Postdoc Initiative

Postdoc Initiative    Concept    Members





Being a postdoc is not a career! Universities and research institutes are not only regulated by law to keep the percentage of tenured scientists to a minimum, they also like to retain a "scientific turnover" by employing new people from other institutes. Thus, postdocs usually have to change their employment after a few years unless they are able to finance their own position by third-party funding.

PhD students are often well supported in terms of career development by graduate schools and programs. However, there is almost no support available for postdocs, despite the fact that they are in the most critical time of their career. Besides the obvious need for high-impact publications, they are also supposed to build a scientific network, teach courses and learn how to apply for third-party funding.

Therefore, the postdocs of the Research Center Borstel have launched this Postdoc Initiative with the goal to provide their fellows the training and guidance they need to successfully advance in their career.



Structure and activities of the Postdoc Initiative

The Postdoc Initiative (PDI) at the Research Center Borstel (FZB) was founded in 2015 by and on the initiative of committed postdocs. The motivation of the PDI is to improve the situation, competitiveness and interconnection of postdocs at the FZB. The target group of the PDI is not only young postdocs, but all employees of the scientific mid-level at the FZB up to junior research group leaders, whose interests are represented by the PDI.

It is organized as an open council, meaning all the trainings, courses and supportings are managed by postdocs for postdocs. As representatives of interests, the two spokespersons of the PDI are involved in different committees of the FZB (e.g. Structure Comission, Euraxess WG, Transfergruppe "Values at the FZB",….) and regularly negotiate with the council of the FZB. Since 2021, the PDI has bylaws anchored at the Research Center and since 2022 it is supported 5h per week by a permanently employed staff position.

A key instrument of the PDI is the organization of on-site and online workshops, which are tailored to the needs of the postdocs at the FZB. These include soft- and hardskill courses as well as professional coachings. Moreover we are part of the Leibniz Postdoc Network (LPDNW) and associated with the Postdoc Center of the CAU Kiel and all of our postdocs can participate in their offered workhops and courses. In addition, the PDI collects and distributes relevant information via a mailing list and on the FZB intranet.

The active members of the PDI meet monthly to exchange ideas and discuss current topics. In addition, the PDI invites irregularly to information and discussion meetings on special topics and once a year to the annual meeting. Moreover regular socializing events, such as the "PDI lunchtalk", social evenings and BBQs are organized. Everybody who would likte to contribute is cordially invited to participate in the monthly meetings.

The Postdoc Initiative has created a central website on the intranet of the Research Center Borstel, which provides information on future and past events, helpful documents, a platform for general discussions and networks and a "Who-is-Who" document, helping to use the Borstel internal expertises and experiences in an optimal manner. Further, an email account (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) has been set up for receiving support, questions, and suggestions and to distribute postdoc relevant information from different sides (e.g. from LPDNW, CAU Kiel, Leibniz Association, Network for Decent Labour in Academia (NGAWiss), information on the “WissZeitVG”, “Women in science”, job offers...).