Theoretical High Energy Physics Groups
Common Deadline for Postdoc Offers

The institutions signing this letter are listed below.  Also given below are answers to frequently asked questions and a list of postdoc job offers with exceptional deadlinesSend email to postdoc-agreementinsti.physics.sunysb.edu to add your institution as a signer of this letter, or to add a specific postdoc job to the list of exceptional deadlines (giving the reason for the exceptional deadline).  

An open letter to the theoretical physics community

June 1, 2007

In recent years, we have seen a growing number of early offers with short deadlines for high energy theory postdoctoral positions.  This year, the practice has become too widespread to be ignored.

We are worried that this practice is preventing young researchers from making a free and fair choice among their job opportunities.  And, while there may be some short term advantage for the institutions which do this, we believe it will have serious negative effects in the long run.

We should keep in mind that most of these positions are funded by agencies for the purpose of promoting the training of young scholars in theoretical physics.  That is, the positions are primarily for the benefit of the young researchers, rather than that of the institution that hires them.  From this point of view, it would be hard to defend any policy which denied to postdoctoral candidates the maximum possible choice among fellowships.  Note also that the problem is not with early offers per se, as long as the deadlines are reasonable.

Thus, we commit to make no postdoctoral offer for the fall of a given year, whose deadline for acceptance is earlier than January 7th of that year.  We urge all of our colleagues at other institutions to follow the same guidelines.

Please urge all institutions you are in contact with to join our pledge to set deadlines no earlier than January 7.

Signed by:

Nikita Nekrasov
Simons Center for Geometry and Physics
nikitainsti.physics.sunysb.edu

Daniel Friedan
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
friedanphysics.rutgers.edu

Michael E. Peskin
SLAC Theory Group
mpeskinslac.stanford.edu

Laurent Baulieu
LPTHE, Universite Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris 75005
baulieulpthe.jussieu.fr

Igor R. Klebanov
Princeton University
klebanovprinceton.edu

Edward Farhi
Center for Theoretical Physics, MIT
farhimit.edu

Luis Alvarez-Gaume
Theory Group, CERN
Luis.Alvarez-Gaumecern.ch

Yutaka Hosotani
Osaka University, High Energy Theory Group
hosotaniphys.sci.osaka-u.ac.jp

Costas Bachas
LPT of the Ecole Normale
Bachaslpt.ens.fr

Leonard Susskind
Stanford University
susskindstanford.edu

Andy Strominger
Harvard University
aestromfas.harvard.edu

Antonio Gonzalez-Arroyo
Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
antonio.gonzalez-arroyouam.es

Stephen L.Adler
Institute for Advanced Study
adlerias.edu

Eliezer Rabinovici
Racah Institute of Physics, The Hebrew University
Jerusalem 91904, Israel
ELIEZERVMS.HUJI.AC.IL

Michael Dine
University of California at Santa Cruz
dinescipp.ucsc.edu

George Sterman
C.N. Yang Institute for Theoretical Physics
Stony Brook University
george.stermanstonybrook.edu

Petr Horava
University of California, Berkeley
and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
horavaberkeley.edu

Tohru Eguchi
Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto University
eguchiyukawa.kyoto-u.ac.jp

Massimo Bianchi
Dipartimento di Fisica & Sezione INFN
Universita' di Roma "Tor Vergata"
Massimo.Bianchiroma2.infn.it

Michael Gronau
Physics Department, Technion
gronauphysics.technion.ac.il

Chris Hill
Theoretical Physics Department, Fermilab
hillfnal.gov

Michael B. Green
High Energy Physics Group
DAMTP, University of Cambridge
m.b.greendamtp.cam.ac.uk

Amanda Peet
University of Toronto Physics
amanda.peetutoronto.ca

Wojtek J. Zakrzewski
MATHS-CPT, Durham University
W.J.Zakrzewskidurham.ac.uk

Alexander Sevrin
Theoretical High Energy Physics
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Alexandre.Sevrinvub.ac.be

Jan Louis
String Theory Group, Hamburg
jan.louisdesy.de

Dieter Zeppenfeld
Institut fuer Theoretische Physik
Universitaet Karlsruhe
dieterparticle.uni-karlsruhe.de

Marc Henneaux
Universite Libre de Bruxelles
International Solvay Institutes
henneauxulb.ac.be

Antal Jevicki
High Energy Theory Group, Brown
antalhet.brown.edu

Antoine Van Proeyen
K.U. Leuven, High-energy Physics group
Antoine.VanProeyenfys.kuleuven.be

Matthias Gaberdiel
Institute for Theoretical Physics
ETH Zuerich
mrgphys.ethz.ch

Matteo Bertolini
SISSA - Elemntary Particle Physics Sector
bertmatsissa.it

Joan Simon
School of Mathematic, University of Edinburgh
J.Simoned.ac.uk

Ivan Todorov, Emil Nissimov
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia
todorovinrne.bas.bg - nissimovinrne.bas.bg

