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I am a finishing doctoral student (graduation in ~7-9 months) and I would love to get an year or so of postdoctoral experience. I've come to understand that a postdoc is generally paid by funds created for the project (s)he is a postdoc for.

How should I go about "growing my own" postdoc opportunity? In other words, how should I go about soliciting for funds for research ideas? I know it is a rather daunting task. Although I have participated in writing several proposals (some of which were accepted), I have never been the PI or co-PI for any of those projects -- generally just one of the grad students working on it.

I am at a US university and have already taken at look at NSF's website.. Being an international student, I don't have all the options available to domestic candidates.

This is what I've thought of so far:

  1. Come up with feasible research idea and approach advisor.
  2. Discuss idea and possible collaborations.
  3. Try to categorize it into NSF's or any other funding agencies categories.
  4. Write a proposal in the summer and submit it during the next window of opportunity.

Any pointers, tips or funding agencies I might also look at?

Some background: I am a PhD candidate in Mechanical engineering with emphasis on fluid dynamics, applied mathematics, energy systems and space systems.

1 Answer 1

There are a few programs, such as the Newton Fellowships and the Humboldt Fellowship which are designed expressly for international researchers; however, those programs are based out of the UK and Germany, respectively. There is also the Fulbright Program which offers opportunities for students and scholars to come to the US. These may or may not be applicable.

However, this is largely a "chicken-and-egg" problem; coming from abroad, you won't be able to apply for your own money at US agencies (except ones sponsoring programs like the Fulbright). So the logistics of this might be very challenging to coordinate.