The postdoc workshop: finding the right lab, getting funded, and understanding the academic job market

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24 & 25 November 2022, 9 am - 5 pm

This workshop aims to help PhD students who are considering applying for a postdoctoral position, by raising their personal awareness on the academic job market, and providing insights into practicalities associated with applications for postdoctoral fellowships.

During the course we will consider the transition from PhD to postdoc, starting from finding a new host laboratory, writing fellowship applications, and being successful at job interviews. The training approach is based on an active interaction between the trainer and participants, with a balanced mix between discussion and practical activities, including concepts of storytelling and interview techniques. All participants will leave with resources and basis to create a personal action plan.


Target group
Graduate students in the 3rd or 4th year of their PhD. Priority is given to those in the phase of applying to postdoctoral fellowships (a statement can be made at the moment of the application to gain priority over other applicants).


Workshop outcomes
At the end of the 2-day workshop, PhD students will:
1. understand the role of a researcher, reflect on their own personal strengths and weaknesses, and reflect on career opportunities;
2. be aware of how to present themselves effectively;
3. feel more confident to identify a laboratory that matches their needs as a postdoc;
4. know where to identify funding resources for postdoctoral fellowships;
5. write competitive fellowships proposals;
6. be more familiar with effective interview technique for a postdoctoral fellowship;
7. be able to identify their individual career development needs


Pre-course preparation (mandatory)
- Write a cover letter based on a real or otherwise suggested career path. The letter is addressed to a future supervisor with the aim of asking for an opportunity to join his/her laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow.
- Write an abstract (max one page) based on a real (if possible) or otherwise suggested research project for a postdoctoral fellowship. IMPORTANT: Please do not copy and paste an abstract that you have already written for a research paper. Think on a research project you would like to carry out after your PhD in a laboratory of your choice. Summarize the significance of the research project, why this project is important to shape your scientific growth, and how you are intellectually and technically contributing to the project. Concluding with a statement on how the results will help progressing your particular field.


About the trainer
Jacopo Marino is currently a postdoctoral fellow working at Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, where he investigates the structure of membrane proteins using cryo-electron microscopy. After his PhD at University of Zurich, Jacopo moved to LMU Munich, and since then he has been awarded numerous postdoctoral fellowships and grants, making him aware that the funding landscape during the postdoc is particularly articulated, and early planning at the end of the PhD is vital. For this reason, Jacopo is keen in instructing new generations of postdocs on how to apply for grants, and how to possibly avoid common pitfalls in the choice of a host laboratory.

More information on the teaching approach and content of the workshop can be found at:
1. Marino, J., Blackford, S. Getting ready to postdoc. Bioessays. 2017 Jun; 39(6)
2. Marino, J. How storytelling can help scientists to write better abstracts. Bioessays. 2016 Jul; 38(7):590
3. Marino, J., Stefan, M. I. & Blackford, S. Ten Simple Rules for Finishing Your PhD. PLoS Computational Biology 10, e1003954 (2014)

Instructor    Dr. Jacopo Marino, Paul Scherrer Institute, Villigen
Location Irchel Campus, room Y21-D-68a
ECTS 1.0

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