Elias Kiritsis
CPHT, Ecole Polytechnique
kiritsisalicemail.frg

Bernard de Wit
Inst. for Theoretical Physics, Utrecht University
B.deWitphys.uu.nl

Hans Peter Nilles
Physikalisches Institut, Universitaet Bonn
nillesth.physik.uni-bonn.de

Chris Hull
Theoretical Physics Group, Imperial College London
c.hullimperial.ac.uk

Csaba Csaki
Newman Laboratory, Cornell University
csakimail.lepp.cornell.edu

Niels A. Obers
Theoretical Particle Physics and Cosmology Group
Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen
obersnbi.dk

Csaba Balazs
School of Physics, Monash University
Melbourne VIC 3800, Australia
Csaba.Balazssci.Monash.edu.au

Eric Laenen
Nikhef Amsterdam Theory Group
Eric.Laenennikhef.nl

Manuel Drees
Bonn University
dreesth.physik.uni-bonn.de

Herbi Dreiner
Theoretische Physik
Physikalisches Institut University of Bonn
dreinerth.physik.uni-bonn.de

Mark Van Raamsdonk
University of British Columbia
mavphysics.ubc.ca

Hermann Nicolai
Potsdam, Max Planck Institute
Hermann.Nicolaiaei.mpg.de

Robert Myers
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
rmyersperimeterinstitute.ca

Bengt EW Nilsson
Dept of Fundamental Physics
Chalmers University of Technology
tfebnfy.chalmers.se

Tom DeGrand
University of Colorado
degrandaurinko.colorado.edu

Shahin Sheikh-Jabbari
School of Physics, IPM, Tehran
jabbaritheory.ipm.ac.ir

Bill Spence
Centre for Research in String Theory
Queen Mary, University of London
w.j.spenceqmul.ac.uk

Jan Plefka Quantum Field Theory Group
Humboldt-University Berlin
plefkaphysik.hu-berlin.de

Joseph Polchinski
UC at Santa Barbara/Kavli Institute
joepkitp.ucsb.edu

Laurence Yaffe
University of Washington
yaffephys.washington.edu

Graham Shore
Theoretical Physics, Swansea University
g.m.shoreswansea.ac.uk

Jean-Marc Gerard
Ctr. for Particle Physics/Phenomenology, UCL, Louvain
gerardfyma.ucl.ac.be

Martin Schmaltz
Boston University Particle Theory Group
schmaltzbu.edu

John Terning
UC Davis
terningphysics.ucdavis.edu

Jim Cline
McGill University
jclinhep.physics.mcgill.ca

Tilman Plehn
School of Physics
University of Edinburgh
tilman.plehncern.ch

Elizabeth H. Simmons
High-Energy Theory Group
Michigan State University
esimmonsmsu.edu

Finn Larsen
University of Michigan
larsenfumich.edu

Francesco Sannino
University of Southern Denmark
sanninoifk.sdu.dk

Charlotte Elster
INPP, Ohio University
elsterohiou.edu

Ofer Aharony
Weizmann Institute of Science
Ofer.Aharonyweizmann.ac.il

Mirjam Cvetic/Burt Ovrut
Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania
cveticcvetic.hep.upenn.edu
ovrutelcapitan.hep.upenn.edu

Alexey A Petrov
Wayne State University
apetrovwayne.edu

Ulf Lindström
Uppsala University
ulf.lindstromfysast.uu.se

Xerxes Tata
Theory Group, University of Hawaii
tataphys.hawaii.edu

Graham Kribs
University of Oregon
kribsuoregon.edu

Zvi Bern
Department of Physics and Astronomy
UCLA
bernphysics.ucla.edu

Michael Krämer
Institute for Theoretical Physics
RWTH Aachen University
mkraemerphysik.rwth-aachen.de

Alfonso V. Ramallo
String Theory Group
University of Santiago de Compostela
Spain
alfonsofpaxp1.usc.es

Gary Shiu
University of Wisconsin, Madison
shiuphysics.wisc.edu

Doug Toussaint
University of Arizona High Energy Theory Group
dougphysics.arizona.edu

R. Sekhar Chivukula
Michigan State University High Energy Theory Group
sekhapa.msu.edu

Simon Catterall
Syracuse University Theoretical Particle Physics Group
smcphysics.syr.edu

Pavel Nadolsky
Southern Methodist University
nadolskysmu.edu

John Donoghue
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
donoghuephysics.umass.edu

Paul H. Frampton
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
framptonphysics.unc.edu

Manfred Lindner
Director, Max Planck Institut fuer Kernphysik, Heidelberg, Germany
lindnermpi-hd.mpg.de

Patrick Huber
Physics Department, Virginia Tech
pahubervt.edu

Matthew Headrick
Martin Fisher School of Physics, Brandeis University
headrickbrandeis.edu

