Apply until November 3rd, 2023!
Postdocs at Helmholtz Munich are invited to apply for the second call of the Helmholtz Munich High Potentials Program until Friday, November 3rd, 2023.
To apply, a Letter of Motivation provided by the applicant and a Letter of Support by the PI/Group Leader are required. All documents need to be submitted by November 3rd, 2023 via the HPP application portal.
All applicants will be informed whether they have been selected early in 2024 and the program will start in March 2024 for a period of 24 months.
Link to the Application Portal for the High Potentials Program.
Learn more about how to prepare your application below.
The High Potential Program (HPP) is a structured, two-year career development initiative that aims to support postdoctoral researchers at Helmholtz Munich in preparing for leadership positions in academia. Since the postdoctoral phase is generally considered a qualification phase, we believe that this program offers an excellent opportunity to support early-career postdoctoral researchers at Helmholtz Munich.
The program is designed for postdoctoral researchers who have completed their doctorate within the last 3 years and who are currently conducting research at Helmholtz Munich or joining soon. Postdoctoral researchers with children are also eligible to apply if they completed their doctorate more than 3 years ago. We do not distinguish between postdoctoral researchers with an employment or guest contract. We also encourage fellowship holders or postdoctoral researchers employed at other institutions to apply.
Please note that the program does not provide fellowships or positions to fund postdoctoral researchers. The training program and retreats are free for the selected fellows.
Ideally, the fellows should have a contract for the entire duration of the program (24 months) or for this call, until the end of 2025. If you have suitable postdoctoral researchers in your group with a shorter contract duration, you will be asked to provide information about their contractual situation as part of the application process.
Applications can be submitted until Friday, November 3rd, 2023 via an application portal. Fellows selected via the 2nd call will start the program in March 2024 for a period of 24 months.
Here are some important key facts for you:
What’s the scope of the High Potentials Program?
- The Helmholtz Munich Postdoc Program (HPP) is an additional training program for postdoctoral researchers. However, it does not provide funding to cover the postdoc’s position.
- If you are supporting a postdoc, you need to confirm that they will have sufficient time to participate in the structured modular training program.
- The selected fellows will participate in a variety of formats, including shorter webinars that can be integrated into their working days, and one 3-day retreat. The program modules also include various deliverables to ensure that the fellows apply their knowledge and skills.
- Additionally, we rely on the support of the postdoc’s PI or group leader, who will be asked to conduct regular Feedback and Career Development Talks. Guidelines and a template for these talks will be provided.
- Every year, we select 10-12 fellows to join our program for a period of two years. The Helmholtz Munich employees and guest researchers conducting research at Helmholtz Munich are eligible to apply for the HPP program. This includes fellowship holders or postdocs employed at a university who work at Helmholtz Munich.
- The program is mainly designed for early-career postdocs who have completed their doctorate within the last 0-3 years (with a cut-off date of November 2020 or later). However, postdocs with children can also apply if they completed their doctorate more than 3 years ago (upon individual discussion, maximum 5 years). You can also support future postdocs who will join your group before March 2024, as well as doctoral researchers who have submitted their thesis and will continue as a postdoc at Helmholtz Munich.
- To be eligible to apply, the applicants should start their employment/fellowship at Helmholtz Munich before March 2024. Moreover, HPP fellows should be able to join for the entire duration of the program and have a work contract until the end of 2025 or longer. If this is not the case for the applicant you support, you will be asked to provide some concrete information on the applicant's employment status, such as if the contract will be extended. Please note that we ask for this information in the interest of the postdoc and to ensure close collaboration among the selected fellows. Any confirmation you provide here does not give rise to an obligation to extend contracts.
- You can support multiple applicants per call, but it's important to make sure you support female researchers equally. There is no limitation on how many postdocs per institute or department can be supported. You will also need to provide a personalized Letter of Support for each applicant you support.
Letter of Support & Submission via the Application Portal
Please prepare a Letter of Support for the applicant. The letter should be approximately one page long and highlight the applicant’s suitability for the High Potentials Program. Please highlight the following points:
- Please provide your evaluation regarding the applicant’s current research focus, academic achievements, and publications.
