I was invited for a postdoc presentation of 10 minutes. The title of the presentation is "Challenges and Opportunities in problem Z". The email didn't give any other information whether I should give a research plan or my future ambitions during the position. Is a bad idea if include a specific research plan?

Context behind my question:

From my understanding, challenges and opportunities in problem Z means I should talk about the different (perhaps potential) research directions in studying problem Z. This could mean I can stay general without proposing a research plan to work on a specific area. In another postdoc interview, the panel told me that they were hoping for a general research plan and not something specific.

1 Answer 1


Given that 10 minutes is very short, a quick mention about aspects for which you do have some ideas would be in order. But be prepared for questions about details if there is a follow up question period. You needn't spend much time on this.

However, if you have special expertise and interest in some particular aspect, then spending a couple of minutes outlining your ideas might be good to do.

In any case, spend some time/words on those aspects of the problem that appeal to you and that you would like to explore further, giving any quick insights you might have. But don't oversell yourself. They have probably thought about this more than you have and you don't want to give naive/facile explanations.

  • I find the suggestion that the OP's insight on the topic is going to be naïve or facile rather discouraging. Mar 27, 2021 at 17:59
  • @astronat, I didn't mean to imply that it would be, but only that it must not appear to be. Don't lose track of the experience of the interviewers. And be sure your answers are supportable. Don't oversell was the important message.
    – Buffy
    Mar 27, 2021 at 18:01
  • Thank you for your answer. Judging from the title of the presentation, do you think there's time to talk about my self and how I fit in the project? Or should I keep it focused on research in studying in problem Z?
    – U. User
    Mar 30, 2021 at 10:31

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