Subir Sarkar
Particle Theory Group, Oxford University
s.sarkarphysics.ox.ac.uk

Christopher D. Carone
Physics Department, College of William & Mary
cdcarowm.edu

Markus Diehl
Theory Group, DESY, Hamburg Site
markus.diehldesy.de


Cobi Sonnenschein
Tel Aviv University
cobi post.tau.ac.il










Frequently asked questions

1.  Who should sign this letter?

2.  How can we sign?

3.  Why choose January 7, and not some other date?

4.  What if our job starts before September?  What if our job covers several fields, not just theoretical physics, and we have to compete with earlier deadlines in other fields?  What if external considerations (say a funding agency deadline) force us to set an earlier deadline?

5.  Can we give a suggested response date in advance of January 7?

6.  What should I (a candidate) do if I am given an earlier hard deadline?

7.  Why not use a centralized matching system?

Answers:

1.  Who should sign this letter? 

Researchers in theoretical physics who hire postdocs.  This agreement was originally proposed by theoretical particle physicists, but we are happy to have others join as well.

Of course, the proposal could be of interest beyond these fields.  However, to keep the discussion and signature list to a manageable size, and because some of the details (such as the date) might be different in different fields, we would ask others to start independent agreements.

It is only necessary to have one person sign per group, meaning either a typical size department in a university, or a group with a coherent hiring policy within a larger department, lab or other institution.  Of course, that person should be authorized by the group, and willing to take responsibility for the agreement.

2.  How can we sign?

Send an e-mail to
        postdoc-agreementinsti.physics.sunysb.edu
stating the necessary information, including contact information.  Of course, you can also ask to be removed from the agreement.

3.  Why choose January 7, and not some other date?

First, we would like to maximize the time available for candidates to publish their work and submit their applications.  This rules out deadlines in December and earlier.  The holiday break also provides a natural interval in which candidates can consider offers, get information, and in some cases make decisions.

On the other hand, all other factors being equal, an earlier date would be preferable, to speed up the process.

One argument for a somewhat later deadline is the following.  Once some candidates have accepted offers, they will turn down others, freeing some groups to make early second offers.  This will enable other candidates to switch to these offers, freeing up more institutions to make early second offers.  This procedure can iterate and we do not want candidates to be forced to accept jobs as it is taking place.  Thus, for the process to be fair, we must allow some time for this process to converge, before enforcing a hard deadline on the first round offers.

The holiday break ends on different days, depending on the institution and the vicissitudes of the calendar.  CERN, for example, is closed the first week of January, and so might not re-open until the 8th.  Even for those with more flexibility, if January 1 falls on a Thursday, it could easily be January 5 before a group could hold a meeting to make second offers.

Then, allowing several days for the early second offers to complete, brings us somewhere between January 7 and January 15.  We have fixed on the earliest date in this range.

4.  What if our job starts before September?  What if our job covers several fields, not just theoretical physics, and we have to compete with earlier deadlines in other fields?  What if external considerations (say a funding agency deadline) force us to set an earlier deadline?

Although we believe that every effort should be made to follow this agreement, there are a variety of special situations which are legitimate reasons for a nonstandard deadline.

To avoid confusion, we are providing a public "opt-out" list, in which groups can register the fact that a particular position has a nonstandard deadline, and state the reasons.  This can be done by sending e-mail to
       postdoc-agreementinsti.physics.sunysb.edu

(the same address as above), we would hope at the time the position is first announced.

5.  Can we give a suggested response date in advance of January 7?

Yes.  This agreement applies to hard deadlines, beyond which an offer is withdrawn, and perhaps offered to another candidate.  An earlier response date can be requested, for any reason.  But if the candidate asks for an extension until January 7, this must be honored.

6.  What should I (a candidate) do if I am given an earlier hard deadline?

Ask politely for an extension until January 7.

If this is refused, let us (any of the signatories) know.

7.  Why not use a centralized matching system?

In some comparable situations, candidates are assigned to institutions using a centralized matching system.  The example that we know about is the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) for medical residencies, described at
    http://www.nrmp.org/

In rough outline, candidates and institutions provide rank ordered lists to the service, which then makes binding assignments attempting to maximize the preferences of all involved, essentially simultaneously (over one week).

Candidates and institutions are allowed to informally communicate their general preferences to each other in advance, so the system allows for some degree of human contact and maneuver at that stage.

It seems likely to us that, because of the many differences between the professions and institutions in the two cases, adapting this system to our situation would require a great deal of work.

And as is evident from their website, the system requires a great deal of administration to run, and to enforce the agreements on the parties involved.  But this may be an interesting direction to consider for the future.



Postdoc jobs with exceptional deadlines

No exceptional deadlines listed.


(This page was last edited Dec. 2, 2013.  Send comments to postdoc-agreementinsti.physics.sunysb.edu.)