DFG Provides Advice at Postdoctoral Workshops in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro

For the third time, the DFG Office Latin America attended workshops for Brazilian postdoctoral candidates hosted by the universities of the University Alliance Ruhr, the University of Münster, the Technical University of Munich and the Free University of Berlin.

For the workshop in São Paulo on 9 May 2017, they were supported by the German House for Research and Innovation São Paulo and the Goethe-Institut, where the event also took place. In addition to the locally based representatives of the DFG, of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the aforementioned universities, experts in early career support from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) in Germany were also invited.

Around 50 participants from different areas attended the workshop in Sao Paulo


The audience from all fields was therefore able to see a good cross section of research options at German universities. The issue of research funding is of great significance to many postdoctoral researchers, which meant that not only the universities' presentations, but also the talks by Dr. Simone Heil, AvH, and Christiane Wolf, DFG, were met with considerable interest. The AvH's individual funding possibilities were a useful addition to the various project funding options offered by the DFG.

The two postdoctoral researchers Prof. Dr. Diogo Boito (USP/TUM) and Prof. Dr. Conrado Hübner Mendes (USP/WZB/Liaison Scientist of AvH in Brazil), who have now returned, provided useful, practical advice on research and life in Germany. For Boito, one of the most important experiences of his time in Germany was the great appreciation he was met with as a researcher. He eventually returned to Brazil due to the better prospects for a permanent position at a university.

In addition to questions regarding the required language skills, many participants enquired about how to make first contact with a supervisor at a German university. Simone Heil recommended adopting a self-confident demeanour and strong self-marketing, and remarked that personal contact at congresses or conferences is key to presenting yourself and your research idea in a confident manner. Jan Schmidt from the Graduate Center in Münster stressed the importance of linking your own research idea with the current work of the potential supervisor, particularly in written communication. This would highlight the benefits of collaboration for both sides and awaken interest.

In the concluding personal discussions, the approximately 50 participants once again had the opportunity to establish direct contacts and discuss individual situations.

A similar workshop was also held in Rio de Janeiro, with around 30 to 40 interested researchers taking part. In addition to the talks by the universities and funding providers, four alumni from Bochum, Berlin, Münster and Munich chronicled their experiences in Germany.

All in all, the organisers yielded positive results at both events.