So there I will be in about a year and a half: A PhD in my pocket, a few publications, a small network in academic circles. Then what? My brother-in-law JT is now a fairly succesfull young researcher in live stock genetic assessment (or something like that). He is working in Palermo together with his wife, after his studies in Wageningen.
J-T explained that if I want to become a scientist I basically have two options: (1) hire yourself out to someone who has money, most likely you get a post-doc position in some project, or (2) raise funding for your own research plans. Let me assume for a while that I do want to become a scientist, and not go back to the industry. Raising your own funds is the most attractive option.
It may not be the lazy route, but in the end, if you want to become a scientist you will have to start raising funds some day anyway. So why wait? Benefits of own funding are that you are more independent within a university, it improves your status and jumpstarts an academic career. In my imagination anyway. I do not know much about post-doc positions yet, so a better comparison will require some more input.
So, where can I get such funding? The most obvious financer I can think of is NWO. In a program to renew Dutch science they provide a Veni scholarship on a personal basis to freshly promoted researchers.
From their site: De Veni-subsidievorm biedt pas gepromoveerde onderzoekers de mogelijkheid om gedurende drie jaar hun ideeÃ«n verder te ontwikkelen. De subsidie bedraagt maximaal 208.000 euro. In 2007 zal 1 Veni-ronde plaatsvinden. De eerstvolgende deadline is 1 mei 2007.
You can however only apply when you have finished your PhD (up to max 3 years after that), or if you can hand in proof that your manuscript has been accepted by the committee. If you have a technical subject there is a special procedure (an extra utilisation paragraph). Alternatives for a Veni scholarship?