In my Phd, I was using tools of stochastic geometry for my research. But I realize now that the juice has mostly been drawn of this tool at this stage and the new kid around the block is now Game theory, Machine learning (ML), and AI in my field.

I don't have any idea of ML at this stage, but while I am writing my thesis, I am now taking an online course for it. I just want to ask if it is OK to change my tools of research after I have done my PhD with another tool, and if I apply for a post-doc position, how will my recruiters judge me.

  • 5
    You can't be asking whether you can retroactively change the methods that you have already employed for your PhD research, so you probably want to ask whether it's ever okay to learn new methods after finishing (or at the end of) your PhD. I certainly hope so!
    – henning
    Jan 26 '19 at 7:08
  • It's usually seen as a positive for a junior researcher to be able to broaden their scientific horizon.
    – Erwan
    Jan 26 '19 at 12:24

Undoubtedly, to me, the answer is yes. I am free to learn whatever I want, whenever I want, and do the research I want, as long as it is following right scientific methods. I may even think of multidisciplinary research where I can learn other disciplines and integrate them in my research. Science is all about curiosity and continuous learning and exploring.


I am not from CS field, but in general if you are using different tools to address the same / similar research problem, then this should be more than in OK. Even if you think about how you present a job-talk: you can show your results of Phd, to explain why some questions could not be answered and what you did by applying other set of tools. In general, when you switch, I would suggest to think how the themes of Phd and postdoc can be linked in some, even not perfect way. It is not forbidden to have completely two research directions in PhD and postdoc, but you might benefit if you can show that they are related somehow (e.g., you might present yourself as a stronger expert with more publications).

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