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Orientation and Offers for Postdocs

Your goal is research at University?

Long-term career perspectives

Want to assume scientific responsibility by gaining a professorship? Aiming at leadership and management? Or do other options, maybe in the realm of science management, attract you? Get an overview by the following pages:

Select a scientific environment, which promotes your scientific independence. Or else create a work environment, in which you can develop your potential.

Answer the following questions:

  • What do I need to be productive?
  • What do I need to carry out my research?
  • Whom (having which expertise) should I involve in my research?


Get aware of what you are evaluated upon in your discipline. Get aware of what is determining your success.

  • Regulations (on habilitation and appointment) provide a rough survey, which criteria allow assessment of candidates.
  • Some research funders provide information on successfull proposals of the past; which gives way to comparision.
  • Which are successful proposals at your institute/university; allowing contact with successful or unsuccessfull applicants?
  • Discussions with professors in your close or extended environment may provide important insights.


Raise funds in order to promote your research ideas.

Ask yourself: Who or what shall be funded: "Our collaborative research" - "My project and me" - "My career"!? These questions are being met by the categories of the research funders. Individuel counsel on scientific fund raising is provided by the team National und international research funding at the Research Department.


Gather feedback from different professors.

Make your career plan a subject of discussion at the Annual Empoyee Review, which is to take place between you and your direct superior. Prepare this conversation to put things straight und to resolve your questions concerning your professional future. The Annual Empoyee Review is an obligatory prodedure at Göttingen University and usually takes place in the first quarter of each year. Additionally, it makes sense to consult professors, who are not involved in your research neither directly nor in cooperation. They can assess your profile without own interest and provide an independant point of view.


Set up your network.

Networks offer access to knowledge and information. Important is a diverse network with both close and loose contacts. Persons within the direct work environment normally have quite similar sources of information. People with whom contact is irregular often offer access to new information. Keep the principle of giving and taking in balance when networking.


Prepare your appointment to professorship.

At an early career stage you can try to become member of an appointment committee at your faculty. So you could gain first hand insight into the procedures of appointment. How claiming such a position? Ask your supervisor. Moreover, a training on appointment issues provides knowledge on procedures and requirements. Such training is provided by the university´s Qualification Program. The German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (DHV) regularly offers seminars and counsel on appointment. All offers at and from DVH are fee-based.


  • Barbara J Gabrys, How to Succeed as a Scientist: From Postdoc to Professor, (Cambridge University Press, 2011)
  • Dr. Kevin Byron, The creative researcher, Tools and techniques to unleash your creativity, (Vitae 2009)
  • Career Trends, Careers away from the Bench, Advice and Options for Scientists, (Science Careers, From the Journal Science, 2015)
  • Carl J. Sindermann, Winning. The Games Scientists Play, Basic Books; Revised edition (March 2001)
  • Hugh Kearns, Maria Gardener, The balanced reseacher. Strategies for busy researchers (Vitae, 2008)
  • Career Trends, Industry or Academia. Where do I fit in? (Science Careers, From the Journal Science, 2012)
  • Mirjam Müller. Promotion – Postdoc – Professur. Karriereplanung in der Wissenschaft (Campus, 2014)
  • Howard Hughes Institute. Making the right moves: A Practical Guide to Scientific Management for Postdocs and New Faculty, Second Edition

The Qualification Program of the HR Development section

Our qualification program offers courses and workshops on the developement of different key competences for all staff of the University Göttingen. Certain offers on the Qualification Program may interest YOU; maybe especially in the sections A, B und F.

We cordially invite you to join in!

Dorothea Schlözer Program for female postdocs (Jobs | Qualification | Mentoring)

The Dorothea Schlözer Program of the University Göttingen shall promote equal opportunity and staff diversity at the campus Göttingen. A survey over its different promotion measures can be found here.

Dorothea Schlözer Mentoring Program

The Mentoring Program organized by the HR staff development addresses advanced female PhD students pursuing a career goal in science. Detailed information on this program can be found here.

Counsel on raising funds at the "Research Department"

Individuel counsel on scientific fund raising is provided by the team National und international research funding at the Research Department.

Postdoc Network of the Campus Office

The Postdoc network of Göttingen Campus invites you to establish contact with other postdocs at the campus. A mailing list provides update on strategic developments, meetings and funding options. Register here. You may provide own contributions and get to know postdocs of other disciplines.

Financial contributions to conference trips

The Universitätsbund Göttingen supports early career researchers with financial contributions for conference trips e.g.


Want to quit scientific research and look for orientation?

Follow up on these steps to find a career perspective which suits.

It all starts with you. Unless you don´t have knowledge of yourself, you will have difficulties in finding your path.

Questions for you

  • What am I good at?
  • What do I enjoy most?
  • What is especially important to me?
  • The achievement of which goals I would like to engage for?
  • Which work conditions are important for me?

