1What is the difference between a research statement for a job application,
and a research proposal for a postdoc application?
I am asked that question about once a month. Clearly it is the source of
much confusion so I’m happy to answer it here.
A research statement for a job is typically a two-to-four page document that
describes scholarship already accomplished, its contribution to a field or
fields, and any publications and talks deriving from the research. The
statement also describes your next planned project, and the grants, talks,
or publications already under way or out related to it. At The Professor Is
In, we impose a two-page limit for the humanities and social sciences, and
three pages for the hard sciences and for psychology (which is a field that
seems to favor longer research statements).
By contrast, a research proposal for a postdoctoral fellowship application
is, first and foremost, a proposal. You are proposing work to be completed
during the fellowship period. Now, since the postdoc is inherently oriented
toward someone who has just finished a Ph.D., the research being proposed
for the fellowship typically involves converting a doctoral dissertation
into a book manuscript or a series of articles. If it’s a multiyear
postdoctoral fellowship, the second or third year might be devoted to
research on a major, new project. (Before proceeding, let me clarify that I
am speaking here only about postdoctoral fellowship programs in the
humanities and social sciences. Those programs require specific proposals
that must follow stated guidelines on length and substance. But that is not
the norm in the sciences for postdoctoral applications to join ongoing work
in a lab).
Therefore, a research proposal for a postdoctoral fellowship application is
basically a grant proposal. How you describe your dissertation research and
publications-to-date in this fellowship proposal may be almost identical to
how you would describe them in a research statement for a job, but the way
you frame your description in the two documents will be different. Instead
of just laying out the facts about the work you’ve just finished, the
proposal will need to generate the conviction that this particular
scholarship is worthy of additional funding. One way to do that is using
what I call the hero-narrative approach (as outlined in this blog post: Dr.
Karen’s Foolproof Grant Template).
Beyond that, it is crucial to include a paragraph devoted to the “timeline
” of the work you are proposing.Specifically, what writing will you
complete and publish during the postdoc, on a month-by-month or term-by-term
basis? If there is a teaching element to the postdoc (it varies from
fellowship to fellowship), you must describe the course you propose to teach
, and how you’ll teach it; the course must relate directly to the theme of
It is also necessary to tailor each research proposal to demonstrate how you
will both contribute to (as a scholarly peer) and benefit from (still as a
scholarly peer, not a groveling quasi-graduate student) the community and
resources of the hosting department and university. Most important, your
proposal has to show how you will advance the stated mission and/or theme (
if there is one) of the fellowship program.
A research proposal will be as long as is dictated by the application
instructions. Sometimes all of the above needs to be accomplished in two
short pages; sometimes it can extend to 10. No matter how short or long the
application requires it to be, your proposal must include all of these
A hero-narrative framing of your dissertation research that will
motivate people to give you additional money for the work.
A sketch of your publications past and future.
A brief sketch of a second major project you’re planning -- if it is a
A compelling and thematically relevant proposed course you plan to teach
, if teaching is required by the postdoc.
A very specific timeline of work for the fellowship period.
Tailoring to the program mission of the hosting department and campus.
Those are the elements that constitute your competitive profile vis-à-vis
other candidates. If you have only two pages to work with, then each element
must be sharply reduced in length. None of them, however, should be omitted.
A research proposal for a fellowship is, therefore, a far more complex and
challenging document to write than a job-related research statement, which
is quite simple and straightforward. Where the statement is merely
descriptive, the proposal must demonstrate your ability to accomplish
research goals that are consistent with a particular mission, suited to the
institutional context, viable in the timeline, and compelling enough to
stand out competitively as worthy of funding.
- See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/820-research-statements-
3楼主是分享的karen的文章，the professor is in，她是人文出身
【在 H****y 的大作中提到】
: 我对fellowship这块没什么经验。关于research statement这块，你指的也是申请
4我觉得postdoc fellowship的proposal主要目的是表现你的scientific insight和
在说什么2）这个人有really interesting ideas。这就够了