Activities and Professional Development
Postdoctoral associates are at a very special place in a scientist’s career: transitioning from graduate student to full-fledged autonomous researcher; in charge of a research program but not yet burdened by the chore of grant writing; and in the process of laying out what their career will look like in the near future.
At the Smalley-Curl Institute, we contribute to the establishment of the tightly knit intellectual community that characterizes Rice University. We want our science and technology postdocs to be a part of that community, and as a first step we have started periodic luncheons in which all Rice science & engineering postdoctoral associates can participate, get to know each other, and become familiar with each other's work. Two speakers volunteer at each luncheon to provide a short outline of their research activities and projects. The only rule is that each speaker must come from different disciplines, and they have to ensure that each speaker is able to understand the other’s talk.
We also invite to selected luncheons Rice faculty to talk about topics that should be relevant for postdocs: how does the hiring process on a faculty position work? How best to prepare for an interview? What should one expect? What positions should one apply for? And so on.
These lunch meetings are very well received, and their attendance is now settling to approximately 25 participants, with a large turnover (approximately 45 postdocs have attended at least once until now.)
In addition, we are organizing a career development workshop that will address these and related issues in more detail: establishing leadership in a research group; the changing landscape of research funding: private foundations or donors vs. public funding Agencies; grants and grant writing targeted to a given sponsor; making tenure; and many more.
For information on our next Postdoctoral Research Associates Luncheon, please see our SCI Events page.