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From the Northeastern Section of the ACS, focusing on career management and development
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09/18/12
Application for Government Positions. Application, Conversion and Promotion
Filed under: First Year on Job, Leadership, Post-docs
Posted by: site admin @ 10:31 am

Last week BNL Diktys Stratakis gave an outstanding
introduction to working in government labs. 

Government post-docs are roles where potential
scientists are interviewed over a longer period
in what he referred to as  a “feeder system”. 
There are a few grad students who work at national
labs but mostly permanent staff and post-docs
work on significant scientific and technical
problems like space launches, diseases and
security.

Since there are fewer students, it is challenging
to be in a position for many papers.  Performance
is observed and evaluated on weekly group
meetings.  It was quite interesting to learn of
the promotion ladder system at BNL:

  research associate, 2-3 years
  assistant scientist, 2-3 years
  associate scientist,
  scientist                   these two– max 5 years.
TENURE DECISION POINT

One of three results, namely tenured Senior
Scientist, Continuing appointment (without tenure)
and moving on.

To achieve tenure it is imperative
1.  be a leader in a project important to the department
2.  be known and respected outside your department
3.  author publications and be invited to present
talks.

He concluded that a person starting out in a position
should
   seek to work on important problems
   seek funding, be involved in discussions and writing
of proposals [to enable obtaining Continuing
appointments leading to Senior Scientist level]
   lead projects
   publish findings.

Earlier we have indicated what is involved in
applying for a post-doc position  1  .

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