Making a great postdoc program even better with our member states

EIPOD fellowships programme adds new collaborative dimension with increased participation from our member state organisations and focus on interdisciplinary research that explores ‘life in context’

Two scientists in a lab conversing
Current EIPOD fellows Katharina Jungnickel and Kirill Kovalev. Credit: Kinga Lubowiecka/EMBL

EMBL’s already highly successful postdoc programme is about to get even better.

The newest iteration of EIPOD, EIPOD-Exploring Life in Context (EIPOD-LinC), has begun accepting applications. This latest version of the EIPOD programme offers the opportunity for supported postdocs to split their time between EMBL labs and other research organisations, industry, or clinics in EMBL’s member states.

EMBL interdisciplinary postdocs receive contracts to work on three-year research projects that build on highly interactive research between various research groups across EMBL’s six sites. They can also work in an EMBL group together with another research group situated in an EMBL member state. The fellowship programme is embedded in EMBL’s multidisciplinary environment and has been established through bottom-up approaches, where potential fellows reach out to EMBL group leaders during the application process to find the right research home for their work.  An increased member state focus this year adds additional expertise to the experience, expanding the types of research projects possible while fostering EMBL’s collaborative research network in its member states. 

“Fellows with a member state partner will spend at least three months in the respective laboratory; however, they can extend this period up to a year,” said Brenda Stride, EMBL’s postdoctoral programme manager and Deputy Head of Internal Scientific Training. “Those who spend a full year at a partner institute will automatically qualify for a 6-month fellowship extension.” 

Candidates can decide how to split their time, spending one big block of time in the partner laboratory or dividing it into multiple visits. They will receive travel funding for this purpose.

EIPOD-LinC supports EMBL’s 2022-26 programme, Molecules to Ecosystems, which provided the impetus for the EIPOD programme’s reshaping.  Candidates are expected to develop an interdisciplinary project that explores life in context with the aim of contributing to developing solutions for some of society’s biggest problems, such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and development of antibiotic resistance. Towards this end, projects may also fit into some of EMBL’s new transversal themes, such as planetary biology, human ecosystems, or infection biology.

One of the EIPOD programme’s major goals is for fellows to develop new research and transferable skills to support their career development. “EIPOD-LinC fellows will have the opportunity to do elective training, based on their career ambitions and interests,” said Monika Lachner, Head of Internal Scientific Training. “Besides two mandatory trainings on research integrity and open science and data management, they can choose additional trainings from a broad range of topics, such as further scientific training and other complementary scientific skills.”

Selected participants will also complete public engagement activities, including contributing to activities that EMBL’s new Science Education and Public Engagement (SEPE) office organises. Additionally, they will receive guidance from the EMBL Fellows’ Career Service, which offers access to individual counselling, career resources, and workshops.

“I am really excited to see this strong focus on collaborative research between EMBL and experts in our member states, which is in line with EMBL’s overarching goals for its new programme,” said EMBL’s Director General Edith Heard. “Despite the ongoing crisis, we felt it was important to launch this small postdoc programme now, as it nurtures trans-member state collaborations which are so important for the future of European science.”

The call for EIPOD-LinC is now open, and applications will be accepted through 18 January 2023. An informational webinar took place in October that is now available online. Applicants are encouraged to view it for further tips on completing their EIPOD applications and to reach out to the EIPOD office with open questions (eipod@embl.org).

Tags: eipod, member state, postdoc


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