The DZNE Career Center

Support for your career development

The PhD and – especially – postdoc phase are central career phases in which researchers acquire important scientific skills and make decisions regarding their next career steps. The DZNE wishes to offer its doctoral researchers and postdocs the best possible support in these key career phases – and thereby help them become outstanding researchers with national and international visibility.

The establishment of the DZNE Career Center is being supported by an initiative of the Helmholtz Association's Initiative and Networking Fund.

The DZNE Career Center assists junior researchers in career development, by offering information and support and by serving as a point of contact for all career-related issues.

For example, its programs include an extensive program of workshops designed to prepare the DZNE's early career researchers in the best possible way for their next career steps. The Career Center's information offers are available to all doctoral researchers and postdocs with DZNE employment contracts. Its wide-ranging program of workshops is available to DZNE postdocs and to DZNE doctoral researchers in at least the 3rd year of their doctoral program.

The workshop offerings include topics relative to the development of generic competencies for scientific careers and to career planning.

In the following, we present a few of the DZNE Career Center's programs, by way of example.

Workshop programs

The DZNE Career Center's workshop program covers a wide range of topics: In addition to workshops on diverse topics such as grant writing, self-presentation and women in science, the Career Center offers workshops in which participants actively apply agile methods and thereby acquire valuable career-relevant, interdisciplinary methodological skills. In one workshop, for example, participants apply design thinking methods to their own career planning.

The ability to acquire third-party funding plays an essential role in junior researchers' career development. In addition to the various workshops on grant writing, the DZNE carries out an annual "Grant Writing Bootcamp", in cooperation with the dementia foundation Deutsche Demenzhilfe. The bootcamp comprises intensive workshops in which participants refine their own research ideas, with innovation-management methods and with guidance from DZNE Principal Investigators (PIs), and then, in a second workshop section, learn how to write successful applications for third-party funding. At the conclusion of their bootcamp, participants have the opportunity to put their completed grant applications to real-world use, by submitting them to Deutsche Demenzhilfe's "Innovative Minds" program. Grants within that program provide an initial financial basis for innovative research projects that can generate pilot data and/or lead to a large-scale application for third-party funding. Overall, the effort is aimed at promoting innovative ideas of DZNE postdocs and at helping DZNE postdocs develop their own scientific profiles with respect to their future academic/research careers.

Career planning

The DZNE Career Center conducts individual career development meetings with the aim of assisting junior researchers at the DZNE in reflecting on their career situation and structuring their next career steps.

In addition, it offers online seminars and multi-day workshops in which participants meet with other postdocs and doctoral researchers for an intensive look at topics relative to their own career planning – topics such as planning for an academic career, or career opportunities in the area of science management.

Information about academic and non-academic career paths

The Career Center issues regular newsletters that inform doctoral researchers and postdocs at the DZNE about current workshops, dates and key career-related topics.

Also, the Center offers "Career Talks," which present selected career paths and offer participants the opportunity to interact directly with persons who are already working in areas they are considering.

In addition, plans for the Career Center's further development call for the establishment of an online information platform that will present the numerous career opportunities available within and outside of the science sector, as well as various available eLearning programs.

Other support offers

  • Technology transfer: Supports scientists at the DZNE, including doctoral researchers and postdocs, regarding questions about inventions, patent protection, technology transfer strategies and cooperation with external partners.
  • Grant Office: Provides support regarding questions about national and international funding and application procedures, as well as advising regarding specific funding options for research projects.
  • Library and Information Service (LIS): Provides a wide range of resources, including eBooks; articles and eLearning units relative to publication topics; databases; and information management.

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