It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for the next stage of their career. The major professor will provide valuable advice with this task, and ideally has already encouraged students throughout their time in the department to network with a large base of colleagues. In addition, major professors often learn of post-doctoral positions by word of mouth or through professional society websites or e-mails. The Graduate Student Advisor will also be clued in to many post-doctoral opportunities, so contact Michael Freitag ( with questions.

A much more active approach is when students subscribe to the appropriate e-mail bulletin boards where position announcements are posted (e.g. through the journal Science via the AAAS or other scientific societies). A third very effective approach is to find the appropriate post-doctoral fellowship agencies, contact professors directly and get them to agree to help write an independent fellowship proposal that will sponsor research in the professor’s lab. This is the best-case scenario, as new post-doctoral fellows will then bring their own funding upon arrival at the new lab. Many professors will be agreeable to take a post-doc for one year with the understanding that such independent applications must be written. All this must be planned well ahead of the actual date of receiving a Ph.D., at least nine months in advance of the targeted date of program completion, because the review cycles for all funding agencies run about six to nine months.

Potential sources for postdoctoral fellowships. Students should anticipate one to two months to prepare a decent proposal and six to nine months for review prior to potential funding. Start dates are usually flexible.



(Incomplete) list of agencies that support individual post-doc applications:

American Cancer Society
1599 Clifton Rd., NE

Atlanta, GA 30329-4251
Basic and cancer-related research

American Heart Association

American Lung Association

Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
131 East 36th Street

New York, NY 10016
Basic and cancer-related research

Helen Hay Whitney Foundation
450 East 63rd St.

New York, NY 10021-7928
Basic biomedical research, in USA only

Jane Coffins Childs

Life Sciences Research Foundation
Lewis Thomas Laboratories
Washington Rd.

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544
Research in biological sciences


Change in research direction
(2nd postdocs possible)

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America

National Institutes of Health

Intramual (at NIH):
US citizen or permanent resident only.

National Science Foundation
US citizen or permanent resident only.