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I managed to get a 4 month internship (during my PhD) in one of the major US national labs. I'm really enthusiast of this experience and I would like to get the most out of it, both in terms of knowledge and formation as well as in networking with colleague. In fact, I believe this is fundamental to eventually continue my experience at the lab with a postdoc.

My question is very simple. Do you think it would be clever to network with other divisions besides mine? There is a group, with which I'm already in contact by mail, and who study the same things I'm doing in my PhD.

My idea is to proposed them a sort of "pro bono" collaboration (since I'm already paid by my division), helping them in my free time as an extra activity.

I have two question in particular:

1- do you think that it would be appreciated? Or will I sound as an annoying climber?

2- do you think it could upset my first division? (provided that I'll give them full priority, doing parallel activities ONLY in my free time)

Thank you all in advance for your advice!

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1- do you think that it would be appreciated? Or will I sound as an annoying climber?

No, I personally would not think that. Instead, I would appreciate your initiative and passion.

2- do you think it could upset my first division? (provided that I'll give them full priority, doing parallel activities ONLY in my free time)

Here it comes the important point. It is ok to collaborate with other groups but you should ask your supervisor first. Even if we are talking about your free time it could still sound very shady to work with other people without saying anything. When you ask this to your primary division, you can say what you said to us "I would like to collaborate with lab X in this way to improve my CV, for networking [...] HOWEVER, I will give full priority to your tasks [...]"

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