Recently, we received the following query through our “Ask a question” page. We have tried our best to put together a helpful answer, but if any readers can help with their thoughts we would love to hear them!
I am a physio and I have just finished my PhD in the UK. I am originally from Brisbane. I am starting to look at my options for post docs but I really want to work part-time as I have a nearly 1 year old and a 3 1/2 year old so I am probably not your typical post doc. We would really like to move back to Australia so the kids can have a taste of Aussie life but I am not sure really how to go about exploring postdoc options in Oz. I would really appreciate any hints or tips about how to go about it. Also, any idea about how likely it would be that there are part-time opportunities out there? All of the fellowships here in the UK tend to be full-time. I look forward to your replies.
Thanks for an interesting question! From my experience the best place to start exploring postdoctoral opportunities in Australia are websites such as http://www.researchjobs.net.au/ and http://www.unijobs.com.au/. Most universities in Australia advertise their vacant positions on these sites and there is an easy-to-use search filter to find part-time positions. In addition to this, many research universities and institutes advertise positions vacant through the jobs section of their website (for example: University of Queensland; University of Sydney; and Australian National University).
Apart from these more direct approaches, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) do offer two Early Career Fellowships on a part-time basis (Health Professional Research Training Fellowship and Australian Research Training Fellowships Part-time). Obviously these are quite competitive and require some time to write the application and plan a research project.
With regard to whether many part-time opportunities exist, I think unfortunately the competitive nature of research (fighting for grant money and to reach deadlines – as discussed in the previous post by Steve) leaves many institutes with a tendency to favour full-time, overworked postdocs. In saying that, there is starting to be a much needed interest in improving the position of women in science in Australia (see here for an official report). As many of us know, finding the right work-life balance is a big concern, especially with a young family such as yours! However, this issue will be the topic of an upcoming ICECReam post, so stay tuned to hear more about it.
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