Postdocs united with one voice

The PostdocNet of the Max Planck Society celebrates its foundation in the Harnack House on 29. and 30.4.2019

May 15, 2019
The participants of the PostdocNet Foundation in the gardens of Harnack House.

The postdoctoral period sets a decisive course for a future career: while researchers are increasingly devoting themselves independently to planning, carrying out, presenting their work and personal further training, they must at the same time take on more responsibility for the supervision of young scientists and the acquisition of research funds. In addition, fundamental decisions are often made during this phase as to whether to stay in academic science and research or to undertake a new career path in business and industry.

In order to do justice to the complexity of this career stage, the Max Planck Society, under the project management of Christiane Haupt (Department of Human ResourcesDevelopment and Opportunities), has put together a postdoc package, which pays particular attention to the development of structured guidelines and an extensive continuing education programme. In addition, there is the “CareerSteps for Postdocs” conference, which will again take place on 6 June 2019 at the MPI for Brain Research in Frankfurt.

Since April 2019 a further building block for a structured postdoc phase has been put in place: the PostdocNet as a representation of all postdocs in the MPG. This is a grassroots process that has already been tackled several times in the MPG, but which has only just begun to bear fruit, not least due to the high fluctuation of postdocs and the intensity of the postdoc period. "Already in October 2017 Christiane Haupt helped us with tips and hints how the foundation could be organized, and last year we received the official ‘Go’ of the President, especially concerning the financial support of our foundation meeting. All in all, we are very grateful for the support PostdocNet has received not only from the MPG but also from PhDnet and other Postdoc Associations", the newly elected spokesperson Yu-Xuan Lu from the MPI for the Biology of Ageing explains.

The PostdocNet was able to orient itself on its partner associations in terms of both structure and statutes. As in the PhDnet, there are the following working groups: General Meeting, Secretary, Web/Media, Seminar, Survey and Equal Opportunity. In addition, the PostdocNet will further commit itself within working groups dedicated to the topics "Social needs", "Scientific needs", "Legal" and the "Postdoc definition", whereby the latter group has the status of a provisional committee.

While the PostdocNet has made great steps forward in 2019, there are still obstacles to overcome. Currently around half of all the MPIs are represented, and the PostdocNet has a goal over the next year to establish a connection with postdocs at all MPI institutions. Any postdocs who are interested in being part of the PostdocNet, only as a member or also as part of one of the working groups, are encouraged to connect with the group via the website or Twitter. Spokesperson Yu-Xuan Lu looks forward to the upcoming work with confidence: "We are glad to having finally built a bridge between PhDnet and LeadNet, and as soon as it becomes easy to exchange questions and ideas, the MPG as such will also benefit from PostdocNet".

The PostdocNet Steering Group consists of the following people:


Yu-Xuang Lu, MPI for the Biology of Ageing

Deputy Spokesperson

Rana Amini, MPI for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

General Secretary

Michael Grange, MPI for Molecular Physiology

Section Representatives

HUM section

Luisa Stella Coutinho, MPI for European Legal History

Corinna Laube, MPI for Human Development (Deputy)

Pablo Ruiz De Olano, MPI for History of Science (Deputy)

CPT section

Olga Koshinka, MPI for Polymer Research

Efstratios Bourtsoukidis, MPI for Chemistry (Deputy)

BM section

Karina Pombo-Garcia, MPI for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Yulia Borozdina, MPI for Biological Cybernetics (Deputy)

Pepe Alcami, MPI for Ornithology (Deputy)

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