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I'm preparing for a PhD interview and there is one question that I'm not too confident to answer, which is if they asked where do I see myself in 5-10 years or what I plan to do after my PhD.

I know I want to remain in science and do research in molecular biology, so I would do a Post Doc but I'm curious about it because I have heard that there are many levels of it but I'm not too sure what these are. Is there a list of them I could go through and see which suits me most? I'm sorry if this is confusing but I'm a bit clueless about it too.

Also during one of my interviews I was asked about becoming a lab leader. To be honest, right now, I feel that I won't ever be ready for that and I would prefer not becoming a lab leader although it seems like the very final step in the research career. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong but I have seen most lab leaders to be stuck with paperworks, applying for grants etc and they rarely ever work in the lab. My desire is to enjoy doing experiments and I feel that being a lab leader is such a huge responsibility. I kind of wish I could be a Post Doc... forever? Or maybe one day I might feel the need to have my own lab, but how to answer such question without putting yourself at disadvantage?

Many thanks for your help! I know I sounds like a naïve student with all these ideas (which might not be realistic), but because that's exactly what I feel like I am at the moment that I need to know anything relevant about further studies and Post Doc is still such a grey area for me. I know at some point it's all going to be a battle for money...

1 Answer 1

Get ready for the part where you stop doing most of the research and start fighting for the money to fund the people who do if you want to work as a professor. Other options are to find a pure research track and not teach (like I do). These positions are often follow a progression like Research Associate, Research Scientist, and Senior Research Scientist. Though, there's a fair amount of grant chasing and personnel management on this track, too, and no tenure so job security is based on winning grants regularly.