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Date: Oct 31, 2019

Postdoc Day 2019: Career Paths and Funding Opportunities in Focus

The first Postdoc Day recently took place at the University of Bonn. About 50 junior researchers came to the event in the Old Observatory on the Poppelsdorfer Allee, where the University’s Argelander Competence Center for junior research is housed.

Advice on applying for research funding from the University and external funders was given. Career paths within and outside of academia were demonstrated. The program consisted of a mix of workshops, lectures and interactive formats on areas of interest that emerged from a survey among postdocs in the spring. In addition to information and stimuli, there was plenty of time for interdisciplinary exchange and individual meetings with members of various University institutions.

The Rector of the University of Bonn, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Michael Hoch, opened the Postdoc Day with a lecture on the University of Bonn’s new status as a University of Excellence. The Vice Rector for Research and Innovation, Prof. Dr. Andreas Zimmer, concluded by presenting the planned measures and new funding instruments for postdocs. After the presentation, the Old Observatory was turned into a World Café with the Division for Research Support and Management showcasing funding programs by the German Research Association, the European Union, various foundations as well as the University of Bonn’s own Argelander Grants at five round tables. Participants were able to ask questions as well as express their desires around funding advice.

Support Measures and Offers for Families

To get an overview of the University’s offers for postdocs in short presentations Prof. Dr. Klaus Sandmann, Vice Rector for University Development and Equal Opportunities, explained the University's goals in the field of gender equality and support measures, especially for female researchers. Xenia Lehr presented what the Family Office has to offers, while Christina Diekmann from Healthy Campus Bonn invited the attendees to participate in the University’s sports and health management offers and to take part in the company run 2020.

Speed Coaching with a Science Coach

A thematic block lead by the Human Resource Development team revolved around the diverse career paths for postgraduates. Science coach Prof. Dr. Annette Kolb, as a keynote speaker with her own professional experience inside and outside the University, provided an overview of the data, numbers, and facts around possible career paths. Afterward, she was available for half-hour speed coaching, where individual career issues could be addressed.

In the subsequent four workshops, participants were able to engage in an in-depth discourse of career paths within and outside of the University. The options of self-employment or launching a start-up were discussed with the University of Bonn’s Transfer Center enaCom. In a further workshop, using creative methods, decisive factors for one's own career decisions were reflected.

Closing the day in a relaxed atmosphere of Kölsch beer and a buffet of regional snacks, postdoctoral researchers had the chance to mingle with one another and with the University management. Graphic designer Franziska Ruflair summarized the day’s topics and results in a vivid graphic recording.

Follow-Up Already in the Pipeline

The Postdoc Day was organized by the Vice Rectorate for Research and Innovation, the Division for Human Resource Development and the Division for Research Support and Knowledge Transfer; other institutions were involved. Due to the positive feedback, it is already clear that there will be a Postdoc Day again next year.Hear about it first and stay informed by subscribing to the Human Resource Development newsletter.

Find out more about the Argelander Competence Center.

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