- Additionally, please rate the applicant's profile in comparison to other postdocs and highlight any distinguishing factors.
- Finally, please provide your assessment of the applicant's potential to lead in academia, for example, as a group leader.
Once the applicant has started his/her application in the Application Portal, you will receive an email with the link to upload your Letter of Support as a PDF. Please note that the applicant him/herself will not have access to this Letter of Support. It is not possible that an applicant uploads this Letter of Support on his/her own.
Please provide your evaluation regarding the applicant’s current research focus, academic achievements, and publications. Additionally, please rate the applicant's profile in comparison to other postdocs and highlight any distinguishing factors. Finally, please provide your assessment of the applicant's potential to lead in academia, for example, as a group leader.
The HPP fellows will be selected via a competitive selection process involving reviewers from all Helmholtz Munich Departments.
The application portal for the High Potentials Program will open on Friday, September 15th, 2023.
Applications can be submitted until Friday, November 3rd, 2023. Please note that this includes uploading a letter of support by the respective PI before this deadline.
All applicants will be informed about the outcome early in 2024. The program will start in March 2024 with a two-day on-site workshop in Neuherberg.
The High Potentials Program is an internal program for postdocs at Helmholtz Munich. The program does not fund postdoc positions.
All postdocs at Helmholtz Munich who fulfill the following criteria are invited to apply:
- You completed your doctorate 0-3 years ago. For this call, you are eligible to apply if you completed your doctorate in November 2020 or later. Postdocs who have not received their doctoral certificate yet are also eligible to apply.
- Extension for postdocs with children: Postdocs with children who completed their doctorate before Nov. 2020 and are interested in applying for the High Potentials Program, please get in touch directly to clarify whether you are eligible.
- You are completing your doctorate and already submitted your doctoral thesis at Helmholtz Munich or any other institution and will conduct research at Helmholtz Munich as a postdoc in the future.
- You have a work contract or a guest contract and are working at any of the Helmholtz Munich sites. Postdocs with a fellowship and postdocs employed at other institutions who have a guest contract at Helmholtz Munich are eligible.
- You ideally have a work or guest contract until the end of 2025 to ensure that you can actually participate in the two-year program. Your group leader/PI will be asked to confirm this while uploading a Letter of Support. If your contract duration is less than two years, your group leader/PI will be asked to comment on your contractual situation and should ideally confirm that you will be at Helmholtz Munich long enough to participate in the program.
If you have doubts or questions regarding the eligibility criteria, please get in touch!
As a PI/group leader, fostering the career development of postdocs is a crucial responsibility since the limited-time employment of postdocs is intended as a qualification period. To provide optimal support for each HPP fellow, we rely on the active involvement of their PI/group leader.
There is no limitation in terms of how many postdocs a PI/group leader can support per call, but s/he needs to provide a Letter of Support for each applicant.
PIs/group leaders are also asked to confirm that the fellow will have sufficient time to join all modules of the HPP program and s/he will conduct regular Career Development and Feedback Talks with the respective fellow. A template and structure for such talks is currently being developed.
Additionally, the PI/group leader is requested to verify the postdoctoral fellow's contract duration while submitting the Letter of Support in the Application Portal and provide details about any plans to extend the contract. It is important to note that confirming the contract duration does not create an obligation to extend the contract that can be enforced by the applicant at a later date.
Applications can be submitted via the application portal until November 3rd 2023. Applicants need to provide the following documents:
- Letter of Motivation (for details, please refer to the next section).
- CV including track record/list of publications
- Doctoral Certificate (or an official Confirmation of Submission of your Doctoral Thesis)
Submission of the Application
Please note that all documents need to be uploaded before the deadline on November 3rd, 2023 and you need to submit your application. After the application deadline, it Is not possible to exchange documents or to add further information.
Along with your documents, your PI/group leader also needs to submit a Letter of Support and answer a few questions while uploading the letter.
How can your PI/Group Leader upload the Letter of Support?
To submit a letter of support for your application, your PI/Group Leader can do so confidentially through the application portal. Please note that applicants are not able to access this letter.
During the submission process, you will be asked to provide your PI’s/Group Leader's contact details, and you may add the details of his/her team assistant who typically manages such letters. Please note that you cannot add your own contact details.
