Trust me, I’m a postdoc

23 February 2018

Despite the diversity of fields in which they work, VIB’s postdocs also have a lot in common with each other. That’s why connecting on both a scientific and a personal level with your colleague, yields nothing but advantages: you get to share knowledge, discuss your career path and make friends for life. VIB is keen to develop the postdoc community across all centers, an initiative spearheaded by the Postdoc Committee (PDC).

What is the postdoc committee?
The postdoc committee (PDC) currently consists of 15 scientists from across the VIB centers. Originally from Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Italy, Bulgaria, the US, India and Australia, they represent a diverse group of postdocs with many different experiences. Chairperson Petya Georgieva (VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology): “The aim of the committee is bridging the gap between the centers – both in terms of location and research fields, to create a true community”.

The members regularly meet to discuss ideas and organize scientific and social events throughout the year, such as the recent workshop on collaboration, the postdoc community session during the annual VIB Seminar and, of course, the annual Postdoc Day. You can connect with the Postdoc Community, engage in discussions and keep up to date with upcoming events by following the Facebook page .

Postdoc Day 2017: the transience of being a postdoc.
A great way to meet fellow postdocs and step outside your natural habitat is the community’s main annual event: The VIB Postdoc Day. This year’s 3rd edition, held on October 12, 2017 at Sportoase, Leuven, concentrated on career opportunities outside academia and featured sessions on industry, entrepreneurship, and communication and policy.

From the sessions and debate, PDC members Inge van Molle (VIB-VUB Center for Structural Biology) and Charlotte Scott (VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research) gathered some tips for postdocs aspiring to industrial careers:

  • Don’t hesitate to apply, even if you don’t meet all of the criteria on the job application. Practical skills and a positive mindset are more important than years of industry experience.
  • Follow courses to acquire new skills and show your dedication to personal development. The VIB training program offers courses on a wide variety of topics.
  • Get to know the people on the inside, and try to gain insight into the company you’re applying at.
  • Although solid preparation is crucial, rest assured that, like with most things in life, you’ll learn by doing: your fifth interview will be better than your first.

Overall, the day was well-received by the 124 attendees, a new record for the VIB Postdoc day. Petya Georgieva: “The PDC was very happy about both the number of registered attendees and the feedback we received. Looking ahead to 2018, we would be happy to hear any suggestions for the 4th Postdoc Day.”

Front row (from left to right): Charlotte Scott, Rita Cacace, Emanuela Pasciuto, Inge Van Molle and Antonella Fioravanti
Second row (from left to right): Astrid Gadeyne,
Dieter Demon, Bert Schepens, Vinoy Vijayan, Petya Georgieva and Maria Dzialo
Back row (from left to right): Francis Santens, Jos Wendrich and Kris Pauwels