The Onboarding Working Group

Onboarding Working Group

The goal of the Onboarding Working Group is to provide a Welcome Package for new postdocs, and to initiate an onboarding program that makes arrival in the MPG and in Germany easier for all postdocs.

Workgroup history: In 2019, at the PostdocNet Founding Meeting in Harnack-Haus Berlin, it became apparent that many postdocs had a hard time finding resources to know about their employment rights, salaries and their entitled social benefits including health insurance. International postdocs in particular found German bureaucracy very overwhelming and sometimes confusing. To help postdocs know their rights, the Social Rights Working Group was formed in 2019. At the 2021 PostdocNet General Assembly, we restructured the social rights working group and created the Onboarding Group with the goal of familiarizing postdocs about the German social system as well as MPG rules and guidelines.


What are our goals?

Our goal is to ensure that all MPG postdocs and their families have a smooth start and pleasant journey in MPG and in Germany. To achieve this, we are currently working on two independent projects:

  1. PostdocNet Welcome Package 

  2. Buddy Program


  1. PostdocNet Welcome Package:

The Welcome Package aims to provide a concise and transparent guide of German Social Security System (e.g. health insurance, unemployment, taxation, pension, and parental leave), the German Salary Scheme System, as well as differences between contracts, stipends, and fellowships.

In addition, we are also collaborating with human resources and postdocs in MPI- Neuroscience in Florida, USA to create a similar package for our MPG colleagues in USA. The Welcome Package will be handed over to new postdocs by their supervisor, institute international officer, or postdoc coordinator ideally before signing the first contract.


  1. Postdoc Buddy Program:

We understand that being a postdoc can be a bit lonely, especially when you start in a new country and do not speak the language. To ensure that your journey, especially in terms of your personal life in Germany will be pleasant, we are launching a trial Buddy Program in 2 MPIs, with the goal of matching new (international) postdocs with senior postdocs to help newcomers and their families settle into the new environment.


Who are we? We are a group of 5 international MPG postdocs:

Rana Amini (MPI-CBG, Dresden)
Amanda de Azevedo-Lopes (MPI-EvolBio, Plön)
Maria Jose Olvera Caltzontzin (MPFI, USA)
Mariana Monteiro de Matos (MPG-eth, Halle)
Vishwanath Varma (MPI-AB, Konstanz)


Do you want to join our team? E-mail us at

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