I have recently completed a post-doc and am currently unemployed. However, I am doing the same activities as before, mostly writing and publishing papers that resulted from my postdoc. Obviously, I am not getting paid and am not under contract from my previous institution. I am also doing some freelance work, just a few hours a week, for a private company which is however not known in academic circles and is a very small company. So I don't see any large benefit in listing myself as a freelancer for such company. Just listing freelancer people might be wondering what kind of freelance and it would not make sense for academics.

What are my options to show that I am still active in research and that it makes sense for academics reading my CV in a grant application?

Should I list my current position as a "consultant" for my ex-institution? People know that there's not such thing in academia and might be wondering and why I am not a "post-doc".

  • 1
    I am curious to see what will the SE:academia world will answer. In real life it is totally acceptable to be unemployed and/or to have short spells working in totally unrelated areas: only rich people can dedicate themselves to the higher good of research and science as unpaid worker for their former professors/supervisors/departments.
    – user149718
    Dec 20, 2021 at 18:02
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    You should not be working for free. Dec 20, 2021 at 18:13
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    @AzorAhai-him- Completing one's own papers is not "working for free". Dec 20, 2021 at 18:20
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    @lighthousekeeper It is if you're not getting paid for it. Dec 20, 2021 at 18:28
  • Are you writing grant applications in order to be employed again by some university in case of success, or are you planning to continue the way it is now? Dec 21, 2021 at 7:52

1 Answer 1


Independent researcher. Under this label, you can summarize the completion of your own papers from the previous job, and the consulting work.

  • I am not totally convinced, researcher financed by whom? Dec 21, 2021 at 8:24
  • 2
    @HermanToothrot The word independent spins the fact that one does not have a main employment in a positive way. Dec 21, 2021 at 8:53

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