I'm a PhD student in the US and am looking for a postdoc position for the next year. I'm reaching out to a few PIs I've been interested in working with.
There's one PI I'm really interested. This PI is in the field A, while I'm in the field B. But I saw the potential of common interests and thought that this person would help me gain a new perspective and skills during my postdoc training. I also asked if she would be willing to support grant writing or fellowship application which is due in a month. (I know this is a short deadline, but this is the only fellowship I’d be eligible for and I was desperate..)
The PI replied to my email saying that we share a lot of common research interests, and she has always been interested in my field B and think that my PhD training in field B could contribute to her lab.
However, she wrote that she's not available for co-writing a grant or my application for a postdoctoral fellowship this year (listing other tasks that will keep her busy). And she mentioned that "with earlier preparation, we could apply for the fellowship next year".
In addition, she suggested an alternative option. She recommended co-writing a grant with an assistant professor in the field B who has been recently hired in their department. Her suggestion is that once the new professor and I secure a grant, she can collaborate with me.
However, the thing is that I'm not super interested in working with the new assistant professor whose research interests don't align with me very well.
My question: Do you think that the PI I contacted is not interested in working with me? Based on my impression from the email, I feel that she's not enthusiastic about having me in her lab even though she said some nice things to be polite. Overall, I think that she doesn't want to invest much (either her time or resources) on getting me involved in her lab. Can I consider her response as a polite rejection?