EPFL inaugurates its first Postdoc Association during lockdown

 2020 EPFL
2020 EPFL

The newly inaugurated Postdoc Association aims to promote the professional development of EPFL postdoctoral researchers.

The EPFL Postdoc Association (EPDA) became EPFL’s first non-student association in March during the coronavirus lockdown. It builds upon the foundations laid down by the former SV Postdoc Association that was created in 2012 by life-science postdoctoral fellows at EPFL. The SV association’s activities, initially organized for life-science postdocs, soon caught the interest of postdocs across all faculties.

"Even though the association was initially created by SV postdocs, it became obvious that what we were doing was beneficial for the entire postdoc community at EPFL," continues Asadzadeh. "The SV dean Gisou van der Goot has supported the association since inception, and the new EPFL Postdoc Association wouldn’t be here today without her support."

While fulfilling an important role in the development of Postdocs’ careers, members of the EPDA also foster a much-needed dialogue between the community of postdocs and EPFL’s administration. One of the current issues is on the formal status of postdoctoral researchers at EPFL, which has practical implications such as the type of residency permit for working in Switzerland, to mailing-lists and access to alumni networks upon departure.

Members of the newly inaugurated postdoc association, photo taken before the lockdown.

A toolkit for developing their careers

Before the lockdown, the association members organized events for the Postdoc community, like networking sessions, public speaking workshops, integration, to provide postdocs with a much-needed toolkit for developing their careers here at EPFL and beyond. "It’s important to know how to write a CV for an academic position versus one in industry," explains Jamshid Asadzadeh, president of EPFL’s first official Postdoc Association, as he outlines some of the activities organized by the association. "With the lockdown, we continue to meet for video discussions with members of the association. We have already organized a Zoom postdoc hangout and are working to move our future events and workshops online"

"Since the end of last year, we have been working in collaboration with the different Vice-Presidencies to organize new kinds of events but also to help postdocs to really benefit from everything EPFL has to offer", explains Jonathan Cottet, communications officer for EPDA. "We invite postdocs from all faculties to join us in the association, participate in our events but also to create their own events with our support if they want. We really want everyone to get the best out of their time at EPFL in order to prepare the next steps of their career."

Learn more: http://epda.epfl.ch/