I am in the third year of my PhD in computer science and I'm graduating in a year and three months. I'm no longer interested in the research that I'm doing in my PhD and I'd like to switch to another computer science subfield for my postdoc.

In particular, I have a research idea that I would like to pursue in another lab. Why another lab? Because this new field is a bit interdisciplinary and involves not only computer science. My goal is to join a lab where I can learn new skills related to the other discipline. So, I have a defined career plan as well since my goal is to become an expert in this new field. I believe that choosing the right supervisor/group is a great opportunity to learn these skills and also to join the research community of this new field.

At the moment I have found two possible supervisors that do research on this problem and they could be interested in my research idea. I'm also considering that I'd like to stay in Europe.

I wanted to ask you how you would approach the potential supervisor.

I'd like to send a short email to one of the potential supervisors by introducing briefly who I am and what the research topic is about. I'd attach my cv. Since they don't know me and they don't know my current supervisors, how could I maximize his attention? What would you suggest? One of the supervisors wrote a position paper that discusses this problem and I thought to mention this paper in the email and link it to my research idea. I was really able to find him thanks to this paper that he wrote.

I'd be ready to write a grant proposal in the case they don't have money. I know that this is something that every supervisor desires. In this case what you would do? I'm a bit worried that working at the same time on both the research proposal and my PhD thesis can be hard and risky for both. Also, what if I write the research grant and it is not successful, should I find another random postdoc and try again the next year?

Another question is about the right time to start doing this. I thought that 12 months in advance might help both me and the potential supervisor so that we can plan funding in advances. Is 12 months a good time?

Should I also ask for suggestions to my current supervisor? He doesn't know yet what my plans are for the future.

Any similar experience would be welcomed.


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