I was wondering if I could get some advice about how to go about continuing my PhD project as a Postdoc. I'm actually from the UK not the US but I think that your answers and advice will still be applicable and really helpful.

So here's a bit of background about myself: I really enjoyed my Plant Science PhD, and even though I came out of it with more questions than when I went in, I managed to get two papers published in two very respectable journals (both of which are still cited today). At the time I wanted to get experience working in other fields, so after my PhD I found a Postdoc in a different research area of Plant Sciences; however, I didn't really enjoy this research area and due to unforeseen circumstances that were out of my control, I came out of it with only one paper, which I am still trying to finish. At the moment I'm employed in Science Services so for the first time in years, I am in a position where I can be choosy about my next job.

What I would like to do is apply for funding to continue my PhD project because I would like to get back into this area of research; I think with the new technologies that are available I could make a lot of interesting discoveries. My PhD supervisor has since retired and has given me his blessing to approach other researchers, and I assume I have to do this before I apply for funding. Is this correct?

I have no idea how to go about this and if it is even feasible, so any advice you can give me would be great.

Many thanks, Kate

  • May I ask how did you find your last Postdoc position?
    – Nobody
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 9:29
  • I just applied for an advertised Postdoc position on the University's website. That's the norm in the UK.
    – Kate
    Commented Nov 12, 2015 at 10:03
  • Take a look at my answer at this question: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/58020/… // By the way, I have the impression that there are a good number of Britishers participating here. Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


In the UK there might be one or two early career fellowship schemes that you could apply to. Some have restrictions on when you finished your PhD and require the hosting university to provide some percentage of the funding. They are competitive of course but it sounds like a good fit for your situation - you have a good idea and relevant experience and all you need is someone sensible enough to fund you.

  • Thanks for your answer Phil. Unfortunately it's been too long since my viva to be eligible for most Early Career fellowships, but after your comment I did a search and noticed that RCUK offers a grant for postdocs at whatever stage of their career (as long as they are not PIs). I may try applying to them.
    – Kate
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 10:26
  • that might depend whether or not you could justify your current job as a 'career break' of some kind from research. Some universities also have local schemes where you might be able to convince them to let you apply. At least for EPSRC, you have to be a full-time member of academic staff to apply for a grant, but if you can team up with one then you can be named as a researcher-co-investigator and win your own project like that.
    – Phil
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 13:23
  • I don't think I can justify it as a career break because really it was just due to some bad decisions on my part. Oh I didn't see that but to be honest since I'm not attached to a University I kind of thought that this would be the only way of getting the grant funded i.e. being named as a co-investigator and then applying for the project. I think I might approach some PIs that may be interested in the project as they may have better ideas of funding than I do. Plus they may know if there are any local schemes, as you suggested, that I may be able to apply for. Many thanks for your help
    – Kate
    Commented Nov 13, 2015 at 13:36

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