I've recently got my PhD in Europe and I am doing applications for the postdoc positions in Europe and in the US. I've got two possible offers and I am a bit confused to decide which position would be better for my future. One of the offers is from the US and the other one is in Europe. My initial plan was to choose the position in Europe and to spend some more time to expand my academic network by staying close to home. Meanwhile, I am almost sure that I eventually need to go to the US either I decide to stay in academia or go into the industry in the future, since it is very difficult to settle in the Northern European countries as an expat or a foreigner researcher due to different reasons (mostly because of the social life, language and funding options etc.), at least I need to spend some time there to be not seen as only moving inside of Europe. I am also not planning to go back my country at the junior research level since it is too challenging to secure a job as well (Mediterranean country).

I still would like to take the position in Europe and then try to find a better position ( as research associate, Assistant prof or instructor/ senior postdoc) in the US later. Do you think would it be better to go there directly after my PhD? Would it reduce my chance to find a position in the US if I do a postdoc in Europe first?

PS : The position in the US is so close to my current field, it is very similar to my PhD topic. I will still learn different methods and expand my skills technically but the scientific approach is not so different what I have done in my PhD. It has good job benefits for two years (e.g. health, pension etc.) except the visa (J1) though.

  • 4
    It depends on what you want to do in your life. I don't think anyone in here knows that better than you do. – mathreadler Apr 15 '18 at 19:05
  • 1
    You have done your PhD in Europe. If you don't do a PostDoc in the US, it may be hard for you to find a faculty job in a US university. – gefei Apr 15 '18 at 19:46

The answer to this question will come down to your personal circumstances and goals. There will be advantages and disadvantages to both options (both professionally and personally) that only you can know and weigh up. And, of course, it matters more how good the postdoc will be for your development than what continent it is in.

However, it sounds like your goal is to eventually end up in the US. In that case, my suggestion would be that there is no time like the present to make the move. Getting a position in the US is tough and it helps to have as many local contacts as possible, so you should start building them up as soon as possible.

| improve this answer | |

Do you think would it be better to go there directly after my PhD? Would it reduce my chance to find a position in the US if I do a postdoc in Europe first?

The first question is personal opinion, but I can offer some thoughts about the latter question.

  • For primarily teaching positions, yes. I don't know if either of your postdocs involve teaching (if so, they're not super relevant to primarily teaching posts anyway, but math postdocs in the US typically involve teaching) but if so, teaching in the US system is a boon. Also, it's easier (cheaper to fly you in) to interview if you're already in the US, but you could always try another postdoc in the US first.

  • For a research position, a US versus European postdoc doesn't matter too much in and of itself, but you should go to conferences in the US and meet people and tell them about your work. For this type of position, you should take the postdoc that you think will be most beneficial to your research. (Caveat: if the research you would do in Europe is not so popular in the US, this will make it harder for you to get a job in the US.)

  • For an industry position, I don't know too much about this, but I guess like for teaching positions it would be somewhat easier for companies to interview you if you are already here.

  • One thing that may be a possibility is to take both postdocs and defer one. At least in the recent past this was not so uncommon in mathematics. E.g., you may be able to do the postdoc in Europe for 1 year, and then postdoc in the US, or start the US postdoc first but take a year off to postdoc in Europe.

| improve this answer | |

Take a dice. Roll it. If it's an even number, go to the US, if it's an odd number stay in Europe. If you feel bad after rolling the dice, roll it again.

Sounds stupid, but might be the best advice in your case ;-)

| improve this answer | |

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.