium, Canada, France and the US. If I learn one of the two languages I most wish I knew then I'd open up opportunities in Germany or Japan as well.

I've also been told that, besides English, the best languages I could be learning at the moment for research are Chinese (Mandarin) and Japanese. This definitely gives Japan some bonus points. Not only is it a very interesting place that I've always wanted to visit but if I'm going to invest the time in learning the language I might as well put it to use in that country.

*That I've spoken to.

†Unless something drastically changes I expect I'll always want to return to the UK. It's not just the tea, I generally enjoy it here.

‡Postdocs are usually a few years.

Changes to the Site

I've added a links/cool stuff section to the blog which you can find here:

MRI Glossary

. It includes my very much under-development MRI glossary :)

Tom Out!

P.S. 

http://www.vitae.ac.uk/researchers/1270/Careers.html

P.P.S. 

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics.php