Apply for a post doc with different topics from my PhD projects?

In summary: Find people in your new area of interest and ask them for help. Attend conference or workshops. Ask your PI if he or she knows anyone who can mentor you.In summary, The author is worried about being able to compete for a post-doc, given that it is a competitive field. He is considering transitioning to a different field, but worries about his lack of publication and interaction with other scientists. He would like to do some projects in computational physics, but is worried about the difficulty in publication and interaction with other scientists. He plans to improve his skills through side projects and by learning from people in his new field.
  • #1
DannyLouis888
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Hi everyone!

How can I apply for a post-doc that is in a different field from my current PhD topic?
I.e. I would like to make a transition. However, I need to learn how to say and justify that I am competent
in the fields I have rarely touched. In addition, I have yet to publish at the moment (my final PhD year).
These make me anxious about my Post-doc application.

Currently, I am doing research in theoretical particle physics. My project is the higher-order
calculation of 3-loop amplitudes. I have developed some computational skills by doing this project, but
I do not feel like continuing in the future. The main reasons are the difficulty in publication and interaction with
other scientists. In detail, the complicated calculation makes it hard to verify whether my computation is correct, so the publication is
delayed. Moreover, the lack of interactions with other physicists made me miss many talks and conferences in the last several years.

Therefore, I would like to do something less theoretical for my post-doc than in my PhD years. I plan to do some projects
in computational physics, as I have frequently been using computers and feeling more confident in doing computational work.
My proposed topics include nuclear physics, condensed matter physics, astrophysics, etc. Those fields, in my opinion, have
more chances to collaborate with others and easier to check for mistakes.

Thanks!
 
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  • #2
DannyLouis888 said:
How can I apply for a post-doc that is in a different field from my current PhD topic?
Send in an application. That's it.

The thing is, you will be competing against people who are already somewhat established in that area. Why should the PI hire you and not them? You should probably think this through for each position and use it to craft your cover letter and application.
 
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  • #3
I don't think it's that uncommon to jump to a different field for post-doctoral work. Fields change. People develop different interests. Employment, even in academics, is an optimization problem constrained by what's available at the time, where people are willing to move, personal skill sets, competition, etc.

The core controllable factor is your skill set. If you're thinking now that you may want to do something different, the more you can pin down what you want that "different" to look like, the better. Then you figure out what skills you'll need to work in that new area. As you've said, you're building your computational skills. If this is what you see yourself doing more of, look at what post docs in your new areas of interest are doing. What tools are they using? Monte Carlo simulations? Finite element methods? Machine learning algorithms? Deformable image mapping?

Once you figure that out, build those skills through side projects.
 
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What is a post doc?

A post doc, short for postdoctoral researcher, is a temporary position typically taken by recent PhD graduates to further their research experience before pursuing a permanent position. It is a full-time research position that allows individuals to gain more knowledge and skills in their field of study.

Why should I apply for a post doc with different topics from my PhD projects?

Applying for a post doc with different topics from your PhD projects can be beneficial for several reasons. It allows you to expand your research skills and knowledge by exploring new areas of study. It also shows potential employers that you are adaptable and can work on a variety of research topics.

What are the qualifications for a post doc position?

The qualifications for a post doc position may vary depending on the institution or research project. However, some common qualifications include a PhD degree in a related field, relevant research experience, strong publication record, and excellent communication and collaboration skills.

How do I find post doc positions with different topics?

You can find post doc positions with different topics by searching online job portals, university websites, and research institute websites. You can also reach out to your network and ask for recommendations or attend conferences and workshops related to your field to network and learn about available positions.

What are the benefits of doing a post doc with different topics?

Doing a post doc with different topics can have several benefits, including expanding your research skills and knowledge, building a diverse research portfolio, networking with researchers in different fields, and increasing your chances of securing a permanent position in academia or industry. It also allows you to explore new research topics and potentially discover new interests and passions.

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