Innovative career pathways

Postdoc @ Leuphana

As the place for academic qualification, the Graduate School is the interdisciplinary contact point for all postdocs at Leuphana. The Graduate School bundles relevant topics for postdocs, develops new formats together with other actors and offers interdisciplinary networking and communication, financial support as well as advice and qualification offers. In the latter field of work, the Graduate School focuses on non-scientific careers, while academic personnel development focuses on coaching and advice for academic careers. Other points of contact for postdocs in interdisciplinary qualification are the Research Service, the Equal Opportunities Office with its mentoring programme, the Teaching Service and Leuphana's Cooperation Service.

Postdoc Phases in Germany

In Germany, a distinction is made in the context of career planning between an early and late postdoc phase. The first phase lasts up to two years after the successful doctorate and is also called the orientation phase. In this phase, projects from the doctoral period are often still being completed, the dissertation is published and professional (re)orientation takes place. This initial period is also used to clarify one's own career goals and to apply for postdoctoral positions, fellowships or positions outside the academic system. As part of the strategic planning of an academic career, postdoctoral researchers usually change universities or research institutions during this phase and use the first years after the doctorate to work out their own research profile. Finally, in this phase, postdocs take on tasks in teaching, in the supervision of theses and initial leadership responsibilities.

The transition to the "late" or "advanced postdoc phase" is sometimes fluid and refers to the phase in which postdocs advance and complete their habilitation (or equivalent). Experienced postdocs have their first interviews for a (junior) professorship in this phase.

The majority of university employment contracts in the postdoc phase following the doctorate are temporary, as this is an orientation and/or qualification phase. The goal of qualification can be a (junior) professorship; however, this career goal is only available as an option for a minority of postdocs due to the limited number of professorial positions throughout Germany. A career outside academia is therefore promoted, supported and valued at Leuphana just as much as a career in academia. The Graduate School in particular focuses on non-academic careers and actively supports doctoral students and postdocs on their way by offering career coaching, the certificate programme Leadership in Business and Society, financial support for research stays and conference participation from the qualification fund, and career and networking events.

Postdoc Phases in Germany ©Sandra Wienand/Leuphana
Postdoc Phases in Germany

Postdoc @ Leuphana: first steps

Initiation and Funding

Similar to the initiation of a doctoral project, the focus is on contact with one or more professors at Leuphana to discuss the research project as a postdoc.

If you would like to spend your time as a postdoc at Leuphana, you can find out about currently open positions in research and teaching here, as well as open scholarships here.

If you are interested in third-party funded funding opportunities for the postdoc phase, you will find bundled information on calls for proposals from national and international funding bodies in the regularly published newsletter FIT (Informationsdienst Forschung, Internationales, Transfer).

Finally, the major research funding institutions offer various funding programmes for postdocs. Applications can be submitted via the Research Service. A selection of research funding programmes with usually year-round opportunities to apply is summarised below.

GradSchool Newsletter // Doc & Postdocs

A regular update on open postdoctoral fellowships and new workshop formats at Leuphana, on conferences and research stays worldwide and on funding programmes is bundled in the Graduate School Newsletter "GradSchool Newsletter // Docs & Postdocs", which is published about four to five times a year. Subscribe right here!


With the Qualification Fund, the Graduate School offers its researchers in the qualification phase a generous instrument to network at external conferences, in external summer schools or at international universities as part of a research stay and to further develop their academic profile.


Leuphana offers a comprehensive, open continuing education programme for interdisciplinary skills that offers half-day to two-day workshops for Master's students, doctoral candidates and postdocs and prepares them for career paths within and outside academic institutions. The university-wide programmes offered by various institutions are listed in the GradSkills Workshops Portal.

Internal scholarships

The Office for Equal Opportunities offers scholarships to female early career researchers (postdocs) for stays abroad or the establishment of international tandems. Further information can be found on the website of the Office for Equal Oppotunities.

Postdoc Appreciation Week

The Postdoc Appreciation Week (PAW) aims to recognise the (research) achievements of postdocs in Germany and to promote networking opportunities among postdocs. To this end, seminars, workshops and lectures are open throughout Germany at a large number of German universities, colleges and research institutions specifically for postdocs.

Leuphana has been participating in the action week with events and workshops since 2022.

The next PAW will take place from 16-20 September 2024 with the participation of the Leuphana Graduate School.

More information on the german network can be found here:


Gaining clarity about your own career prospects, developing a profile and acquiring additional qualifications in the areas of management and communication for a career outside the university - this is what the certificate programme "Leadership in Society and Business" stands for. Up to 12 advanced doctoral candidates and early postdocs from Leuphana can apply for the programme each year. Note: The certificate programme is only offered in German.

Careers in research and academia

Doctoral students and postdocs seeking careers in research and academia can also contact the Personnel Development for Academic Staff.