Career Development for Postdocs: Science and the Alternatives

Course schedule

Dates Start time End time Location Coordinator registrations
Assessments in week 13; Workshop 3 and 10 April; Coaching sessions in week 17 09:00 17:00 Impulse building, Wageningen campus Miriam van Heist 12 / 12 Add to waiting list
Assessments in week 38; Workshop 25 Sept and 2 Oct 2024; coaching sessions week 42 09:30 17:00 Impulse building, Wageningen campus Miriam van Heist 5 / 12 Apply

Course description

Postdocs usually start their scientific career hoping that they will be able to obtain a permanent position after completing some temporary contracts. Unfortunately, permanent positions are limited, and the competition is fierce. Therefore, at a certain point Postdocs will have to ask themselves if they want to continue pursuing a scientific career, or to consider alternative possibilities outside academia. Experience shows that not only this decision is difficult to make by yourself, but the idea of letting go of a career in which you have invested so much time and effort can be frightening. Especially if you do not know what a suitable alternative could be.

The Wageningen Graduate Schools (WGS) offers a program to Postdocs who may find themselves at such a crossroads, allowing them to reflect on their career perspectives as scientists through an analysis of both their professional and personal strengths and weaknesses. The program addresses professional opportunities and challenges, as well as the competencies needed to successfully present oneself on the job market (either within or outside of the academic field). In the event that a program participant is open to alternative career opportunities, s/he will also receive support re-assessing her/his career plan.

More specifically, the programme addresses:

  • What are my main drivers / ambitions in my life and career?
  • Do I have what it takes to reach my professional ambitions?
  • If not, can these be developed?
  • What alternative possibilities might also suit me?
  • Making a strategy and plan of action

General Information

Target Group: Postdocs
Group size: Max. 12 participants
Course duration:

Phase 1: Career assessment: individual tests, with meeting (for dates see schedule)

Phase 2: 2-day workshop career training

Phase 3: Individual coaching sessions (for dates see schedule)

Language:  English
Self-study hours: 13
Name trainers: Caroline Rehbach (Hertz Training for Scientists) and Jessica Tummers (Meijer and Meijaard)
Venue: Wageningen Campus

Programme and Intended Results

The programme consists of threeparts that are equally important:

  1. An individual Career Assessment
    For the assessment the participants will take a personality test and a 360 degree feedback test on competences. The tests are available online and afterwards you will have a one-on-one meeting with a coach to discuss the results. This meeting will take 1,5 hoursParticipants will have a better understanding of their personal characteristics and insight in their own competences, their strengths and their points of development. The next step is to identify their personal preference of work style and working environment. This will function as the compass on which they can rely with identifying their next career moves.
  2. A 2-day career training 
    Throughout the training participants will engage in exercises that give better insight in their personal assets; personality, ambition/motivation, competences, values, challenges and opportunities. Furthermore we will focus on different strategies to determine a career path that enables you to live up to your full potential. Networking and the need to communicate one’s career objectives are also an important part of the training. 
  3. An individual coaching session At the end of the programme, participants will be offered extra support in drawing up a more elaborate, effective plan of action, in the form of an individual coaching session of 1 hour.

At the end of this course the participants will:

  • Be able to identify themselves from different perspectives; personality, competences and values
  • Have looked into their academic career opportunities and considered alternative career choices as well
  • Be able to communicate about themselves and present themselves in an effective way.
  • Have practised networking
  • Have made an personal action plan for their career development

Fee 1)

  ON-SITE 2)
Reduced fee: Postdocs of Wageningen University who are registered at one of the WU graduate schools € 375,-
University fee: All other postdocs  € 900,-

1) Fee includes study and training material as well as coffee/tea and lunches
2) The training will be held at Wageningen Campus

Cancellation condition

You may cancel free of charge up to four weeks before the start of the course. After this date you will be charged the University fee. Unless:

  • You can find someone to replace you in the course and supply the course coordinator with the name and contact information of your replacement.
    In this case you will only be charged a € 50,- cancellation fee.
  • You (PhDs and postdocs of Wageningen University) have a valid reason to cancel (illness or death in the family 1st or 2nd degree).
    In this case you will be charged the reduced fee and your supervisor/PI must send a mail indicating the reason for cancellation.


For more information please contact