For a normal research talk, people may only acknowledge collaborators in those presented projects.

Is it the same in a job talk for applicants for tenure-track positions?

Two considerations:

  1. I acknowledge (almost) everyone that I have worked before: Will it look weird?

  2. only acknowledge collaborators in those presented projects: Would it be viewed as a lack of independence with not much collaboration other than working with mentors?

P.S. Thank you for suggestions. How about my group members? should I also follow the rule that only acknowledge those related in presentation? e.g. I have 3 group members, one RA helped me many things on daily rounte so that I can have more time on research, one student do contribute something that I presented, but one did not.

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    you should refine the question. Not clear. Commented Jan 29 at 3:47

2 Answers 2


You might be overthinking this. Just avoid something embarrassing.

Naming everyone you worked with will be a little bit like an acceptance speech by a beauty queen who thanks everyone and be embarrassing, especially if they did not have anything to do with the presented topics. I would not recommend this.

People will appreciate a naming of your advisor. Also, you should attribute (maybe in the talk) contributions of other people.

At a job talk, people are evaluating you on whether they want you in their department. What exactly they are looking for is not known to you, and so you should not play mental games with yourself trying to guess it. They want you to be able to teach, so your talk better be understandable and you come across as a person who can hold students interest. They want you to be able to do research, usually independently, but sometimes with people who are looking for someone "to play with". You need to convey that you can do research on your own, but also that you have a research support network and are not a lonely wolf. But they are also realistic and will not expect you to satisfy them on all questions. This is why there is a round of interviews and this is why there is a dinner with the candidate.

Here is what I would do: Just make sure that you mention your advisor(s) if you present work in which your advisor(s) gave advice. Make sure that you indicate where you had collaborators. For example, list all of the authors of a paper in a footnote (together with the title of the paper) in the slides is a simple way to convey this message. Avoid using a long list of thanks at the end.

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    A less embarrassing way to acknowledge everyone is to have a slide with everyone's names and faces, and say a few words like "I often perform my research in collaborations. These are the collaborators that I had the pleasure to work with in my previous research. Particularly important was my advisor..." and so on. Commented Jan 29 at 12:47

You absolutely cannot fail to acknowledge people that contributed to the work you're presenting; you don't get to decide whether to do so or not based on how it makes you look.

I probably wouldn't go beyond acknowledging the people you worked with in the specific work presented. Acknowledging people when giving a talk should be about giving those people credit, not about name-dropping anyone you've met. That said, I know some people keep a slide of their major collaborators and students and then highlight specific people who worked on that specific project. That hasn't ever seemed strange to me, but I'd check your motivation: if your motivation is about appearances/looking a certain way, that's probably not a valid reasoning.

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