Many PhD graduates travel to another country for their postdoc, but a lot of government grants in host countries are unavailable to international applicants – even if they’re already in the country on a study or work permit. That means you have to rely on your supervisor’s lab grant, which limits your choice of lab to those that can afford you. An external grant increases your chances of finding a postdoc lab abroad, so it’s worth trying to get one.
I had a look, and it seems that there are three main sources of external funding for international postdocs:
1.) Grants set up to promote international exchanges and collaborations.
There are several sources of funding that support the general cross-border exchange of information. Here are a few that are relevant to postdocs in the life sciences.
The Wellcome Trust supports fellows who want to work in particular countries.
The Human Frontier Science Program has postdoc grants specifically for postdocs moving to a new country to broaden their research.
EMBO has fellowships available for postdocs moving either to or from a member state of the EMBC
The American Association of University Women offers funding to female international graduate students and postdocs who want to work in the US:
For international postdocs wanting to work in Europe, the European Commission has funds available.
2.) Charities that support disease-specific biomedical research
Unlike tax-funded government agencies, donor-supported medical charities often don’t restrict grant eligibity to citizens or visitors of a particular country. They just want the best researchers to find a cure or treatment for the disease or disorder they represent. These charities are too numerous to list, but the National Postdoc Association (of the US) has a page where you can download a spreadsheet with many of the US-based charities. They also have other information for international postdocs in the US. If you’re in another country, you may want to search for charities in that country that relate to the work you’re interested in.
3.) Grants from your host country
Some countries encourage young scientists to work abroad for a few years, and then return with their new-found knowledge. If this funding is available to you, these are likely to be government grants from your country of citizenship or country of (permanent) residence, so check with your home country.
A list of some of these funds – as well as other sources of funding for international postdocs – can be found on the EMBL website, under “other potential sources…”.
That was all I could find, but if you know of any other sources of funding for international postdocs, please leave a comment below.