Doing Your Postdoc at Paderborn University

The first one to two years after your doctorate are an important orientation phase during which you lay the foundations for your further career - whether inside or outside academia. The Jenny Aloni Centre for Early Career Researchers provides important information and advisory services in this crucial transitional phase.

Ca­reer Paths After Your Doc­tor­ate

After your doctorate, a wide range of career paths are open to you: In addition to preparing for a professorship, university management, business, and politics also offer attractive perspectives.

As part of the "Career Spotlight" event series of the Jenny Aloni Centre for Early Career Researchers, you have the opportunity to get to know the various career paths after your doctorate and to talk to people who have already taken them.


There are different ways to fund your postdoc reseach.

Many postdocs are employed as research assistants at Paderborn University, which usually are positions with the designated goal to reach a higher level of qualification (qualification goal: habilitation or equivalent ("Habilitationsäquivalente Leistungen")). Others hold a temporary position in a third-party funded project. In addition to working on their qualification goal, their responsibilities include supporting the respective work-group in the processing of research topics, applications, project management, as well as active participation in teaching (usually 4 hours per week during the lecture period). Compared to doctoral candidates, a higher degree of independence is required, which should increase in the course of the postdoc phase. Participation in the supervision of final theses (BA/MA), including grading, is also envisaged; postdocs can apply for the right to carry out examinations. Vacant research assistant positions are published in the job portal of Paderborn University .


The German Act on Fixed-Term Contracts in Academia (Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz, WissZeitVG)

The Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (WissZeitVG) regulates the conditions for employment contracts in academia that have a next level of qualification as their goal. It only allows temporary employment of academic and artistic staff for qualification purposes for a total period of 12 years (6 years before and 6 years after the doctorate). According to the contract for good employment conditions, the initial contract period should be at least three years full-time if the postdoc is working towards a professorship. There is the possibility to extend this, f. ex. when  caring for children under the age of 18 and/or caring for a close relative. A disability or chronic illness can also extend the maximum permissible fixed-term period under the WissZeitVG by two years.

Note: The WissZeitVG is currently being amended and it is expected that the current time limits will be adjusted in the near future. We will inform you about any changes on our homepage and via the JAC newsletter.

Leading a junior research group enables postdocs to research and teach independently and to take on staff and budget responsibility. This qualifies them for academic leadership positions, in particular for an appointment to a professorship.

The following third-party funded junior research groups (usually 5 years duration) currently exist in Germany:

  • Emmy-Noether Programme of the DFG
  • ERC Starting Grant of the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation
  • NRW Return Programme of the NRW Ministry of Culture and Science

The Research Department can help you with individual questions regarding applications for third-party funding.

>> Go to the Research Department

Junior Research Group Leaderships at Paderborn University

Junior research groups are independent working groups led by a junior researcher with a doctorate. The junior research group leader is thus given the opportunity to conduct independent research, gain experience in managing staff and with budgetary responsibility, and thus qualify for a professorship.

Prerequisites for a junior research group leadership are a completed doctorate (usually a maximum of five years ago), outstanding academic achievements, and teaching experience.

Paderborn University regularly advertises junior research group leaderships. Furthermore, employees at Paderborn University can apply for recognition of the status of junior research group leader. The corresponding procedure is regulated by the regulations for the recognition of the status of junior research group leader at the University of Paderborn; quality assurance is covered by the tenure board.

Upon completing their doctorate, postdocs can apply for grants that fund their own position. For example, the German Research Foundation ("Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft," DFG) offers the so-called Walter Benjamin Programme, which enables postdocs who have just completed their doctorate to independently conduct a research project at a university of their choice. The project can be carried out at a research institution in Germany or abroad for a maximum of two years.

More experienced postdocs can also apply to the DFG for their own position under the "Sachbeihilfe" programme or even lead their own junior research group as part of the Emmy Noether Programme. The DFG regularly offers online information events on its funding opportunities.

The Research Department at Paderborn University can help you with individual questions regarding applications for third-party funding projects.

>> Go to the Research Department
>> Go to the DFG


Paderborn University regularly awards scholarships and project funding to postdocs from all faculties. For more information, please see the current announcements of the Committee for Research and Junior Academics.


More than 20,000 foundations in Germany support research and early career researchers. Depending on each foundation’s goal, different disciplines or research topics may be funded. Databases and newsletters can help you find the right foundation for you. As a member of Paderborn University, you are eligible to subscribe to the FIT Newsletter, for instance. The FIT Newsletter bundles calls from various funding bodies (e.g. DFG, BMBF, DAAD, EU) from which you can select specifically for your subject area, and it is sent to you regularly by email on a day of your choice. The ELFI database (Paderborn University is a member) also offers a good starting point for your search.


Go­ing Abroad

A stay abroad can give you access to special sources, expand your knowledge and language skills, and strengthen your international network. At the same time, a stay abroad can be an advantage in applications and in funding proposals, as it illustrates that you think across borders, are open to new things, and can engage with different academic cultures. But above all, it is a valuable experience. Here you can find information on what stays abroad are possible after your doctorate and what to bear in mind when organising your stay.

Ca­reer De­vel­op­ment & Train­ing

Jenny Aloni Centre Qualification Programme

Postdocs at Paderborn University can expand their interdisciplinary skills through the Jenny Aloni Centre's qualification course programme.

Learn more

Certification Programme Professional Teaching Competency for Higher Education

"Professional Teaching Competency for Higher Education" is Paderborn University's further education programme in higher education teaching. Participants develop and learn to implement new and innovative methods to their teaching.

Learn more

Women in Academic Careers Qualification Programme

The qualification programme "Women in Acaemic Careers" includes various workshops and lectures that are specifically designed for female early career researchers.

Learn more

Qualification for a Career in Business and Society Certificate

The certification programme "Qualification for Professional Fields in Business and Society" ("Qualifizierung für Berufsfelder in Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft") prepares you for jobs in business and society, but also at universities of applied sciences and other research institutions.

Learn more

Mentoring and Coaching für Female Researchers

Paderborn University has set itself the task to promote young female researchers. To this end, Paderborn University offers mentoring and individual coaching specifically for women.

Learn more


You can find us in Room O4.167

Office hours by appointment

Send us an e-mail!



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Dr. Alexandra Wiebke

Jenny Aloni Centre for Early Career Researchers

Manager Jenny Aloni Centre for Early Career Researchers

Write email +49 5251 60-3353
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Dr. Henriette-Juliane Seeliger

Jenny Aloni Centre for Early Career Researchers

Academic Advisor for Early Career Researchers

Write email +49 5251 60-2109