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All About You: Writing Your Academic Biography

After a paper has been accepted or a conference talk has been arranged, you may be asked to provide your academic biography. For publications and conference presentations, you may be asked for a short one of 30 to 50 words. Applying for grants and jobs may require a longer biography between 200 and 400 words. Writing about yourself can be uncomfortable, but there is a way to write an effective biography without feeling like you’re boasting.

For a short biography, the following should be included:

Here is an example.

Dr. June Ava Smith is a professor at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on identifying and understanding key pathways involved in the development of soybean root nodules. Identification of these pathways may allow non-legumes to be engineered for nodule formation.

A longer biography will have multiple paragraphs and should include the following:

Here are some samples of longer biographies:
http://joneslabucla.com/principal-investigator/
http://drsherrirose.com/biocv/

Tips

1. Write in formal language and in the third person.
2. Use humor sparingly. Save the comedy for your stand-up act.
3. Do not divulge too much personal information.
4. Do not pack it with all of the information in your CV.
5. Avoid exclamation marks and symbols like emojis.

Remember that although you’re writing about yourself, you’re helping others to understand your academic credentials when they’re introducing you for a talk or assessing your grant proposal. Let your light shine!


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