I’ve always recommended that folks interested in some aspect of Hayek’s work take that interest and pursue studies with a professor doing something somehow related to that interest with the best track record of placing his or her students in solid research positions at the top universities, or near the top.
So if your are interested in some aspect of Hayek’s work in macroeconomics, go study with the small handful of macroeconomists who are producing the graduate students who are taking all of the top openings after graduation.
Or if you are interest in some aspect of Hayek’s brain theory, find out how that interest links up to contemporary research, and find the professor who is producing the graduate students who are taking the most top spots at the best universities available to new tenure track research scientists.
Another strategy would be to go study with a younger research scientist with an interest in graduate students working in a research growth area, with strong future growth potential. For example, if you are interested in Hayek’s ideas on spontaneous order, you might direct your studies in such a way that you would be of interest to Iain Couzin and his Collective Animal Behavior Lab at Princeton.
The second piece of advice I would give is to develop technical and formal skills which will provide both a formal metric for demonstrating your cognitive abilities — and which will also give you technical and formal skills which will be of collaborative interest to major professors and prospective post-graduate peers. Master the technical knowledge needed to create computer models, master the skill of producing math models better than your peers, out geek fellow graduate students when it comes to producing and crunching statistical studies, etc.
Graduate students earn their stripes by mastering and excelling at “normal science” puzzle solving, and the most fungible form of displaying normal science mastery is through formal work — math constructs, computer simulations, statistical studies, or further development of a highly technical literature, etc.
More in part two later.