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Let's establish a German-wide Postdoc Network!

Why we need a German Postdoc Network

Postdocs play an essential role in Germany’s research achievements and are central drivers for innovation in science. Yet, they face numerous challenges including the lack of clear and fair career prospects, representation, a community as well as appreciation for their contributions. While the revision of the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG) has been at the forefront of political discussions in recent years, it is clear that this revision alone will not improve the situation for postdocs unless there is a significant increase in permanent positions. At the same time, professors and principal investigators (PIs) are struggling to find suitable postdocs for their projects. This is indeed a challenge that will have an impact on the entire Research System in Germany including research-performing institutions, research funding institutions, supporting organizations and political institutions. 

To address these issues and fill important gaps in the German research system, we believe there is an urgent need to establish a comprehensive and inclusive German Postdoc Network (GPN). We aim to create a network for postdocs across all types of research-performing institutions in Germany. The network will serve as a focal point to create a community of postdocs across all disciplines and institutions, gather sustainable data on postdocs and their needs, coordinate working groups to advance key issues affecting postdocs, engage with stakeholders to address the challenges they face, and offer an independent platform to design and implement innovative models for recruitment, training, and career transitions in collaboration with research institutions and industry/public partners.

Funding to establish the Network

We are delighted that the Volkswagen Foundation has approved funding for our project under their "Pioneer Projects - Impetus for the German Research System" for the next three years. This funding will enable us to establish the network and firmly anchor its activities in the German scientific system.
Given the dynamic nature of the postdoc phase, we believe it is crucial to hire two Network Coordinators who will lead the Network's Coordination Office and collaborate with research institutions and existing networks in the future. 

Members & Structure of the GPN

Postdocs will be at the center of the German Postdoc Network and all postdocs in Germany will be able to make use of the GPN’s offers, activities, resources, surveys, and communication channels. Being a member offers access to a vibrant community of individuals in a similar career phase, fosters interdisciplinary collaboration and peer support. We put a strong focus on the large share of international postdocs in Germany. 

Once the network is established, postdocs will be invited to join/lead working groups, which will enable them to shape the network according to their needs. Active members of the network will have increased visibility within the scientific community and will have opportunities to gain valuable leadership experience.

The network will also collaborate with Ambassadors, especially science managers, postdoc coordinators, etc. at research institutions in Germany as well as other persons interested in supporting postdocs. Their expertise will be crucial to reach postdocs and initiate the network. The recent years have been crucial to expand the collaboration among points of contact for postdocs at research institutions and the interaction among the existing postdoc networks, hence we are convinced that we already have a solid basis to start the network. 

Additionally, a GPN Advisory Board will be established with representatives from science and industry, and potentially from politics and other sectors. The Advisory Board will provide feedback on the activities of the network.

The GPN is keen on collaborating with existing German Postdoc Networks, points of contact for postdocs at research institutions, and other organizations and networks that support early-career researchers.

Launch of the GPN

We are planning to officially launch the network in autumn 2024, ideally with a Kick-Off Event during this year's Postdoc Appreciation Week

Interested in the future network?

If you want to be informed about the German Postdoc Network once we officially launch the network, register via this form.
This list is open to anyone interested, irrespective of your current role or interest in actually collaborating with the GPN.

This project is funded by the Volkswagen Foundation.

Contact us:

Dr. Neele Meyer
Postdoc Coordinator Helmholtz Munich
Scientific Talent & Career Development
Helmholtz Munich

Dr. Camila Hernández Frederick
Head Career Services & IMPRS-ML
Career Development Service
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry

Dr. Tina Scheibe
Graduate School
Hochschule München University of Applied Sciences

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