24 September 2010

Post doc funding

I have two choices when I graduate from my PhD. First, get a teaching position at a university. Probably won't be a great university and probably won't be tenure track. Will probably be fixed term, one to three years. Second, do a postdoctoral research project. I could do this by piggy backing on someone else's project or by applying for my own funding.

I had been leaning heavily toward prospect one because of the financial payoff. Basically, I could make money for the first time and lose some of the pesky problems of being extremely careful about finances. Fortunately, the longer we are here, the more relaxed about money I've gotten and I've realised that actually, things are not that bad, even at our current income rate and we are able to do, more-or-less, what we want to do and our savings is making slow interest, so it's not like we are falling behind. I'm also realising that if I want to really make a name for myself, postdoc work, although a sort of long way around, would eventually lead me where I want to go: teaching at a big, big(ger) name university in the UK, US, or possibly Japan. Postdoc funding will only be a bit more than I am making now and it could mean another 1 to 3 years, but when the children are young, I think it's okay.

Getting on another project would be fine, and most likely, but not nearly as prestigious as getting the funding yourself. So I'm thinking of really going for broke here and trying for some very competitive stuff. I mean really go for broke. Essentially, I have research ideas in CMC, religious studies, inter-cultural communication, and membership categorisation analysis. I am going to spend some time doing some research on possible funding streams and go for it. The problem is I am not a UK citizen, meaning the British Academy and ESRC post-docs are not a possibility--my funding is going to have to come from somewhere else which means it is likely we may have to go somewhere else. I'm thinking maybe three years in the EU wouldn't be too bad, if it meant a crack at a good job back here. (ESRC will fund international students: problem solved!) Or there, wherever there is. I also realised that if I don't teach for two years, it doesn't mean that I lose my experience having taught. I keep that. So the postdoc, provided everyone it happy, is probably a net gain over getting an instructor position.

Most of the post-doc applications for Autumn 2011 are due around this time, which means that I have to be applying this time next year, which means that I have really be starting the application process in the Spring of next year. Can't believe it is all going to happen so (relatively) quickly.