On April 3rd 2019, the RTG fellows gathered for a workshop on possible future career perspectives for researchers. The organization team opted for a workshop in two parts: the first sessions would introduce conventional paths within the academic sector; the latter were dedicated to broader possibilities, overseas and in the NGO sector.
Hannah Spahn kickstarted with a proper follow-up of a fellowship: the post-doc position in German academia. She offered a detailed account of what grant applications should encompass and precious insight into the work of reviewers. Senior members of the Research Training Group also illustrated her statements with concrete examples from their own career.
Mary Montemayor then showed the fellows that a humanities background could also lead to key positions in natural sciences. Her experience as a scientific manager for the Institute of Molecular Biology in Mainz provided a springboard for this argument. Montemayor revealed that administrative and social skills acquired by researchers in the humanities could contribute to new dynamics for research in sectors that seemed diametrically opposed. Her presentation led to lively discussion on the status of those positions and the actual influence of scientific management departments in terms of academic content.
Rouven Sperling from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) introduced facts and figures on the work of their researchers and teachers appointed all over the world. This global network indeed boasts of 15 regional offices in partner countries offering more than 400 lectureships at instiutions of higher education abroad.
Finally, Uwe Prüfer from the Potsdam-based Alliance for NGOs in Brandenburg (VENROB e.V.) introduced the fellows to the steps that lead to the creation of an NGO in Germany. Even though he gave a rather pessimistic overview of the situation of NGOs in Germany, especially due to its precarious status, he encouraged the participants to contribute to a professionalization of non-profit initiatives by keeping their ears open towards possible grants made available for political and educational initiatives. Montemayor added that the range of skills that she herself acquired has proven beneficial in her activist work. Activists with academic and administrative experience can indeed contribute to creating job opportunities in non-profit work.