Finding my niche

I just started my new job* and the labs here are huge. Well that's maybe not true, but the hierarchy is much different than in the US. Every big lab is headed by a professor that has a couple (usually) assistant professors that work within that lab with their smaller labs. Meaning that there are lab meetings of both the big lab (full professor + assistant professors) and lab meetings of all the individual assistant professors and their lab members. And since my project is a collaborative project between two PIs that are not in the same big lab, I can literally go to multiple lab meetings every day of the week. Also, this means that almost every technique I can think of  is available, and could be used by everyone. To my US readers: this explains why there are usually so many authors on European papers, at least in my field. But that is not what I wanted to talk about.

What I am currently struggling with is that while thinking of new ideas for the fellowship I am applying to next, I need to find something that a) is in line with what the people around me do, so that it makes sense that I want to do this here b) is in line with what I did in my previous post-doc so it makes sense that I bring whatever awesome stuff that I do to this new place, c) is something that involves a thing that I can learn here, so the fellowship pays for me to learn a new (and cutting-edge) thing. And then I also need to make sure that subject-wise I am not too close to any of the assistant professors that work in either of the big labs that I am associated with**. It all feels like a difficult balancing act, but low and behold: I have a great new idea that includes all of the criteria above. Now I have to find the time to write it down in between finding my way around here and setting up all these new and awesome things I am going to do here...


*For those of you who haven't followed my blog for very long: I was a post-doc in the US, then I became a Research Associate in the US, and now I am a post-doc in my homecountry.

**First day at work and this senior scientist tells me:"We need to sit down and talk about what you are going to do here". Turns out, ze is planning to do something very related to what I had proposed in one of my unfunded grants...

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