Once the contact details have been entered, an email containing a link to upload the Letter of Support will be sent to the provided email addresses. It is important to add these details early enough for your PI/group leader to upload the letter. Additionally, it is recommended that you discuss your application with your PI/group leader prior to providing this email.
You will be notified once the letter has been uploaded.
To apply for the Helmholtz Munich High Potentials Program, you need to submit a Letter of Motivation of max. 2 pages. The letter will be a decisive document for the selection of the HPP fellows and we ask you to think beyond your current day-to-day research.
Please address the following points in your Letter of Motivation:
(1) What is your long-term research agenda?
(2) What are your career goals?
(3) What do you find interesting about the High Potentials Program? Which skills would you particularly like to expand during the fellowship? What would you bring to the group?
Here are some tips on how you could address these questions:
(1) What is your long-term research agenda?
You could address the following points here:
- Which research topic(s) or questions do you want to focus on in the future going beyond your current day-to-day research?
- What fascinates you about your research field?
- Have you already identified research gaps that would like to focus on in the future or do you have unique expertise in your field? What could be a long-term focus where you could really advance the state-of-the-art in your field?
You would usually get this kind of questions when you apply for advanced positions, so we would like to see how you would address this topic. You don’t have to develop a full research proposal here, but we would like you to draft a more long-term perspective.
You can of course briefly mention your current research focus as a starting point, but please keep in mind that this is not a project proposal. The reviewers will also have your CV to learn more about your previous research and qualifications.
(2) What are your career goals?
The High Potentials Program aims to support early-career postdocs interested in leading positions in academia. Hence, please address what would be your next steps to continue your career in academia.
- What motivates you to stay in academia? What do you find interesting about the research profession?
- Do you have any specific programs you would like to apply for?
- Are you aspiring to be a group leader or professor? What do you find interesting about being a leader?
If you haven't given this a thought yet, we would recommend talking to researchers in your group or taking a look at the resources and materials offered by the Career Center for Postdocs and Doctoral Researchers. They offer an Individual Career Development Plan, information on Career Paths, and many other Resources (the Career Center offers guidance for all kinds of career paths, not only academic careers). You have the option to schedule a 1:1 coaching session to clarify your motivation for your application.
Please note that we would like to hear your own ideas and how you approach planning your career in your Letter of Motivation. As this is an internal call, the Career Center will not be able to draft you the perfect answer or to give you feedback on your Letter of Motivation.
(3) What do you find interesting about the High Potentials Program? What would you bring to the group? Which skills would you particularly like to expand during the fellowship?
Please provide some details about why you are interested in joining the program. The program entails forming a peer group that will engage in structured training and intense collaboration during the program period. In this regard, what are your expectations from the peer group? What unique skills or expertise do you possess that could benefit the group? Are you a great team player, researcher, or would you like to collaborate beyond your field of expertise? Kindly share your views.
You are also welcome to address what kind of training and skills you think are particularly important for future leaders, which skills do you want to expand during the next years to be a great leader/researcher/supervisor?
Tips on how to write the Letter of Motivation
You can write the Letter of Motivation as one coherent text, you do not need to repeat the questions.
We do not give very strict limitations here regarding word count and formatting. Please make sure the Letter of Motivation is easily readable for reviewers (normal font, paragraphs, font size 10 or larger).
If you feel that you absolutely need a list of references, you can add them on an extra page. Please refrain from using extensive footnotes here.
Please make sure you write this from your point of view, ideally in the first person. If you address previous or future research goals, make sure you highlight your own performance and achievements rather than describing your group’s work in general.
The questions are also meant as food for thought about your future plans, so be realistic, but do not be too modest here. As a postdoc, you already have great skills and expertise, so don’t undersell yourself!
The reviewers will also be asked to rate your application focusing on how you addressed the questions above.
Join the info sessions to learn more about the program:
Info Session I: Wednesday, September 20th 9.00 -10.00 am.
Info Session II: Monday, September 25th 3.00-4.00 pm.
Info Session III: Wednesday, October 4th 11.00 am.-12.00 pm.
PIs, Group Leaders & colleagues involved in the recruitment of postdocs are also invited to join to learn more about the program.