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Career Center

Virtual Career Day: Your Academic Career - Own it!

March 09, 2021 @ 9AM

How can you develop a personal strategy for academic career development? How can you work on it proactively?
What are the relevant puzzle pieces when pursuing an academic career?

This virtual Career Day is about both considering skills and opportunities for a successful career development in academia. Take the chance to gather information, to prepare for road blocks, to network, and to develop your personal career strategy further!
The Virtual Career Day is a joint initiative of five Helmholtz Career Centers at AWI, HZB, GFZ, MDC and UFZ. The registration is hosted by our colleagues from MDC - please your this link HERE.
Please note:
Places in the afternoon workshops will be booked on a first come, first served basis!
Registration period:  Monday, 8th February - Thursday, 25th February.


A career strategy seen as a map through the rough terrain of academia seems helpful for navigation – even though it might not be precise in every detail. Also data suggests that (written) career plans correlate with success (grants, professorship positions) in academia. As “owning one’s career” often translates into “having the perfect plan”, the career day opens with the keynote addressing this core issue: Is a career strategy really necessary and eventually helpful or rather leading to a false feeling of security? And what would a realistic strategy look like - keeping in mind that there are so many aspects out of my control?

Dr. Jane Reznick & Prof. Dr. Guido Grosse

Moderation: Julia Lehnhof

Have you heard about networking? Sure. Have you tried it? Probably. Did you enjoy it? Maybe... Not feeling comfortable networking can have different reasons: Maybe your target is not clear, maybe speaking to “strangers” is out of your comfort zone or maybe you simply don’t like to “ask for things”...
Bummer: This one-hour session on networking is not going to solve all of your problems. Instead it offers a systematic view on networking and provides ideas on how to get in touch with your “person of interest”. Knowing this is the first step to reduce your reservations and opens the door for enjoying to work on connections that serve your career development.

Julia Lehnhof

Whether a professorship, tenure track or “just” a permanent position at a research institute, there are official as well as implicit rules to get there. How can you increase your chances strategically? What is going on behind the scenes when you apply for a professorship? Which role do publication lists, third-party grants or networking skills really play for a successful academic career? This interactive talk gives you an overview of the success conditions of a career in academia: those within your control and those that lie beyond.

Matthias Schwarzkopf

In a nutshell 1: The German Science System

        Dr. Marieke Üzüm

The session provides an overview over the architecture of the German science system including the development of the research landscape and funding structures.

In a nutshell 2: Professorship at a University of applied Sciences (FH)

        Prof. Dr. Haiko Schlink

Which similarities are there between professorships at universities and universities of applied sciences concerning the appointment procedure, the possibilities for research and teaching, and last but not least concerning the remuneration package?

In a nutshell 3: European funding Streams: An ERC Focus

        Dr. Angela Richter

This session will introduce the ERC in the new EU framework program for research and innovation Horizon Europe. A summary of the ERC aims and principles, funding schemes, eligibility criteria, proposal structure, evaluation criteria, panel structure, and    evaluation process will be presented. Find out which questions to ask yourself as an applicant, discover tips for a successful ERC grant application and learn about the ERC Interview coaching and further offers of the Helmholtz Office Brussels.

What if …

(1) ...patience and luck are not enough?

Dr. Anne Mazuga

Every postdoc knows that patience and luck are not enough to succeed in academia, don’t they? That’s why you dedicate so much effort to writing articles and proposals, to networking, teaching, etc. Despite it all, do you sometimes find yourself asking „What if it is still not enough?“ This workshop provides room to reflect on this inconvenient question. We will look into constructive ways to deal with worries, e.g. about missing opportunities or about leaving academia too soon or too late. We will consider what could be your very personal reason to consciously take the risk of an academic career and pursue it fearlessly: „No regrets, even if…“

What if …    

(2)… I don’t have easy access to teaching opportunities?

Prof. Dr. Maren Brehme, Dr. Stefano Basso, Prof. Dr. Anna Cord

For many Helmholtz postdocs it is a challenge to gain teaching experience. However, when you apply for a professorship you are usually expected to have taught in higher education. And perhaps you want to find out if you like teaching before you take on a position that comes with a teaching load. In this interactive workshop, meet three experts for teaching as a Helmholtz postdoc and/or as a newly appointed professor. Find out how you can teach without a regular teaching assignment in your work contract, how to acquire didactic know-how and how to convince an appointment committee that you can do the job.

What if …

(3)… a permanent research position in my institute is out of sight?

Dr. Neela Enke

What if a permanent position in my institute is highly unlikely? What other options do I have within academia? In this workshop we explore the variety of academic career paths and their differences. We also will take a look at how to decide which path might be your best option individually - based on your personal competencies, qualifications and preferences.

An interesting wrap up of the day!

The Career Center actively promotes the career development of all postdoctoral researchers at GFZ.
We support systematic career planning, give career advice and facilitate networking in- and outside academia.

Funded by Helmholtz Association.
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Annett Hüttges | Anke Lerch | Gohar Ter-Avetisyan

Please contact us to make an appointment

Dr. Annett Hüttges | Head of Career Center

+49 (0)331 288 28985

Dr. Gohar Ter-Avetisyan | Career Counseling

+49 (0)331 288 28961

Anke Lerch | Project & Event Management

+49 (0)331 288 1891


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