When one applies for an academic position (especially for a permanent one) or for a significant funding, (s)he is often asked to show his/her professional maturity in research in the motivation letter/research proposal (or sometimes one is asked to indicate how (s)he would reach this maturity).

The questions is: what are the signs of professional maturity in research that might be mentioned?

My background is theoretical mathematics but the question has little to do with a particular field as usually the positions and funding in question are for researchers from a broad range of scientific areas.

2 Answers 2


Signs of professional maturity in a researcher:

  • Having written and administered a grant proposal
  • Having been invited to sit on a review panel
  • Having been an invited speaker
  • Having guided or mentored students
  • Having organized a conference session
  • Having published a review paper
  • A list like this is indeed what I wanted to see. Concerning the last item -- you mean just a paper in a peer-reviewed journal or a paper that is itself a review on another paper/book?
    – demitau
    Sep 5, 2015 at 21:51
  • 1
    Glad it's helpful. I mean an article in a peer-reviewed journal that gives a comprehensive overview of a particular area of research. Sep 5, 2015 at 21:53
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    An ambitious list indeed. I may not recall this as he 'sign of maturity' for a researcher but rather the 'peak of maturity'.
    – Ébe Isaac
    Sep 6, 2015 at 5:51
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    @ÉbeIsaac - Right! These are definitely things that "might be mentioned"! Sep 6, 2015 at 6:30

Independent research done. I.e., not as part of a guided thesis, not as a junior member in a research group or postdoc. Number of publications as sole author, or at least publications with a variety of coauthors (not just a flurry of papers with the advisor).

More broadly, all research is relevant, the more the merrier; but I'd stress the above points when evaluating proposals (or a colleague for promotion).

I'd say just go for it. Show all you have. If they reject your proposal, you can certainly use it to build the next one. If you don't apply, I'll guarantee you won't get it.

  • Concerning the text I am working on right now I can not just put everything I have -- there are severe page limitations, everything should be precisely in its place and there is a separate CV section so I would not just copy from it.
    – demitau
    Sep 5, 2015 at 16:16
  • @demitau, concentrate on the points I mention. Could also ask for precisions.
    – vonbrand
    Sep 5, 2015 at 17:04

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