A friend of mine went straight from his PhD in computational (pharmaco)chemistry to an investigator position, and I have heard an unconfirmed second-hand story of one other person recently making this transition in a life science related area. But by and large, most PI jobs require that you have done at least one postdoc, and the suggestion of people skipping this stage entirely seems like an urban myth. Historically, however, a PhD degree is itself enough for an academic position, and in several fields (most notably the humanities) this is still the case.
By requesting applicants to do one or more postdocs, the need for them is propagated further, but the NIH is now trying to break the mold by introducing a grant specifically meant to skip your postdoc. They describe it as follows:
“Although traditional post-doctoral training is likely most appropriate for the majority of new Ph.D.s and M.D.s, there is a pool of talented young scientists who have the intellect, scientific creativity, drive and maturity to flourish independently without the need for traditional post-doctoral training. Reducing the amount of time they spend in training would provide them the opportunity to start highly innovative research programs as early in their careers as possible. “
Of course, this still requires them to find an institute that will hire them without the ubiquitously desired “postdoctoral research experience”, but arriving at the door with an NIH grant under your belt should help.
The deadline for this new grant is this Friday. Are any of you applying? What do you think of this idea? Let us know via the poll below.
(poll closed and archived)