Dear Fellow Researchers,

I got my PhD degree in Mechanical Engineering from a EU university some time ago. I've got a good cv in terms of publications, peer-review work, participation in R&D projects, conferences, etc.

I think I've got some good ideas for research and development projects. However, in a Post-Doctoral position, I am very likely to be working on already approved projects, not my own ones.

So my question is: Is it possible to become an independent researcher? All I need is to be able to apply for research funding. Is it possible? I can create a company or whatever is needed to get an affiliation, if that is needed.

What funding organizations would accept proposals in the field of Mechanical Engineering for those not currently working at a University/Research Centre? I am looking for EU funding organizations, but I am willing to accept those in the USA/CA/AU.

Any help appreciated, Best Regards, King Baboon


It is quite common in Germany and the Netherlands for "advanced" postdocs to write their own grant proposal. So I would challenge your assumption that you need to become independent in order to do your own research as a postdoc. Instead I would suggest that staying within academia and write your grant proposal there, has a much higher chance of success.


Yes, it is possible. Your best bet would be to partner up with an organization or a company that is interested in the same thing what you are interested in. Then you can establish a non-profit organization and look for grant funding. Or start a for-profit limited liability company and, ideally, get a contract from a partner/customer to do your particular research, or find investors and get help from those multiple EU organizations that fund high tech startups and then look for customers as your research and develop your prototype/minimum viable product. You can try both ways if you have time and not too many bills to pay. They are not mutually exclusive.

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