Postdocs in Neuroscience

Postdocs are at the cross-roads of education and profession, and we face unique professional and social challenges, particularly in the current academic and economic climates. This group is intended for sharing related insights strategies & comments.

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To be Jacks (Jills) of all trades and masters of none, or otherwise? 2 Replies

Started by Nathan W. Schultheiss. Last reply by Markus A. Dahlem Aug 3, 2009.

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Comment by Jim Bower on July 27, 2009 at 4:54pm
Unfortunately, I don't think one really has much choice. The separation between experimental and theoretical endevors in physics (which is often taken as a model for everything else these days) is only relatively recent, and depends on the existence of a sold computational framework for the field. We don't have such a framework, although I hope we are in the building process (sometimes I wonder). That process in Physics required scientists who were as familiar with experiment as theory - it is my view that this will be even more the case with biology.

For postdocs there is, however, another and much more practical issue - what configuration is most salable in the market - having supervised many postdocs with now successful careers, and having sat on many faculty search committees (in biology, engineering, computer science AND physics), candidates with experience in both have always been ranked higher than those without (and not only by me). So, my advice given in Berlin and now here, is that if you want to optimize your success in the job market - you should seek both experiences. Which, in my view, also turns out to be the right thing to do to advance our science.

Last point, when you are a faculty member, one quickly becomes a "master of none" anyway - best to be able to supervise a diverse set of masters = based on one's own diverse training. IMHO

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