From doctorate to professorship: Career paths starting in Berlin

Those who have already earned a doctorate can also benefit from the cooperative institutions in Berlin, including the graduate schools supported by the German Excellence Initiative and the research training groups and programs for graduates. Even though most of the support provided by these institutions tends to focus on doctoral candidates and their research, almost all of them also have space for postdoctoral fellows. Some, like the Berlin Mathematical School (BMS), even have a “postdoctoral faculty.” Its members make an important contribution to the courses offered at BMS and within the departments of mathematics at Technische Universität Berlin, Freie Universität, and Humboldt-Universität, the school’s host institutions.

Postdocs not only pursue their own research agenda, but also actively participate in the program by making their own contributions to the curriculum and through other activities, such as inviting colleagues to participate in discussions and hold talks. They also function as a point of contact for doctoral candidates and can even assume shared responsibility for their dissertation projects under the candidates’ supervision agreements.

Because they are affiliated with jointly hosted graduate institutions, postdocs also receive access to the departments at participating universities, so they can use the existing research infrastructure there, including libraries and large-scale equipment, along with their far-reaching networks of research and exchange relationships.

Junior scholars and scientists who are between doctoral studies and the professorship level will find that Berlin offers many ways to pursue further education and development. The various graduate programs and three umbrella organizations – the Dahlem Research School (DRS), Humboldt Graduate School, and TU-DOC, the body that provides doctoral and postdoctoral services at Technische Universität Berlin – support mutual networking through a wide range of events and offer many options for obtaining skills and education in the areas of research management, academic teaching, and career advancement. In the future, the alliance partners plan to coordinate the support they offer for junior scholars and scientists even more closely and expand on these services.