Initiative Network News

Interview with the PostdocNet

Our current Spokesperson, Marta Porniece-Kumar, was recently interviewed for the MPG-wide Career Development newsletter. You can check out the interview here.


Max Planck PostdocNet General Meeting 2021

The Max Planck PostdocNet General Meeting 2021 will take place on 17, 18, and 19 of November. Please see below for the program with confirmed speakers.

To connect to the meeting, please use the details below:

Zoom Meeting link:

Meeting ID: 891 6334 4662
Passcode: 362750

November 17

9.00am — Participants join for a brief technology check
9.30am — Opening address by Dr. Asifa Akhtar
9.40am — Remarks by the organizers and plan for the Annual Meeting
10.15am — Talk by Prof. Bernhard Keimer, chairman of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society
11.00am — Talk by Drs. Gabriele Bixel, Hana Gründler, and Eduardo Ros, speakers of the Scientific Staff Representatives of the 3 Sections
11.30am — Talk by the PostdocNet Steering Group: update on our activities, projects, and causes over the past 1 year

November 18

9.30am — Participants join for brief organisational discussions and technology checks
9.45am — Talk by Tobias Rasse and Ilka Schießler-Gäbler, contact persons for PostdocNet at the Max Planck Society General Administration
10.30am — Hustings for the positions of Steering Group members
11.00am — Talk by Lina Schaare and Jacob Davidson (PostdocNet Equality & Diversity Working Group) and Frauke Logermann (Max Planck Society Talent, Gender, & Diversity officer)
12.00pm — Talk by Yu-Xuan Lu (PostdocNet Career Development Working Group)
12.30pm — Talk by Anne Grewlich-Gercke (Max Planck Society Human Resources & Strategic Innovation)

November 19

9.30am — Participants join for brief organisational discussions and technology checks
9.45am — Talk by Lydia Repke and Steve Doo (Leibniz PostDoc Network)
10.00am — Talk by Anita Nasrallah (EPFL)
10.15am — Announcing the results from the Steering Group election
10.30am — Hustings and elections for Working Group leaders
11.00am — The future of the postdoc: Discussion
12.00am — Summary and closing remarks

Network News Work groups

New Online Seminar Series

New IDEA seminar series: Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, and Awareness

The PostdocNet Equality and Diversity working group hosts a monthly seminar and discussion series on topics relating to equal opportunity and diversity, within the postdoctoral community and beyond.

Find more information about the seminar series here, and learn more about the Equality and Diversity working group here.



Dear colleagues, we have established a monthly newsletter where we inform you about the current activities of Steering Group, Working Groups, and important news from Headquarters and our collaborators.


January 2021 Newsletter

Initiative News

Photo competition

In order to bring something positive to these lockdown times, we are announcing a photo competition titled “Home office”!

Please send us a photo of life in your home office and a caption you wouldlike to give to by Thursday, January 27.

All the photos will be posted on our Instagram page. The three photos which collect the most likes until the end of January will be awarded book gifts. All the other participants will receive PostdocNet promotional materials.

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

PostdocNet ZOOM Conference

SAVE THE DATE!!! – 9th JUNE (15:00)

In light of the continued postponement of the PostdocNet annual general meeting (tba) and as an update to our previous conference call, the PostdocNet Steering Group welcomes you to attend a conference zoom call with us.

We can summarise this in the following discussion topics:

1) Update on the coronavirus situation
2) Update on current actions of PostdocNet Steering Group and Working Groups 
3) Update on PostdocNet Annual General meeting 
4) Questions/AOB

We would like to also use this chance to inform you that the current PostdocNet Steering Group will finish its terms as soon as we can organise a general meeting and elections. We need new Steering Group members!If you are keen to be part of the future Steering group, don’t hesitate to grab the occasion to ask us what being steering group member entails. Otherwise, feel free to contact us ay any time. 

You can contact us via for more information.

Best wishes, and hope to speak to you soon!

PostdocNet Steering Group

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