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Sample postdoc research proposals, please !!!

Hi all,

It is very good to see postdoc jobs posted in imechanica .I want to apply for postdoc position in solid mechanics ,however, i have never written a postdoc research proposal.I dont know how it is different from statement of purpose that is required for a graduate research. 

I tried but could not find any sample postdoc research proposal on internet.

I would greatly help if anyone can send me his/her actual or sample postdoc research proposal 

Thanks and Regards,

Sonia Chopra 


My email address is

Zhigang Suo's picture

When you see an ad for a postdoc opening, usually the professor has in mind a specific project.  All you need to do is to send to the professor by email your CV, a list of your publications, and a short cover letter.  In the cover letter, you may state briefly why you believe that your past experience is a good fit for the project.  That is, you do not need to write a proposal to respond to a postdoc ad.  If your PhD advisor knows the professor, you may want to ask your advisor to write a message to the professor on your behalf.

What are major parameteres in selecting post-doc students?

I think relevance of last topic of research to new one must be more attended, but ...

Zhigang Suo's picture

It is hard to say what are major parameters in selecting postdocs.  Different people may have different parameters.  It might be more useful to know the process of hiring a postdoc.  Hiring a postdoc seemed to be very lightely regulated by the universities, as compared to recruiting a PhD student, or recruiting a junior faculty member.  Some universities may require that a postdoc position be advertized on a website, and that satistics of all applicants be reported along with the appointment.  The purpose of this regulation, I believe, is to ensure fairness and diversity.  But the practice does mean a lot of work to the employer for a position for only 1-2 years. 

It is entirely possible that personal connection between your PhD advisor and your future postdoc employer plays a more important role than regulation or even your CV.

Thanks for your input.As far as providing my resume and a cover letter stating what i have been studying/researching during my PhD,it is OK.However,my concern is: if the professor asks me to state what research i am planning to do at his end,that is difficult.Looking at his research area on his webpage,if i go too long detailing my big plans, i fear it may really not his research area .Or if i try to be very short and generic,then it may give him an impression that i dont have any active plans for research.Any comments on this will be appreciated.

One professor wrote to me :

It would be helpful
if you could provide not only your resume, but also a brief outline of
the research that you would propose to pursue if offered a



Adrian S. J. Koh's picture


Research is all about passion.  Your passion in a particular subject forms the motivation towards you pursuing it in a relentless fervor.  That said, it is always good for you to weigh your decision towards "who to work with", rather than "what to work on".  If the professor request that you write a proposal, give it a thought and draft a simple one (whatever that comes out of your mind), you may also wish to put in a cover letter or some notes to indicate your interest in working with him, on some general topics that he is working on.  Do not second guess what the prof "probably would find good".  I believe you certainly have true interest in what that prof is doing, your interest and passion would certainly come through in a sincere write-up.

Finally, as Zhigang has said, reference helps. 

Good luck. 

Adrian KSJ


I can not find what I am trying to find here in iMechanica,

thank you

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