Funding Initiative

Call for Organisation of Workshops

Do you wonder about your future career and want to develop appropriate skill sets that you cannot find a suitable workshop for at your institute or within Planck Academy? The Seminar group of the Max Planck PostdocNet opens up a call for you to organize workshops that meet your needs, right where it is needed. 

Target group: Postdocs of the MPG (including group leaders)

Workshop duration: 1-2 days

Topic and trainer are free to choose. Workshops can be held remotely or in a non-digital way according to the current regulations regarding the containment of the Corona virus. 

We in particular, but not exclusively, encourage you to propose workshops that aim to improve your skills that are directly related to your scientific work, such as programming courses, statistics and other forms of digital training.

Please send your concise workshop-proposals to the Seminar group at Therein, don’t forget to specify the need you see for the training, the expected group size, the expected expenses and, if already known, the trainer you would like to hire. Please make sure beforehand that the workshop in question is not already offered by the Planck Academy. The next deadline for application is 30 September.

Your Seminar group of the Max Planck PostdocNet

Bernadette Lessel, Martin Blaser, Pablo Ruiz de Olano, Yulia Borozdina, Yu-Xuan Lu

Illustration: rassco


Save the date: Max Planck PostdocNet Virtual General Meeting, October 7th-9th 2020

We are delighted to invite you to attend the General Meeting of Max Planck PostdocNet. It will be held virtually each day on the 7th to 9th Oct 2020, between 9:30am – 12:30pm.

If last year was about laying the foundation of PostdocNet, this year we have planned for you an exciting program which includes: a review of the past year’s progress/achievements, presentations from expert speakers who may be able to provide insight into postdoctoral issues and the election of a new steering group to take the PostdocNet forward over the next year. Furthermore, we have scheduled discussions with our working groups aiming to improve the Max Planck postdoctoral community and foster debate. This meeting is a unique opportunity for you to exchange ideas, share experiences/challenges and get to know other postdocs from all over Max Planck institutes. 

More information regarding the program and registration will follow but please save the date! If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

 We are looking forward to welcoming all of our old and new members this coming October 2020!

Yours, PostdocNet

Nota Bene:

·       You will need a stable internet connection, and at best a PC/laptop equipped with camera and microphone to gain the most out of this meeting.

·       Only if you are registered you will get access to the link for the event.

·       During the general meeting we will run elections. Please be aware that each institute has only one vote by one delegated individual (an officially elected PostdocNet representative automatically fulfils this role of delegated individual).

·       We will vote on the Statutes of the PostdocNet. All amendments will be sent around two weeks before the event. If you have any contributions until then please drop an email to the secretary group:


My Max Planck Postdoctoral Journey: Irina Velsko

Excellence Through Diversity: My Max Planck Postdoctoral Journey

Postdoctoral researchers are the pillars of research activities at the Max Planck Institutes all over the world. To better serve and promote our fellows, the PostdocNet (PDN) has invited some of them to share their thoughts and experiences of PDN. In this series of interviews, we explore what can be improved and achieved.

Irina Velsko , from the US, is presently a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Jena, Germany . Trained as an oral microbiologist, she is attracted to the research at the Max Planck Institute, and enjoys the freedom to pursue the projects most interesting to her. 

Here she shares her thoughts with the PostdocNet:

Why PostdocNet?

I heard about PosodocNet in an email from Yu-Xuan Lu (the co-founder and current spokesperson of PostdocNet) announcing it was starting up and asking for working group volunteers, and I have been involved with the Secretary Group since then. Several other universities I’ve worked at had postdoc societies, which offered both personal and professional development opportunities, support, networking, and other opportunities, and these are goals that the PostdocNet aims to achieve.

What is your favorite initiative in the PDN and why more postdocs need to participate

I am not directly involved in any of the initiatives, rather organization business with the Secretary Group. Our major goals have been to contact postdocs at every institute to spread awareness of the PDN, and to help the institutes set up elections for postdoc representatives. The PDN is a great way to build community for a career that can be quite isolated compared to grad school, where there’s more sense of community (the students come in as a cohort and take classes, and in the MPG there’s the PhDNet). The PDN can help develop community both locally, at the institutes, and nationally, across the institutes. 

What can we improve to better support the postdocs at MPG and to attract more fellows to join us?

The PDN is quite young, so now the best thing to do is keep spreading the word about it and to bring in volunteers to the working groups. And sharing progress updates from all PDN working and leading groups, so that all postdocs can see that we’re active and what we’re working on. People probably don’t participate because they don’t know exactly what the PDN is, meaning what we aim to achieve and how we’re working to achieve those goals. If keep working on how we can communicate those 2 points, we’ll have a better chance of convincing people to join.

What is your future plan and how the MPG and PDN experience get you prepared for it, if any?

I would like to stay in research, although whether that means in or out of academia is getting less clear as I go along. The MPG is a great place to do postdoc, because you can focus on your project without concerns about funding. Working with the PDN has been great for experience with bureaucracy and administration, which is otherwise outside of research training and experience.

What are your advices to the fresh and/or junior postdocs?

There is no structure like at a university, which can take some getting used to. My institute is only a few years old, which means there are lots of opportunities to start seminars, workshops, journal clubs, lectures, etc, but you have to put in the effort yourself. So if you want to start something, just start it and other people will join once they see something happening. There are a lot of resources in the MPG, they are just not always easy to find. Expect to do some aimless wandering as you develop your project, make sure you communicate expectations with your PI.

