How to find a postdoc

Stepping into the next stage in your academic career after the PhD can be difficult. Many new doctors just don’t know what to do or where to look for. As I recently passed through it, and before I forget all this, I will post here some guidance notes from my own experience, hoping they may be useful to anyone in the future. Note that there is some obvious bias to ecology and evolution postdocs here, and funding sources from Europe (particularly Spain and UK), but most of the links apply to more general cases as well.

So, if you have just finished your PhD and would like to move to a postdoc, there are basically two paths you may follow:

  1. Look for current offers of postdoctoral positions. Some good sites to start are Nature jobs, Science Careers, Find a postdoc, NewScientist Jobs, Euraxess, etc. (see also the links section). You will certainly have an idea of the topic you would like to work on, and probably some countries preference as well - this will help to narrow your search. If you have a clear choice for a given country, try to search for national resources, e.g. and ECOLOG-L are very good sources for the UK and USA, respectively. Most of the sites allow you to sign up to receive automated updates with new offers in your email or RSS reader, so you don’t need to repeat your search manually all the time. Note, however, that not all postdoctoral offers are posted on these sites. A significant number of postdoctoral positions are posted on researchers’ and institutes’ websites only, or circulated through specialist email forums, so you’ll still need to devote some time to searching through the web so as not to miss some important offers.

  2. If you have already chosen to work with a particular researcher, and he/she is willing to host you, but they can’t provide funding at the moment, then you’ll need to look for a fellowship that supports you. Don’t panic, there are plenty of fellowships out there – some of them largely unknown. So once again you’ll need to spend some time looking for what’s available given your particular move, i.e. fellowships from your country of origin, or destination country, or aimed at your research topic. Apart from the official, publicly funded fellowships (e.g. Marie Curie in the European Union), many foundations offer fellowships for doing research in particular topics, or aimed at people moving from/to a particular country. A google search with well chosen keywords should help you find most of them.

I have provided links to some funding sources in the links section, but you can find many more suitable for you on the internet, depending on your circumstances. Good luck!

Francisco Rodríguez-Sánchez
Francisco Rodríguez-Sánchez

Computational Ecologist & Data Scientist.