I cold emailed a lab I really wanted to work in and received a positive response. I had two phone calls with the PI and she seemed very responsive and said she thought I would be a good fit. They asked me to write a rough project proposal and organize a lab visit. She assured me that she would be able to respond within 24 hours regarding the proposal.

As I don't live in the US and am uncertain currently about when I would be available in the next few months, I asked in a follow up email if the lab visit was a necessary part of making a final decision -- I wasn't really clear if I was going to be offered the position. They also didn't mention if I would be reimbursed for the visit, and that's kind of important, but I stressed that I will do my best to organize it if it is part of the process. Also, if I'm not actually being offered the position, then I should know in case I should be applying for other positions.

Anyway, it's been more than a week after I sent the email and I haven't gotten a response. I even sent the proposal and haven't heard anything. I'm confused what happened, it seems like I did something wrong.

Anyone have any thoughts on this?

1 Answer 1


It’s winter time and many people are sick. Your email could have been caught up in a spam filter. She could be on travel. There are any number of explanations that don’t involve you having done something wrong.

Just send a follow-up email politely asking if the proposal had been received and proceed from there.

  • I've sent two emails total now. How long do you think I should wait before emailing the PI's assistant to see what's up? I'm inclined to agree with you and probably I sound neurotic, but I'm nervous they are not interested anymore because they were very quick to respond before.
    – phimac
    Feb 13, 2018 at 18:14
  • Wait at least a week since your previous email.
    – aeismail
    Feb 13, 2018 at 18:35
  • It's not just winter time. The flu season is the worst in a decade. I'm being sick myself.
    – sean
    Feb 13, 2018 at 20:44
  • @phimac ...and at least we are having exams at the moment which are the top priority... so one week of silence is not really uncommon. But it's a bit strange that an answer within 24h was promised, so I understand why you are insecure.
    – OBu
    Feb 13, 2018 at 20:54

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