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Research & Career Skills for PhD students and Postdocs

In addition to the qualifications specific to a profession, other abilities also play an important role when it comes to successfully planning one’s career and life.

In the PIER Education Platform, we offer a comprehensive research and career skills curriculum with workshops, trainings and networking opportunities for young researchers.

The curriculum is tailor-made for PhD students and Postdocs and focuses on the needs in the respective stage of the individual research projects - from research effectiveness for first year PhD students to career and leadership training for postdoctoral researchers. For the latest workshops and soft skills courses see the list below or the announcements in the news sections of this website.

Communicating Science

Here you find everything on how to communicate your science and research effectively, from writing scientifc articles to grant writing, but also illustration, presentation and teaching. However, science can and should not only be communicated within your field: outreach activities and PR become increasingly important for research facilities and the whole field of Science Communication is growing rapidly. So communicating your science on a blog, vlog, podcast or science slam as well as on social media might not only be fun but potentially opens up alternative career paths.

Here you can see what is currently offered in this section:

Science Communication II: Podcast: 21 + 24 September 2021

PIER PhD Seminar 2021 (Autumn): 29 September + 6 +13 + 20 + 27 October + 10 + 17 November

Presentation skills: 6 + 7 October 2021

Tweet or Perish: Science Communication: 27 October 2021

Public Engagement as a Key to Successful Proposal Writing: 28 + 29 October 2021

Visualize it! Graphic Design for Scientists: 1 - 3 November 2021

Career Development

Here we offer events that might help in orientation along your career as a scientist. Whether you stay in academia or transition to industry, your CV, cover letter, job interview and negotiation skills matter and our trainers might help you with this. It is also crucial to understand the academic landscape in Germany and beyond, so our information events might help you to perform best.

In this section we currently offer:

Workshop: "How to apply successfully": 8 + 17 September 2021

Talk: "Motivation & Procrastination": 20 October 2021

HRA Spotlight Bahrenfeld: Funding Opportunities in the Postdoctoral Phase: 2 November 2021

HRA Spotlight Bahrenfeld: Turning your Research Idea into a Proposal: 1 December 2021

HRA Spotlight Bahrenfeld: Mental Wellbeing in Research and Academia: 19 January 2022

HRA Spotlight Bahrenfeld: Academic Career Planning for Early Career Researchers: 9 February 2022


Coordination and Management

In the careers of most scientists, management skills are quite important. These might range from self and time management, over stress and conflict management to solid project management. Optimizing your teamwork and networking abilities can boost your career substantially. Most later stage career paths inside and outside academia also involve leadership tasks like supervision and advising, including good scientific practice. As a leader in science, being sensitized to topics such as interculturality, gender and diversity as well as sexual harassment is crucial. Basics of entrepreneurship are particularly valuable when you consider to enter the world of start-ups.

We currently offer in this section:

Communication and Conflicts: 12 weekly short sessions, starting 6 October 2021

Talk: "Unconscious Bias": 13 October 2021

Communication and conflict management: 21-22 October 2021


Mastering a certain range of software is critical for every scientist. However, handling tools for data analysis and programming are often not part of core curricula. Thus we regularly cover topics on Linux, Python, Matlab, C++ and more ranging form introductory courses to more specific topics like machine learning or quantum computing.

This is our current program:

Python basics: 25-26 October 2021

Machine Learning with Python: 6-8 December 2021

The workshops are usually one-day courses for a maximum number of 15 participants and are offered once or twice a year. The trainers are carefully selected experts with many years of experience in teaching scientists. Most of the workshops are open for PhD students and Postdocs.

All workshops listed above are part of the PIER Education Platform (PEP) for career, research and soft skills. The workshops in PEP are open for PhD students of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School and its cooperation partners on Bahrenfeld Campus/DESY. PEP is a cooperation of the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School, the Quantum Universe Research School QURS, and the Research School of the Hamburg Center for Ultrafast Imaging / Advanced Imaging of Matter CUI/AIM.
PhD students from other affiliated research centers such as DASHH, the Collaborative Research Center SFB 925, the International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging & Structural Dynamics IMPRS-UFAST, the Centre for Structural Systems Biology CSSB, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL may also participate upon request.

IT training at DESY:

DESY offers IT training for its staff and PhD students with a DESY affiliation. In order to register, you need to have a DESY account to log on. See here for more details and course registration.

Skills training at DESY Education (DESY Fortbildung)

DESY Education also offers transferable skills courses and workshops. Target group are DESY staff, but doctoral students or visting scientists are also welcome. The course overview is accessible for all users with a DESY account. More information at DESY Education.

Workshops and career training outside Bahrenfeld campus:

CAREER CENTER The Career Center at Universität Hamburg sees itself as a service provider, guiding tudents and graduates (who graduated less than 2 years ago) in preparing for and setting out on their careers: Career Center Universität Hamburg

The Career Development Cycle is a programme of the Universität Hamburg HR department open for all PhD students, Postdocs and Junior PIs at UHH. The events of the career development cycle help you clarify your goals, plan how you mean to achieve these, further yourself, and advance in your career. Professional goals can relate to either your current position or a future role. Universität Hamburg also offers other qualification options such as individual advising services and short information events, called Food for Thought. More information on the Career Development Cycle.

Hamburger Zentrum für Universitäres Lehren und Lernen (HUL) offers a regular programme on good teaching practice for all researchers with teaching duties at Universität Hamburg, including PhD students. Most of the courses (and the registration site) are in German, but once or twice per year HUL also offers courses and workshops for English speakers: Information and registration.

The Hamburg Research Academy (HRA) is the central port of call for doctoral candidates, doctoral students, and postdoctoral researchers at nine higher education institutions in Hamburg. HRA offers career support and training: More information on the HRA program.

Queries and suggestions
PIER Office
Mirko Siemssen

Jennifer Popp
Particle and Astroparticle Physics
Leonardo Ranasinghe
Linda Vanessa Thesing
Photon Science
Ángel Ferran Pousa
Event Calendar
21 Jan. 2021 to 25 Nov. 2021
Chaired by: Thomas Tschentscher (European XFEL) ; Changbum Kim (PAL-XFEL) et al.
Location: Zoom
14 Sep. 2021 to 12 Oct. 2021
Chaired by: Theresa Schredelseker (PIER (Partnership for Innovation, Education and Research))
Location: link will follow
Room: online
20 Sep. 2021 to 24 Sep. 2021
Speaker: Sarif Khan (Goettingen University) ; Christoph Nega (BCTP, University of Bonn) et al.
Location: DESY Hamburg
Room: Main Auditorium
21 Sep. 2021 to 24 Sep. 2021
Chaired by: Theresa Schredelseker (PIER (Partnership for Innovation, Education and Research))
Location: link will follow
Room: online
21 Sep. 2021 to 24 Sep. 2021
Location: DESY
Room: Building 2a, Seminar Room 2
21 Sep. 2021 - 09:00
Location: DESY
Room: Auditory
21 Sep. 2021 - 13:00
Chaired by: Arwen Pearson ; Annika Margaretha Schonefeld (UNI/CUI (The Hamburg Centre for Ultrafast Imaging))
Location: 610
21 Sep. 2021 - 13:15
Speaker: Tobias Pohlmann (DESY)
24 Sep. 2021 - 10:00
Chaired by: Andreas Voss (concis Group!)
Location: Zoom
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