Help Your Postdocs. You’ll Be Glad You Did

This winter I taught a proposal writing course for graduate students wanting to pursue careers in research, and many of them were looking for postdoc positions for next year. This newsletter contains links to some good resources we turned up so please pass it on to your postdocs; if any of them want to be added to C3’s newsletter, they can do so here .

Before I get to links, though, I want to put in a plug for throwing some institutional support your postdoc’s way. Some of my C3 clients already do this, by finding resources at their universities to get help for postdocs putting in proposals (by hiring me, or someone else); as a result, their postdocs are getting funded and are also acquiring useful tools to take with them in their careers by learning how to put a solid proposal together. In this case, a rising tide definitely floats all boats. Sometimes, it’s a matter of asking and making a case that, in the end, it will save the department money to raise the hit rate on notoriously difficult-to-get-funded mechanisms like R21s.

Useful Links

You probably know about the National Postdoc Association, but if you don’t, you should surf around their website. It has lots of good resources, if you can wade through a lot of text. I’ll call some out here.


The information on mentoring plans is very useful. I have found that mentoring plans seem to be a grey area for a lot of postdocs and PIs for that matter. They are worth doing well, as reviewers put heavy weight on whether postdocs are going to get the support they need to do the work.

International Students

Most of my clients have many international students, who need some help navigating life in the US. Good information here.

Benefits and Pay

Notoriously messy topic for postdocs particularly. Good information here about what they are entitled to and how to navigate complex benefits and compensation systems.

Difference between CV and Resume

UC Davis has done a nice job with this page and gives tips and instructions for both.

Careers in Academia

Also from UC Davis. Much of this site is publically available; some is restricted to students.

Communicating Research

Northwestern’s program in research communication has cool videos and tips about communicating your work


Stay cool. Hopefully those labs are air-conditioned! If not, the Otter pops are on you….

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