PhD in Progress Podcast

PhD 021: Post-doctoral Life and the European Experience with Aleksandra Badura

August 19th, 2015

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This week we talk to Aleksandra Badura, a neuroscience post-doctoral researcher at Princeton University about the post-doc life and differences between the US and European PhD programs.

(This episode was recorded a LONG time ago. We have all since defended and will catch up on the

  • Coming to the US from Europe to be a post-doctoral researcher
  • The “importance” of brand when accepting positions
  • Choosing a post-doc laboratory
  • Parallels between business world and academia
  • Job security
  • Applying for fellowships is vital for success in research fields
  • Differences between European counties and US in PhD training
    • Fewer courses in PhD program in Europe
    • Masters degree (~2 years) is mandatory before pursuing a PhD
    • Fewer European programs have a rotation system
    • Work/life balance
  • Considering starting a family
  • There is no magic end point to your career

Do you have more questions about being a post-doc? Get in touch with us by emailing or leaving a comment on

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[Episode Card Image adapted from Flickr User Moyan Brenn‘s Image]


Hi!  I was so excited to see a new update!  I get that you folks are busy, but it always makes me happy when there's a new episode.  I would be really excited to hear about postdocs for social science Ph.D.s, since we don't have the same kind of lab structure, so it's very different.

PhD in Progress Podcast
PhD in Progress Podcast moderator

@LauraHeath Thanks Laura! And YES, we very much plan on expanding into the scary world of humanities and social sciences. It has been a goal for a long time but first we went with what we knew. Thankfully, we have some friends like Fatimah PhD who are willing to share their knowledge and experiences as social sciences PhDs. 

Are there any particularly pressing issues you'd like listening about?


@PhD in Progress Podcast @LauraHeath Great!  I'm interested in hearing about people's "alternative" career paths, since most of us don't have the option of going into industry.  I think it would also be interesting to talk about adviser relationships.  In my field, people aren't generally funded by their adviser's grants, and there are very few research assistant positions - which leaves adviser relationships wide open in terms of possibilities.  I have an awesome relationship with my adviser, but in my cohort, people have had a ton of different experiences.  Maybe something about what to look for in an adviser, what red flags to watch out for, how to establish clear boundaries, what resources are available if your adviser is exploitative?  My younger self and the younger selves of my cohort-mates would've appreciated that coming in!