Postdoctoral Researcher Expectations in the Caldeira Lab


As a postdoctoral researcher in the Caldeira Lab, your main responsibility will be to perform research, and write and publish high-impact papers in leading peer-reviewed publications. As most of our efforts involve collaboration, you are also expected to constructively interact with other group members and professional colleagues.


We all want to have an enjoyable and stimulating work environment and get some good high-impact (or otherwise valuable) papers out the door. 


I want my postdocs to be doing what they want to do. My goal is to hire people whose self-interests are well aligned with my self-interests: Postdocs are free to work on nearly anything within the range of possibility afforded by our available resources, but it is their responsibility to persuade me that what they want to work on is interesting and important, and to entrain me into their project. 


The initial appointment, in the absence of further action, is limited to one year. However, before three months have passed, an evaluation is made of the needs, contributions and abilities of both you and the Carnegie Institution, and a decision made regarding whether the terms of this position should be modified. Another review occurs before six months have passed. Should the position be available for more than a year, your job performance would be evaluated semi-annually. Evaluation criteria will include the professionalism, sophistication, efficiency, and collegiality with which you conduct your research. 


A metric for success of the group as a whole is the degree of success that former postdocs have in achieving their career aspirations. For a postdoc to have good chance of career success in academia, a good target is getting two good first author papers out each year, while contributing as co-author on other projects. Of course, quality trumps quantity, so fewer better papers is better than more not-so-good papers.


Postdocs are encouraged to let me know if there is anything I can be doing that will help them be more successful.


Ken Caldeira

22 Jan 2016