I've a teaching position in an engineering college in France since September 2021, and in a few years' time I'd like to get either a research-only or a mixed research and teaching position. With that in mind, I'm trying to get some research done in the fields of statistical/theoretical machine learning, although my ideal research domain is in the intersection of differential geometry and statistics, e.g. manifold learning, dimensional reduction, aspects of medical imaging or computer vision where one needs to do statistics/ML on manifolds etc, and my PhD was in pure math (in 2013).
Problem I'm facing: The problem I'm facing is that I'm in no way connected to the research part of the academia, so I don't get to travel to conferences. Also, my doctoral supervisor is a pure mathematician, and it's different from what I do now. My postdoc supervisor doesn't reply to my emails. I can't go to conferences, because I can't afford to pay hundreds of Euros to go there - normally these fees are covered by the research lab one is part of. I had a failed time in industry lasting for four years, and this made me totally isolated from academic research, that I truly love and want to get into.
Steps taken: I've reached out to several researchers in France telling them that I'd like to voluntarily be part of a project (without any position or payment), but never got a reply. I guess the reason is that they don't know me, so they don't feel like sharing the credits of a potential research article with a stranger. My postdoc supervisor ignored my emails. I've presented my work in an online seminar in a research group in front of a few people, that got decent feedback, but nothing enough to move things ahead - e.g. they had a postdoc position available, but they chose someone they knew although they considered my profile very good - something I'm tired of hearing and yet ultimately getting defeated by the candidates already known to the lab people.
Question: I understand that I'll have to streamline my research and get myself published if I'd like to get a research position someday. But given the above, what can I do to get my research started again that actually is in the interest of one of the research labs? I'm doing some research on my own, but I'm afraid that this won't be enough to get me where I want to go. Any leads will be appreciated with sincere appreciation!
Thank you very much!!