I'm in my last year of PhD (in the US studying biomathematics) and I didn't know how early I was supposed to start applying for postdocs. My main concern is funding. Apparently, the NSF postdoc grant is due in less than 30 days and the NIH F32 series is due in less than 2 months.

These grants all require research statements and some kind of sponsor statement. Since I haven't contacted anyone about postdocs, I can imagine a few routes of action:

  1. I quickly write a research proposal -> send it to potential postdoc advisors along with CV and application -> ask if they are willing to advise me + write a sponsor statement for me within 2 weeks or so
  2. Contact postdoc advisors now -> explain that grants are due in a month or so and ask if they want to quickly draft up something together

Which one is better? Finally, how many postdocs are funded by their own grant? How many are funded by PI's grant?

Of course I will speak to my PhD advisor about this asap.

1 Answer 1


I'd write to the potential advisors with your CV and a summary of the proposal. I don't know what the paper work is for these schemes, but I suspect they require a ~1 page summary or abstract. I'd write that as a token that you've thought about it and arn't just trying it on. You might find thought that the sponsoring institution has processes that must be gone through before they are allowed to sponsor people, and that these have deadlines earlier than the NSF/NIH deadlines.

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