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Hi I am doing a phd in theoretical computer science, and will be finishing this year and applying to postdocs for Fall 2016. I am an American, but for various reasons would like to study in Europe. Ideally the professors I am interested in would have postdoc funding available, but since that is often not the case, are there any grants/fellowships that cover postdoc salaries available for americans studying in europe? Are there other funding options I'm missing? Am I correct to assume that in europe like in America one gets postdoc funding from the professor (or from a grant), not from the department as a whole? As you can see, I know little about how funding works in Europe!

In case the answer to my question is country specific, the countries that I am most strongly considering so far are Germany and Switzerland.

Thanks for your help!

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UK is definitely of the 'professor has funding' variety of post-docs. However, there are also Fellowships. This is funding intended for a researcher doing their own research and there are programs specifically for Early Career Researchers. For example, there are Fellowships available through the EU Horizon 2020 program, see http://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/ (note - extremely competitive) and through the various discipline funding councils, I think computer science would be https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/ and the fellowship info is at https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/skills/fellows/overview/.

You can also try organisations such as Fullbright.

A couple of other points - you should be clear about what you expect. I see lots of comments here about postdocs being training positions. This has not been my experience, I have had little supervision and no training. If you want training, you would be best off to join a project that involves several people, or seek a Fellowship with a training component. Also, make sure you are on the email / forum lists for academic communities that interest you, this seems to be where a lot of post-docs are advertised.

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First, recall that Europe is not a country or a monolithic block: this means that though there might not be funding opportunities at the European level, individual countries or universities might have agreements with the US or with specific US universities for the exchange of researchers.

Ideally the professors I am interested in would have postdoc funding available, but since that is often not the case,

You don't specify the duration of the postdoc position: for a typical duration of 1 yr, it should not be too difficult to find a professor with funding available.

Am I correct to assume that in europe like in America one gets postdoc funding from the professor (or from a grant), not from the department as a whole?

This is certainly correct for Italy, where I work, but it is also probably correct for many other European countries.

Take also into account that the time needed to open a postdoc position, even with funding available, can vary among countries (for instance, the time needed to open a post-doc position in Italy is around a few months).

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