This is a guest post by our newly elected spokeswomen Dr. Marta Fereira Gomes (DRFZ) and Dr. Mine Altinli (BNITM).
Our Leibniz Postdoc Network had its 6th Annual Meeting on 16th and 17th of November achieving a record participation. After a short introduction by our spokesperson Marta Ferreira-Gomes (DRFZ), the first day started with Dr. Bettina Bohm’s welcome talk from the Leibniz Head office. In her talk, Dr. Böhm highlighted the appreciation the head office has for the activity and engagement of the Leibniz Postdoc Network, especially regarding current topics such as sustainability, working conditions, diversity and inclusion in science. A short update from the Network’s working groups provided the basis for further discussion during these two days of the annual meeting. We then continued with the keynote talk from Dr. Kristin Eichhorn about the #IchBinHanna campaign and related issues with the (in)famous Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG).
A lively Q&A session made it clear that everybody can contribute to this campaign by spreading the word and raising awareness while a newer version of the law is currently being drafted. We also debated what can be achieved at the Leibniz Institutes by establishing postdoc initiatives. To kick start the discussion, Christian Nehls (FZB), coordinator of our very own Public Communication & Advocacy working group, presented the story of the establishment of the Borstel Postdoc Initative at FZB and shared his experience as a representative. The following discussion in breakout rooms highlighted once more the similarities of the difficulties postdocs face even in different institutes, and that the communication between postdocs initiatives can help overcome these. The first day was concluded with a round table coordinated by Christian Nehls (FZB) and Gregor Kalinkat (IGB), participants of the interview series and members from the steering committee discussed what defines interdisciplinary research and what are the associated advantages/disadvantages (see also our new blog series).
The second day started with a fantastic recap of the first day agenda by our spokesperson Rajini Nagrani (BIPS) and short presentations from the Leibniz PhD Network, the Max Planck PostdocNet, the Coordination Group of Staff at Leibniz and the Workers Council of the Leibniz Association. The LPN thanks the networks and Leibniz Head office for their support and hopes to continue our collaborations in the coming year! Next up, Dr. Hanna Schade (IfADo) shared her insights on “Burnout among Junior Researchers” with us. She highlighted that we can put the theory into practice and balance demands to resources and effort to reward (job demands-resources model) to prevent burnout in academic work life. The importance of early recognition of burnout signs, talking to your colleagues and changing the scientific culture of “not quitting” and “workaholism” became clear both through her talk and the following Q&A session. To wrap up our annual meeting, the different working groups held breakout sessions where the participants became a part of the discussion. These discussions are essential to provide a basis for the next year’s initiatives and also to find new members who are interested in joining our work force. If you missed this session but are still interested in becoming a member of one of the working groups, do not hesitate the contact the WG coordinators! Last but not least, the spokesperson election was held, and Marta Ferreira-Gomes (DRFZ) and Mine Altinli (BNITM) were elected as the new spokesperson of the Leibniz Postdoc Network. We thank the LPN steering committee and alumni for all their hard work and the Leibniz postdoc community for their active participation. We are both very excited and looking forward to working together with the steering committee, WG members and the Leibniz Head Office for better working conditions for all!
All the best from the newly elected LPN Spokespersons, Marta and Mine