I am a physical science PhD student and after completed my PhD I would like to work as a postdoc in a second, specific, university's research group.

Therefore, I would like to start making some networking with this new group, e.g. by contacting the director OR any academic with same research interests as me, explaining my PhD project and eventually involve he/she in a possible research which will lead to a paper together. This would mean visiting that particular university, meet the staff, spend some time working with them, etc..

The point is that my actual PhD supervisor seems not so keen to these kind of connections for whatever reason (possibly because he imagines my final aim?) and therefore I feel worry to talk with him about this subject because I already know his answer, i.e. No.

I believe that starting early (i.e. during a PhD) making connections with this (or any other) research group would be better for me, instead of contacting them after e.g. my PhD thesis submission or Viva, but I don't want to ruin the relation with my PhD supervisor.

In your opinion, what should I do?

1) Should I impose to him my choice to contact and hopefully work with this particular group, because it is my PhD project but possibly ruining the relation


2) Wait until the end of my PhD (I am a 1st year) and tell him to write for me a letter of recommendation for a postdoc job in that group


other options?

In any case he will know my decision.


  • 2
    Later in your PhD career it's natural to look for the next thing, but doing so in your first year seems a bit odd. Establishing a (new) collaboration between labs right out of the gate could be seen as either bold or foolish...
    – Nick T
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


If your advisor doesn't think it is a good idea then you should trust him (this is part of his job, to advise you, after all).

You're just starting out so get your own projects going before trying to connect with another group. In a year or so if you're still interested you could bring this up to your advisor again. You could always attempt to meet people from the other group casually at a conference or something.

Short answer: Listen to your advisor, especially so early in your career.

  • "If your advisor doesn't think it is a good idea then you should trust him", advisors are not all-knowing and some give terrible advice. My official supervisor was like that. His advice about my postdoc was the exact opposite to that what everyone else (also other profs) said. And the sad thing was that he was obviously talking about something he doesn't know but he just assumed I don't know either so he ran with it.
    – user64845
    Commented Dec 2, 2016 at 23:26

If you are a first year student, then you are putting the cart before the horse.

You have a very nice dream. Savor it as a dream for now.

A couple of years from now, attend a conference your target post-doc group is likely to attend, go to their talks and poster presentations, and introduce yourself.

Take things one step at a time.

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