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Author Topic: postdoctoral fellowship application from outside US?  (Read 2109 times)
bysshe
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« on: January 07, 2013, 6:45:54 AM »

Hi everyone, I was wondering whether anyone had a sense of what my chances are of securing a postdoctoral position at a US university having graduated with a doctorate from an Australian university (Sydney). I have a fantastic high profile US referee (one of my examiners) as well as two equally famous non-US referees, but I wonder whether these positions are genuinely open to non-US candidates given the tightness of the US job market. Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to advise.
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scampster
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« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 6:52:17 AM »

What is your broad field? (STEM, social sciences, humanities, etc) In STEM fields, postdoctoral positions are often given to people from outside the US. Many US fellowships are not open to non-US citizens, but there are specific positions in labs that are open to whoever the PI wants to hire.
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When you are a scientist your opinions and prejudices become facts. Science is like magic that way!
bysshe
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« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 6:59:10 AM »

Hi, thanks so much for your response!

I'm in literary studies; I know that many, perhaps even most, postdocs in US English departments are officially open to non-US candidates, but my question is whether this avowed openness is genuine, or whether my non-US status will still put me at a disadvantage.

Thanks :)
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seniorscholar
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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 11:57:00 AM »

My large public university has two two-year postdocs (teach one course a year; rest of the time for research; give a public seminar each year) through its humanities center. To my best recollection, two of the fellows in the last ten years have been non-US citizens, one Canadian and one from the UK.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 1:00:10 PM »

This is so case-specific, you will have to do your research on each opportunity.  For postdoctoral fellowships that do not have a US citizenship restriction (e.g. the Society of Fellows and the Mellons), the biggest obstacle is going to be the ferocious competition for one of these.  You'll also be competing against an enormous pool of US candidates and international candidates who will be at varying stages of their careers--ABDs, recent PhDs, some VAPs, and those who have already held postdocs.  If you look at last year's wiki page for Humanities and Social Sciences Postdocs, you'll get a sense of how many applications some of these competitions receive (e.g. 800 for Princeton Society of Fellows), and what some candidates bring to the table. 

My advice would be not to put all your eggs into this basket.  Is there any Australian funding that you could bring to the US?  You would be in a more competitive position if you could target a specific mentor or PI to bring you on as a postdoc, rather than entering a large competition.
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merinoblue
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 1:18:52 PM »

Missed my edit window.

By funding, the most obvious is the Fulbright competition, which might be less competitive than some of these awards, but I'm guessing there are some smaller competitions in Australia or perhaps the Commonwealth that would allow you to bring some money to the US.  The strategy then would be to negotiate a postdoc with an advisor who wants to take you on, but who might not have enough money for a full stipend (alternatively, your external funding would provide a cost of living top-up to a stipend).  

If you've just graduated,  you should still be eligible to use your university's career resource centre.  Go have a talk with someone there about US postdoc competitions and external funding competitions in Australia.  Also, go spend a couple of days combing through the funding databases to find out what you're eligible for.  
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 1:19:30 PM by merinoblue » Logged

Defender of whimsy
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bysshe
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 1:42:32 AM »

Missed my edit window.

By funding, the most obvious is the Fulbright competition, which might be less competitive than some of these awards, but I'm guessing there are some smaller competitions in Australia or perhaps the Commonwealth that would allow you to bring some money to the US.  The strategy then would be to negotiate a postdoc with an advisor who wants to take you on, but who might not have enough money for a full stipend (alternatively, your external funding would provide a cost of living top-up to a stipend).  
 

Thanks so much - I hadn't thought of this. I'll see what I can find.
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sockdolager
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 3:48:19 AM »

NHMRC offers "travelling" postdoc fellowships, so you spend two years overseas and then two years back in Australia, but sadly I don't think the ARC has an equivalent for non-medical fields. Your uni's research office should have a list of all the possible fellowships out there, so you can scour this and see if there are any that would give you your own funding. If you have your own funding, it seems reasonably easy to get a postdoc overseas. Even without independent funding, a substantial proportion of the Australian PhD grads I know have done at least one overseas postdoc.
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babbinacara
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 7:00:25 AM »

I have a fantastic high profile US referee (one of my examiners) as well as two equally famous non-US referees,

Do not count on the above as a big advantage, either. Many applicants will have famous referees, but famous people can inspire hatred and cynicism, as well as esteem. Famous people can write cr@ppy and/or inconsequential letters; they didn't get famous spending a lot of time on things like that, after all. The main thing is you; this is not a post-doc for these referees, it's a post-doc for you. What is it about you that raises you up above the applicant pool, whether US, EU, or whatever citizenship? Your referees are a thin film of (admittedly possibly tasty) icing on top of a substantial slab of cake (or pie).
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youllneverwalkalone
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« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2013, 6:13:57 PM »

Hi everyone, I was wondering whether anyone had a sense of what my chances are of securing a postdoctoral position at a US university having graduated with a doctorate from an Australian university (Sydney). I have a fantastic high profile US referee (one of my examiners) as well as two equally famous non-US referees, but I wonder whether these positions are genuinely open to non-US candidates given the tightness of the US job market. Thanks in advance to anyone who is able to advise.

From a European perspective: I have heaps of friends who got post-doc positions in the US right after their PhDs in European universities (STEM fields mostly).

I think if you have a good profile (publications, degree from a respectable uni, etc) the fact the fact that you are not American would generally not matter. Of course positions that are not "genuinely" open do exist everywhere, but that usually means they are tailored on one candidate - not one nationality - so that's always an hazard regardless where you are from.
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chronicleob
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2013, 4:44:25 PM »

Very likely.
As long as you've found a matching group, then,
a. Connections
b. Publications
...
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