Support by assessment tools

On the internet you can find different online-assessments, which can support you; select such a tool from E-tools and practical guides on career planning by the University of Ghent. Especially featured for (natural) scientists is MyIDP. Self analysis refers to abilities, interests and values – captured from research related activities. On the basis of self-assessed abilities and interests one gets a feedback on individual suitability referring to 20 different fields of activity („My Career Paths Fit“). This feedback can be a start to go further in dealing with theses different activities. The questionnaire on abilities can also be used when retrieving feedback from colleagues and superiors.

Discussions with colleagues and friends

Collegues and friends can be helpful in reflecting your abilities and ressources. Sometimes we are not aware of our strengths, especially when operations flow easily. A view from outside helps. Also friends and family know us especially well and can provide support in this process.
These activities can be helpful:

  • Read job advertisements and appropriate internet pages of companies or other organisations.
  • Visit events allowing insights into the business of special employers or various paths of career. Look for career fairs or career talks.
  • Practise networking, e.g. with Alumnies or in target-group-specific networks.

So called Informational Interviews represent a method to gather systematically information about potential positions. Persons to address to are people in different postions, for whom questions be prepared, such as:

  • What is your typic work day like?
  • Which capabilities and experiences render someone in your job successfull?
  • What was helpful when starting out with your job?

You have discovered an interesting ad, but you don´t meet all criteria? There is no 100% fit. If an advertisement attracts you, go ahead. Highlight where you notice the match. Particularly, write what has motivated you to write this application.

Practice makes perfect

The first application may not lead to the first interview. Gather feedback, beforehand from colleagues, acquaintances and friends - afterwards from the employer at stake. Nor will the first interview be your best. Reflect about the past interview: What went well? What hadn´t you been prepared for? Which questions could you not answer?

Show yourself and defend your interests with confidence

A potential employer would like to know you as good as possible, to be able to opt for you. Present your strenghes and competences convincingly. However, know your weeknesses too. Find out what awaits you and whether job and employer might be suitable for you.

At the end it must be suitable - for both sides!

  • Richard N. Bolles. What Colour is Your Parachute? A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters & Career-Changers (Ten Speed Press, 2015)
  • Career Trends, Industry or Academia. Where do I fit in? (Science Careers, From the Journal Science, 2012)
  • Career Trends, Careers away from the Bench, Advice and Options for Scientists (Science Careers, From the Journal Science, 2015)
  • Mirjam Müller. Karriere nach der Wissenschaft. Alternative Berufswege für Promovierte (Campus, 2017)
  • Angelika Gulder. Finde den Job, der dich glücklich macht. Von der Berufung zum Beruf (Campus, 2013)

Career talks

Different institutes at University Göttingen offer career talks, with alumnies presenting their current position and employer. Look over the pages of your institute (for ex.: Job profiles in chemistry) or browse the offers of the Graduate Schools. Talks on these topics are also announced on the Göttingen Campus Event Calendar, within the category "Career and education".

Career Service of the Natural and Life Sciences

The Career Service for researchers in natural and life sciences adresses Postdocs, who have a limited contract or grant. Beside career talks and workshops individual counsel is offered.

Career Offers for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Offers can be inquired at the appropriate graduate school; GSGG Graduate school of humanities Göttingen and GGG Göttingen graduate school of social sciences.

Career offers for Agricultural Sciences

Offers can be inquired at the graduate school GFA Graduate School Forest and Agricultural Sciences (GFA).

Job and Career Fair of the University of Göttingen / Praxisbörse

"The PraxisBörse des Nord- und ZentralCampus offers outstanding occasions for dicussion with potential employers always on 2 consecutive days. Students and scientists can exchange information on entry and career opportunities with exhibiting companies in an atmosphere of jolly fair. All of them are present, small, medium-sized and big companies."

WoCaNet (Women's Careers and Networks)

"The aim of WoCaNet is to increase young female scientists' awareness of their own potentials and opportunities by providing an interactive environment and networking possibilities."

Start-up support

"We support you from idea to business foundation. Our offer at the Start-up support is aimed at students, young professionals and employees of the University of Göttingen and other research institutions. The Start-up support team is complemented by Start-Up commissioners of the faculties."

Qualification program of the HR Development section

Our qualification program offers courses and workshops on the developement of different key competences for all staff of the University Göttingen. Certain offers on the Qualification Program may interest YOU; maybe especially in the sections A, B und F.

We cordially invite you to join in!

Postdoc Network from the Campus Office

The Postdoc-Network of Göttingen Campus enables you to network with other Postdocs from arround the campus and to exchange views in the process of orientation. A Mailinglist provides update on dates and offers. Register here.


You know your goal and want to sharpen your competences?

Our qualification program offers courses and workshops on the developement of different key competences for all staff of the University Göttingen. Certain offers on the Qualification Program may interest YOU; maybe especially in the sections A, B und F.

We cordially invite you to join in!

Making science visible is getting more and more important for researchers: Open Science is becoming an important tool for adressing different publics and recruiting new coworkers - get to know and train it here.