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This page may be helpful if you're a postdoctoral researcher* who eventually wants to be principal investigator (PI) of your own lab, most likely as a faculty member at an academic institution.*For our purposes, we assume that you have already joined a mentor's lab.Speaking of being proactive, see if you can contribute to writing an initial draft of a grant application or progress report that your mentor is going to submit.
The following programs provide either direct (i.e., from NSF) or indirect (i.e., from an awardee institution) funding for students at this level or identify programs that focus on educational developments for this group such as curricula development, training or retention.
A research plan is more than a to-do list for this week in lab, or a manila folder full of ideas for maybe someday—at least if you are thinking of a tenure-track academic career in chemistry at virtually any bachelor’s or higher degree–granting institution in the country.
Your mentor will have experience with both, as well as receiving grants, and can therefore provide valuable insight to help you.
If you're at a point where you're ready to apply for a grant of your own, consult with your mentor to choose an appropriate grant type (e.g., fellowship, career development award).
Your opinion about your rights to these items may differ from your mentor’s.
Set mutually acceptable expectations up front to avoid confrontation later.
Here we give you information on ways to prepare so you can reach your destination.
To grow as a researcher and get the foundation you need for independence, you'll have to reap as much as possible from your mentor,* who is your adviser, advocate, critic, and instructor.
See below for more information about the kind of grants that are suitable for postdocs.
Lastly, as you get close to the end of your postdoctoral training, have a frank discussion with your mentor about the ideas, data, and resources (e.g., reagents, cell lines, animals) you’d like to take with you when you start your own lab.