I'm very early in my PhD (just past 6 months) and out of interest I was looking at some post-doc positions that I could aim towards.

I found a recently advertised position that is in the exact field I am aiming for. Essentially it sounds like I'd be a perfect match... in three years time.

I was thinking of sending one of the Chief Investigators an email introducing myself and expressing interest in positions like this one for the future (obviously not applying though) so he would be aware of my name and perhaps keep me in mind so I could apply if a similar position came available at a more appropriate time.

Is this a common thing to do? Would it be positively or negatively received?

For reference, the field is mathematical biology.

  • 3
    It's too early, but you should try and establish a collaboration with this research group during your PhD. Maybe you could even visit them for a few months. Such networking helps when you finish your PhD and need to find your next position.
    – user9482
    Feb 1, 2018 at 6:53

1 Answer 1


One semester into your PhD is probably a little too early to start contacting potential post doc advisors and future employers—the crystal ball is way too fuzzy, and their plans almost certainly aren’t known. (They may not even be doing the same area four or five years from now!)

You could certainly contact them about your interest in your research and introduce yourself, but I would wait until you’re slightly further along to start discussing future jobs; I’d say serious discussions about that are appropriate when you’re about two years out from graduation.

  • Thanks for your answer. I did feel it was a bit early. I think I'll leave this kind of discussion for a year or so down the track
    – Bamboo
    Feb 1, 2018 at 7:08
  • You could contact them about your mutual research interest to see if there isa possibility of collaboration now / near future / share results etc- who knows - they may make you an offer down the line...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 1, 2018 at 7:31
  • @SolarMike: You could have that discussion once you have a sense of the direction of your project. Normally one doesn't have that as a first-semester student.
    – aeismail
    Feb 1, 2018 at 20:46
  • @aeismail that depends on the discipline - phd's in engineering for example tend to have a very clear defined topic agreed with their supervisor at the start - at least the ones I know and worked with...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 1, 2018 at 21:25
  • @SolarMike: I'm an engineer, so I know what you mean. But more precisely, a first-year student probably does not have a well-defined sense of where the collaboration might occur, and it's probably not a good idea to start one until the student has a bit more work done.
    – aeismail
    Feb 1, 2018 at 21:29

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