Prospective Postdocs

ISTA Postdoc Philosophy

The postdoc phase is essential in a scientist’s career during which you develop new skills, broaden your research portfolio, and expand your scientific network. Researchers who aim for a career in academia need to become leading experts in their field acknowledged by their scientific community and by a publication record that testifies their contributions to the advancement of their field. Such challenging demands call for the right environment and support!

A postdoc position at ISTA gives you as an early career scientist the chance to grow professionally, while not yet shouldering the responsibilities of a research group leader. ISTA allows you to focus on what is most important during this time: doing fundamental research on the highest possible level.

We bring together faculty, facilities, and support to help you develop the skills necessary for your next career step. Postdocs interact closely with colleagues from different fields through joint projects and events, have access to state-of-the art facilities, and are encouraged, but not required to teach. Small research groups (15 people or less) guarantee that you are in close contact with your professor(s). In addition, you benefit from a rich training program that helps you to acquire the relevant skills needed for your subsequent career move.

Our recommendations for a successful postdoc experience

  1. Carefully think which lab to choose for your postdoc experience – Is the lab a good scientific fit for you to develop an independent research profile? Are you a good fit to the lab and ISTA?
  2. Make sure to work with a supportive advisor who will advance your career.
  3. Find a good mentor and make sure to benefit from our mentoring program for postdocs.
  4. Broaden your knowledge and experience base – choose a research group that will widen your horizon and make use of our interdisciplinary environment.
  5. Learn to be effective – we offer time and project management and (self-)leadership workshops to help you achieve that.
  6. If your career goal is to stay in academia, make sure you acquire enough teaching experience – our Graduate School provides teaching opportunities. In addition, try to get individual funding and learn how to apply for grants – our Grant Office is very experienced and happy to support you.
  7. Make yourself known to the relevant scientific communities via attending conferences, visiting other institutions and improving your networking skills. 
  8. Be mindful about things in life you enjoy – Academia can be challenging in terms of (self-)expected workload. Do not forget to devote time to family, friends and hobbies and do not be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or stressors get out of control. 
  9. Start preparing for your next career move early on – our career planning workshops and 1-1 career meetings will help you to make the right decision.