Get to Know Your PostdocNet Working Groups!

Have you wondered how you can get involved in the PostdocNet? Or wanted to know more about the working groups which were established at the Founding Meeting in April 2019?

Look no further! Below, we try to summarize the topics of each working group, some goals and most importantly, how to contact the working group if you want to help.

We are only successful if the Postdoc members of this network step up and lend a hand in moving things forward. This can be from organizing meetings, seminars, or just in general helping with daily tasks that need to be done. Perhaps you’re great with computers and graphics, or you love to write posts, or maybe you really enjoy discussing the pertinent topics researchers in Germany are facing today. Whatever your passion, there is somewhere that you can help!

The current working groups are:

Equality and Diversity:

We value the diverse backgrounds that Postdoctoral Researchers bring to the individual Max Planck institutes and the Max Planck Society at large. We believe that every person should have access to equal opportunities and treatment irrespective of gender, sexual identity and orientation, nationality, ethnicity, disability, age, socioeconomic status, marital and parental status. We believe that creating an inclusive work environment will lead to scientific success and well-being for all Postdocs in the Max Planck Society.

We aim to:

  • serve as contact point for all Postdoctoral Researchers within the Max Planck Society
  • promote the Max Planck Society’s vision on equal opportunities
  • raise awareness within the scientific community on the value of diversity to create a more inclusive work culture
  • represent Postdoctoral Researchers on initiatives regarding diversity and equality in science
  • provide Postdoctoral Researchers with information regarding diversity and equality services available within their own institute and the Max Planck Society
  • provide constructive suggestions and ideas to the Max Planck ‘Opportunities’ Committee to promote diversity and equality

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

General Meeting:

Our strength lies in our collective movement for change. In order to facilitate communication between the vast number of Postdocs within the Max Planck Society, we need the opportunity to meet and discuss successes and points of improvement. The members of the General Meeting working group coordinate the location, schedule and general logistics of the yearly meeting. Help is always needed! If you enjoy planning events and bringing scientists together, join us and make this happen!

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

Employees are very well protected in Germany but it is up to us, to ensure that we are aware of our rights. As such, the Legal Support working group seeks to examine a wide variety of issues. Most of our work will involve conducting legal research to make referrals.

At present, the immediate actions of this group will focus on: 

1. Consider converting all stipendiary post docs to contracts;

2. To check whether or not the Postdoc guidance of 2017 are legally binding upon our institutes;

3. Review the VBL pension contributions and ability to withdraw from the scheme.

4. Organize and make available possible contracts that Postdocs may see, and provide translated (or simplified) descriptions of each section.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

Research Needs:

The primary aim of this working group is to make sure that the Max Planck Society (MPS) provides the environment and support that allows Postdoctoral researchers to get the maximum out of their time at the MPS. In order to allow Postdocs to build up their research profile, we want to encourage and actively promote their achievements, mobility and independence as well as their interactions, exchange and collaborations inside the MPS.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.


The Secretary Working Group aims to support and administer the central framework upon which the PostdocNet is founded. As a working group we are responsible for implementing many of the matters arising across the network. Current (and over the next year) working projects for the Secretary WG include looking at and fine-tuning how the PostdocNet statutes can be improved, determining the framework for establishing local structures e.g. local elections, encouraging the establishment of local hubs in the PostdocNet and preparing a thorough starting guide for new Postdocs including advice on all aspects on working at MPIs that have been brought up by Postdocs.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.


As fixed in the statutes, the Seminar working group is responsible for the organization of soft skills and scientific seminars. The aim is thereby to work together closely with the Department for Human Development of the MPG and other personnel throughout the MPG responsible for career development of their scientific staff. We are currently still thinking about how to be active best and what kind of formats could be useful and feasible. Any help, in creative and practical form, is welcomed and appreciated!

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

Social Rights:

The primary aim of this working group is to ensure that the Max Planck Society (MPS) provides basic labor and social rights to all Postdoctoral researchers within the MPS, including those on externally funded fellowships, up to the level of German contractual law. Moreover, we will try to define and ensure competitive social conditions within the MPS, such as minimal salary levels, child care & family benefits, minimal contract lengths, mental-health support and etc.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.


The goal of the survey working group is to construct and launch surveys addressed to the PostdocNet community in order to gather meaningful data for the benefit of the community. For 2019-2020, the Survey Group aims to evaluate the needs, the work environment and the career development of the Postdoc community in the MPS.

All motivated person are welcome to join. Specifically, knowledgeable Postdocs who are data analysts, psychologists, demographers, sociologists, and other positions which would help with the collection and analysis of the survey results are encouraged to contact us.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

Web and Media:

The Web and Media working group focuses on providing useful content, administering the PostdocNet website, as well as social media channels (  and LinkedIn). In addition, the working group moderates the mailing lists and keeps close connections to the other working groups to determine where new content, or important information has arisen that should be distributed to the members of the PostdocNet. We currently need Postdocs interested in curating, writing and editing content for the website.

Interested Postdocs can contact the working group here.

Illustration: Pixabay