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Looking for a STEM Position Outside the U.S.

Where to Look for Job Listings

A good starting point is to look at the social media accounts and websites of international professional societies. Typically every American research association has a thematically similar regional or international counterpart with job boards for that region or country. For example, those who follow the American Chemical Society can also look to the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) or Pacifichem (Pacific Basin/Oceania).

Here are some other places to look:

  • The Fulbright program, run by the U.S. State Department, offers short-term opportunities to conduct research or study abroad
    • Student Program: for graduate students to pursue their studies or conduct research abroad for 1 year
    • Specialist Program: pairs U.S. researchers with host institutions abroad to develop institutional linkages and collaborations
  • UK Research & Innovation has an international page that lists opportunities for non-UK researchers across the nine UK research councils
  • The Max Planck Society career page pools all funding & employment opportunities across the society’s 86 different institutes in Germany
  • Fraunhofer’s career page pools fellowship and employment positions across its 72 applied-research institutes in Germany (also check out the Fraunhofer Attract program)
  • China’s Thousand Talents Program aims to recruit international graduate students, postdocs, and young professionals to work at Chinese research centers, universities, and in tech industries
  • Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science has an extensive postdoc program (68% of their current postdocs are international)
  • The Human Frontier Science Program has postdoctoral fellowships at research institutions across the 38 member countries
  • Japan’s Society for the Promotion of Science has a page dedicated to opportunities for international grad students, postdocs, and professionals
  • The Helmholtz Association has 19 research centers in Germany that conduct research in 6 areas: energy, earth & environment, health, key technologies, matter and aeronautics
  • The Canadian government’s page that is dedicated to opportunities for international citizens has resources on funding, visas, and professorships
  • EURAXESS Jobs lists positions from all EU countries; it’s job board typically has 10,000+ positions at any given time
  • The European Research Commission has a resource page for non-EU researchers that includes information on grants, postdoctoral fellowships, and collaborative opportunities with European research centers
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency, run by the UN, has internship, fellowship, and junior professional programs for graduate students and recent PhD graduates
  • The Australian Research Council has 2 grant programs (Linkage & Discovery) open to international researchers
  • The Humboldt Foundation has fellowships that allow international researchers to work with a “host” collaborator at one of its centers in Germany

Some Other Considerations

There are a few potential risks associated with taking a position abroad temporarily, especially if you are interested in pursuing a tenure-track career. For example, leaving the country for an extended period of time can limit your opportunities to network with prominent U.S.-based scholars, and hiring committees in the United States sometimes look upon institutions in other countries as less prestigious—potentially making it harder for you to obtain a tenure-track job when you return. Be sure to discuss your options with your adviser and other people that you trust in your field.

It’s also important to be aware of differences in cultural norms (e.g., greetings, etiquette) and professional norms (e.g., resume formatting, listing references). A helpful framework to assess cultural norms is Hofstede’s Insights, which allows you to compare countries on cultural dimension axes such as power distance, uncertainty avoidance, and collective vs. individualistic thinking. Many countries use different terminology for stages within academia and have tenure systems different than that in the U.S. For example, the following research stages are commonly used in Europe:

  • First stage researcher (R1): up to point of PhD
  • Recognized researcher (R2): PhD holders or equivalent not yet fully independent
  • Established researcher (R3): independent researchers
  • Leading research (R4): those leading their research area or field

R1 research in the U.S. has a very different meaning.

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