A PhD is not enough... How to prepare for a career in academia

venerdì 15 gennaio 2021, ore 17.30
Scuola Superiore di Catania
Su piattaforma Microsoft Teams


Interviene: Petra Rudolf
University of Groningen, The Netherlands
President of the European Physical Society

Maria Rosaria Maugeri
Presidente Scuola Superiore di Catania

Maria Grazia Grimaldi
Direttrice Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia
Università degli Studi di Catania

Interverrà il Magnifico Rettore Prof. Francesco Priolo


ABSTRACT: The first step after the PhD towards a permanent job in academia is a temporary one, namely becoming a postdoctoral research fellow. I shall discuss what a young researcher needs to achieve in her/his postdoctoral period and what consequently s/he has to consider in making his/her choice where to go (place, topic, type of supervisor,...).
After one or two postdoc appointments it will be time to go for the second step, a tenure track assistant professorship. Now not only the scientific productivity is an important criterion, but the selection committee will want to know about teaching experience, whether the candidate has been the daily supervisor of bachelor’s, master’s and PhD students and if s/he has ever attracted any funding, done any outreach or done anything to serve/influence the community in his/her field. They might also like it if the candidate has already been distinguished with a prize. I shall give tips on what a young researcher at the PhD and postdoc level can do to acquire experience and skills in all these areas.
In the last part of my talk I shall discuss how to prepare for the application for a tenure track assistant professorship, what is important in the negotiation if chosen and what to pay attention to in the first months on the job.
For extra info I recommend two books:
“Survival Skills for Scientists” by Federico Rosei and Tudor Johnston
“A PhD is not enough” by Peter J. Feibelman if you want to spend part of your career in the USA.
And a good guide for grant proposal writing:
“Art of Grantmanship” by Jack Kraicer, on https://www.hfsp.org/node/5761 gives an outline of what to do from 1 year before the deadline until the actual grant proposal submission


SHORT BIO: Petra Rudolf was born in Munich, Germany. She studied Physics at the La Sapienza, University of Rome, where she specialized in Solid State Physics. In 1987 she joined the National Surface Science laboratory TASC INFM in Trieste for the following five years, interrupted by two extended periods in 1989 and 1990/1991 at Bell Labs in the USA, where she started to work on the newly discovered fullerenes. In 1993 she moved to the University of Namur, Belgium where she received her PhD in 1995 and then quickly moved from postdoctoral researcher to lecturer and senior lecturer before taking up the Chair in Experimental Solid State Physics at the University in Groningen in 2003.  Her principal research interests lie in the areas of condensed matter physics and surface science, particularly molecular motors, 2D solids, organic thin films and inorganic-organic hybrids. She has published >250 peer-reviewed articles and 32 book chapters.
Dr. Rudolf is the President of the European Physical Society; she was the President of the Belgian Physical Society in 2000/2001 and was elected member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering, honorary member of the Italian Physical Society, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Lid van verdienst of the Dutch Physical Society and Fellow of the American Physical Society. For her work on molecular motors she received the 2007 Descartes Prize of the European Commission. In 2013 she was appointed officer of the Order of Orange Nassau by H.M. Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands.

Per informazioni: ssc@unict.it