Edited by Yang Zhang

You are very welcome to share your story as a postdoc in MPG. Please just send your request to the Web/Social media working group ( and we will get back to you

Initiative Network

MPG Collective TeaTime

To all MPG-affiliates,

The Mental Health Collective of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft invites you to join their Collective TeaTime this Friday at 15:00!

Students, Postdocs, Staff, Faculty, … – any form of MPG affiliation – everyone is welcome!
Social isolation that comes along with the anti-pandemic measures in Germany can be really challenging for the mental and emotional stability, especially for folks stuck in a foreign country. But you are not alone, none of us is. The ollective decided to initiate a Collective TeaTime (inspired by GC4AMH) to share some good vibes, slow down busy minds and simply connect.
Join them for a drop-in virtual tea (or any other hot or cold beverage) this Friday at 15:00! Follow the link and join the meeting to share your ideas, thoughts and worries and discuss it with the others.

Follow them on Twitter:
Inspired by #DragonflyCafe by @GC4AMH


Postponed – Max Planck PostdocNet General Meeting in Berlin, 6-8 of May, 2020

Due to the development of the situation involving Coronavirus, we decided to postpone the PostdocNet General Meeting at Harnack-Haus, Berlin, 6-8 of May until further notice. We apologise for any inconveniences this decision might cause, but we care for your safety and hope for your understanding. We will come back to you as soon as we have the information regarding the new dates and place.
According to the Statutes of PostdocNet, the current Steering Group will continue performing their tasks until elections will take place at the General Meeting.

Best wishes and stay healthy,

We are delighted to invite you to attend the General Meeting of Max Planck PostdocNet. It will be held at Harnack-Haus, Berlin from 6 to 8 of May, 2020.

If last year was about laying the foundation of PostdocNet, this year we have planned for you an exciting programme. Review of last year achievements, presentations of expert speakers and election of the next steering group are on the programme. This is also a unique opportunity to exchange ideas, share your experience/challenges and meet other postdocs from all over Max Planck institutes. We will further organise the discussions of working groups that will help improving Max Planck postdoctoral community from the inside.

More information regarding the programme, accommodation and registration can be found on the event page: (registration open until 31 of March).

Please take into consideration that only a limited number of accommodations is available at the Harnack Haus and Seminaris Hotel – first comes, first serves. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us:

We are looking forward to welcome our old and new members in May 2020 in Berlin!




The story behind the new logo of Max Planck PostdocNet

After about a year of the PostdocNet founding meeting, the Steering Group of PostdocNet has decided to introduce a new logo for its network that keeps the “Max Planck” and “PostdocNet” with bringing a new network symbol. In fact, the new logo itself was shaped by the PostdocNet community which gave great feedback throughout the process, mirroring the best spirit of a support network.

A simple but eye-catching logo reflects spirits of the network

“The PostdocNet is a growing support network for the postdoc community of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) . To represent this interconnectedness, I chose a simple network graph, where links emerge from a central node forming branches that extend outwards,” explains by the logo designer, Bruno Vellutini from the MPI of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics

Bruno further describes the meanings behind the logo: “The links in the symbol always connect the inner nodes with the peripherical ones, which conveys the idea of an active and growing network. As the network grows, the branches organically interconnect providing stability and support for each other, which symbolizes the cooperative nature of the PostdocNet. In more practical terms, the new logo uses three colours to represent the three central elements: the postdocs (dark grey), the network concept (accent colour in vivid green) and the MPG (light grey).”

A new logo enhances the network identity

“The new logo is aiming to improve the identity of PostdocNet and strengthen the connection between the PostdocNet and the entire postdoc community,” spokesperson of the PostdocNet, Yu-Xuan Lu from the MPI for Biology of Ageing explains.

“Many thanks for all members of Steering Group and Working Groups, as well as postdocs in the community, the PostdocNet has been growing rapidly and has achieved more than I could imagine when we found the network. However, we are also encountering new challenges at the same time.” Yu-Xuan further says: “As the PostdocNet is going to have its ‘1st birthday’, to inform postdocs of initiatives that we are implementing on their behalf and get feedback from them has a high priority. In my view, a new logo that will enhance our identity is a key step towards to this goal.” 


Postdocs! It is time to openly talk about mental health

Being a postdoc is stressful. Many postdocs face the reality that they are far away from home, profoundly stressed and lonely, with little clue where to go for help.

The 7-11th October is Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) within MPIs across Germany! Initiated by the MPG PhDnet, this week aims to initiate structural changes within the Max Planck Society to provide efficient care for people in need and facilitate recovery. Over 50 MPIs have already signed up to organise events during the week! To find out more about what’s going on at your institute click here:

As one of the essential groups in PostdocNet, the Equality and Diversity Working Group considers the mental health is one of the core issues will be tackling, in addition to gender equality and work-life balance. To date, the group is creating a database of all the equal opportunities officers within MPIs, linking postdocs to mental health services appropriate for language, ethnicity and gender and providing support materials such as workshops and readers.

If you have any questions or would just like to get involved in what we do, feel free to reach out to the Equality and Diversity Working Group via:

Illustration: Yu-Xuan Lu