It is well-known fact that postdoctoral researchers are often left more or less to their own means and devices to find their way to scientific independence, with far less financial or structural support than is available to doctoral reseachers. It can be a tough road with unique challenges, which is why the GSLS developed the PostDoc Plus programme during the second round of Excellence Initiative (2012-2017).
The 7th round of PostDoc Plus kicked off on Wednesday 12th February. Six postdoctoral researchers were selected for the programme this year, spanning three of the five sections in the GSLS. From spatial memory to virtual reality, the role of germ cells in molecular development to regulation of platelet production and function, 3D approaches to monitoring neuronal network properties to cancer immunotherapy, the research supported by the PostDoc Plus programme will pursue exciting avenues of experimental knowledge acquisition.
PostDoc Plus supports postdoctoral researchers in their transition toward scientific independence. As one aspect of this programme, the GSLS supports initial experiments generating data with a small-scale grant of €12,500 to develop a proposal for external funding. Acquiring third party funding is essential for an academic career, yet postdoctoral researchers often are on temporary contracts, working on pre-defined projects which initially leave little room to develop their own scientific standing. PostDoc Plus aims to bridge this gap.
Accompanying the financial support, the GSLS offers PostDoc Plus workshops targeting postdoctoral researchers and principal investigators, to help develop further necessary skills for future scientific independence. Among the workshops often offered are "Arguing and Debating in Science", "Supervising PhD Students" "Grant Writing" and "Time and Self Management". Additionally, the GSLS opens its Transferable Skills programme to the postdoctoral researchers of our affiliated research groups free of charge. Workshops such as Project Management and Software Carpentry often prove helpful for postdocs.
Between 2014 - 2019, 36 postdocs have been funded through the programme, resulting in high-ranked publications and several successful grant applications. There have also been several successful applications for positions, for example an Emmy-Noether research group, and Leibniz junior group, as well as independent group leader positions. Of these 36 funded scientists, 10 are now group leaders and one of the funded scientists holds a professorship.
We wish the 7th round postdocs the very best in their endeavours.