Career tips for scientists

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Five alumni, five questions: question 5

What advice would you give other researchers for their career planning?

Pooja Dwivedi

Take a small step towards a big goal. A new generation of researchers is a key driver of innovation and learning in academia and the most important resource for skills transfer in the modern knowledge society. Young researchers occupy a central position when it comes to developing and using knowledge and skills in an open, unbiased attitude towards people and ideas.

If you want to work on first-class, independent research projects in an inspiring environment, you should apply for a . The , for example, is a great opportunity to conduct independent research on pressing environmental issues in Germany with the help of your host institute. It offers excellent insights in a variety of fields. You define your area of interest and then work out your idea and create a project outline. My advice to young researchers is to develop your own project idea. Brainstorming is the first step to achieving something in the field of research. It is very important to clarify what you want to achieve with your project. Once you have your project idea, design your steps and methods to achieve your goals within the time frame.

Find out if you can be hosted at a university or research lab and contact the appropriate researcher(s). In my opinion, it is not critical that the person does the exact research you want. It is more important to find someone who might be interested in what you want to do and who has the general competence to lead this type of work. After you receive confirmation from a host, you can apply for the fellowship. It is a life-changing opportunity for anyone from a developing country to work on impactful research.

Olufemi Ernest Ojo

Researchers should be keen to identify the needs of the society and design their research to solve these needs. They should be flexible, ready to adapt and prepared to embrace changes in order to remain relevant. Regular participation in scientific conferences and for learning and sharing of knowledge is important to their career advancement and personal development. Young researchers should submit themselves to and seek collaborations beyond their immediate localities.

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Here you can find the .

Rasha Hanafi

Traveling in short or long research stays is a backbone in self development, at the scientific, social and spiritual level. Having one goal for a set period of time is key to success. I also advice them to open up to people from different countries and to have a cosmopolitan spirit without sacrificing own beliefs. is a treasure, exchange is enlightening and human interaction is the most enriching experience one can have.

If you travel with family (in one of my stays i traveled with my two daughters who were 12 and 14 years old at the time), let your kids learn the language of the country, engage them to youth courses and youth activities so that they also benefit from your research stay at their personal level. My daughters keep saying that Tuebingen is their second home town till now, while they are 23 and 21 years old. They decided to travel to France alone to pursue their university studies because they learned while young to be independent and outgoing and bear responsibility. For this, as a mother, I thank Germany and its funding agencies so much.

Germán Molpeceres

The most important piece of advice that I have to give to other researchers is that they develop their own projects and ideas. Find the topic that marvels you and progress on it, with the help of collaborators.

Choosing a suitable host for your career is key to succeeding in that goal. I will always be grateful to my host in Stuttgart, Prof. Kästner, for the excellent balance that we found between scientific freedom and skill transfer.

Patrick Opoku

I want to advice other researchers to build a strong in thier field  by attending relevant networking such as conferences, workshops, and seminars. Collaboration with colleagues can lead to new opportunities, facilitate knowledge exchange, and enhance research output. Second, research can be demanding, both intellectually and emotionally. Hence, reseachers must take care of thier physical and mental well-being while . Prioritize self-care and maintain a healthy work-life balance. They must  also regularly reassess their goals, adapt to new opportunities, and be open to change. Enjoy the journey and stay passionate about thier research endeavors.

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