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Pooja Sharma : indian post-doctoral researcher

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Discover her career path and her advice for finding a postdoctorate position

2017 - 2019 : from Master’s to PhD

After completing a bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) at Amity University in India, Pooja got a scholarship in 2017 to come to France and pursue a Master’s degree. She studied General Physics for one year at University Paris-Saclay before specialising in Astrophysics for the second year at Aix-Marseille University. Low tuition fees compared to the USA or Canada were her principal reason for choosing France for her studies.

Her ambition to become an Astrophysicist led her to enrol in doctoral research at the Irène Joliot-Curie 2 Infinite Physics Laboratory (IJCLab) in Paris , for which she was granted a doctoral fellowship from the PHENIICS (Particles, Hadrons, Energy, Nuclei : Instrumentation, Imaging, Cosmos et Simulation) doctoral school. She successfully defended her thesis in 2023.

During her Ph.D, Pooja was involved in several international conferences and had the opportunity to join the Careers and Doctors CentraleSupelec (CARaDoc) association as a member. Thanks to this association, she built her professional network that led to her post doctorate in Strasbourg.

2023 - present : post-doctoral experience

Pooja obtained a post doctoral position at the Strasbourg Astronomical Observatory (ObAS) in May 2023. She is working on a project funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme which aims to expand the functionalities of the statistical multi-wavelength cross-matching software created by a project called ARCHES FP-7, making it more powerful and useful for scientists studying the universe.

Until the end of her post-doctorate in 2025, Pooja wants to develop her expertise and her network by also taking part in international research visits.

In parallel, to gain further experience, she is planning on getting involved in teaching. As part of the Capentries project - of which the University of Strasbourg is a member organisation -, she intends to teach coding and data science skills during/at software carpentry workshops.

Career goals

Pooja’s long term goal is to find a position in France as a full time researcher in Astrophysics.

Why choose to stay in France ? France offers the life balance she was hoping for. Furthermore, she is learning French and has a nice working environment at the University of Strasbourg. Leaving would mean starting all over again, including learning a new language. Meanwhile, she is considering applying for French citizenship to avoid the need to renew her residence permit, as India does not yet allow dual nationality.

Why not choose the private sector ? Pooja is aware of her two options between the private sector and the academic sector. Nevertheless, transitioning to the private sector would mean leaving astrophysics, the field she is passionate about. Although positions could be more stable in the private sector, she wants to continue doing astrophysics research.

Advice for researchers seeking post-doctoral contracts

  • Importance of networking: networking is an important resource for finding recruiters looking for young researchers (networking events, conferences, associations of doctoral and post-doctoral researchers, etc.);
  • Use of Internet and emails to find opportunities: opportunities are not always made public, although professionals may be interested into recruiting post-doctoral researchers. Depending on the field, look for and contact the organisations you are interested in, as they may also be interested!
  • Look for special fellowships for international researchers: special fellowships exists, and they are offered by various organisations, institutions, governments, and foundations around the world. They can provide funding for post-doctoral positions ;
  • Learn French: learning French is always an advantage when applying for a post-doctorate in France and demonstrate one’s desire for integration.