I am thinking a bit ahead of time and I would like to do some networking with some groups in my research field, for probably a future postdoc opportunity with them after my PhD. However I am afraid my supervisor prevents me to do that, she doesn't seem very happy with the idea of me doing some research stays somewhere else, or even going to conferences, and most likely she would connect me with anyone during and after my PhD, so how could I do some networking ??

  • 1
    You should ignore your supervisor, assuming you've discussed this with your supervisor and they remain dismissive
    – user2768
    Oct 19, 2018 at 9:44
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    "she doesn't seem very happy with the idea of me [...] going to conferences" Major red flag. Is the lab underfunded?
    – user9482
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:33
  • well as PhD students we could use some little budget (with approval of the supervisor) to go to conferences and courses, however she considers that as a major distraction from my work
    – Lest
    Oct 19, 2018 at 10:45
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    @Buffy The OP seems to be exasperated with their supervisor, seemingly after many attempts to move forward. Yet, their supervisor is failing to provide support. This is a "major red flag," as noted by Roland. I have a general tendency to assume supervisors are operating in the best interests of their students, but the scenario described suggests that this particular supervisor is not. Unfortunately, supervisors don't always give the best advice (nor can they be expected too) and sometimes a student must make the best of a situation.
    – user2768
    Oct 19, 2018 at 13:47
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    @Buffy Usually I'd agree, but the OP is "thinking a bit ahead of time" with the goal of finding "a future postdoc opportunity," which suggests the OP is nearing completion and needs to act. (I strongly disagree that I shouldn't offer advice that has a risk.)
    – user2768
    Oct 19, 2018 at 14:10

2 Answers 2


I have a few suggestions.

  • Check out LinkedIn and join groups based on your field of interest. Simply having a profile and stating your field of study will help people find you. Comment on articles, or even write posts, because it will help people see your name. Don't be scared to message people you don't know.
  • If you have the money, let your supervisor know you're taking a week or whatever off and go to the conference yourself.
  • If you don't like the last point, look up speakers at conferences and point out ones to your supervisor that would be applicable and helpful for your studies. Remind her that it may bring you more insight or better ideas for your own work. Let her know that you can work on your studies during non-conference hours if necessary.
  • Watch for alumni events within your own faculty. If there are none, ask other professors or the department head if they know of any talks coming up that may be of interest. Just because you have a supervisor doesn't mean you can't talk to other professors.

I think that ignoring or going around your advisor/supervisor is a very dangerous practice. It could leave you without a degree or, even with a degree, without good recommending letters.

But if you have to give up face to face networking, there is no reason in today's world that you can't correspond with other professionals on common interests. All you need is an email address. If you also have a web site with valuable resources for others, then others can find you as well.

International collaboration is a very common thing these days, and while occasional face to face meetings is desirable they aren't, strictly speaking, necessary.

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