Postdoctoral Career Support -Integrated Marine Postdoc Network (IMAP)

A new focus of the Cluster is the support of young scientists within the network of Integrated Marine Postdocs (IMAP). IMAP caters to early postdocs and research scientists in non-permanent positions. The Cluster recognizes  postdoctoral researchers as essential assets to research in the Cluster. They produce core scientific results, support educational activities, provide technical expertise to Masters and PhD students and coordinate research projects.

Support in the early postdoc phase concentrates mainly on scientific career development. The career path after the postdoc phase can either lead to a high-level academic career (junior or full professorship), or to a research scientist position. In the past such positions were often tenured positions in Germany and formed a mid-level structure. These permanent positions have decreased dramatically in recent years and changes in employment laws have resulted in a rigid, inflexible tenure system with negative consequences for postdocs. This development negatively affects Kiel Marine Sciences and the Cluster recognizes the need to develop new and innovative models of performance-based partial tenure for "soft money" scientists on their way to becoming senior scientists.

Main Objectives of IMAP

The main objectives of the Integrated Marine Postdoc Network (IMAP) are:

  • To set up a structure which will increase the attractiveness of Kiel for young researchers working in interdisciplinary marine science
  • To strengthen the scientific output by improving the working environment of postdocs and research fellows
  • To establish a performance-based career advancement pathway for Kiel marine scientists towards a senior researcher position.

IMAP supports all scientists on temporary contracts admitted to the Cluster as Associate Members (as IMAP Fellows) until they reach either a junior professorship or a permanent senior research scientist position. The Cluster explores possibilities for a performance-based career path allowing a gradual shift from a non-permanent postdoc position to a partially permanent junior research scientist position to a permanent senior research scientist position.

Proposed Financial Measures

The Cluster will establish a number of measures to financially support the scientific development of IMAP Fellows, which could include:

  • Rewards for external project funding. IMAP Fellows that have managed to successfully obtain additional funding for their own position will be provided with a limited amount of additional resources that can be used to bridge a future funding gap or support a research stay abroad. The level of matching funds and the legal aspects of such contracts need to be negotiated with the CAU and hosting institutions.
  • Short term research funding. Resources will be available on a competitive performance-based application process to IMAP Fellows for short-term (1 – 2 years) research projects, supporting the development of a personal scientific profile.
  • Lab rotation. Resources will be made available to IMAP Fellows to engage in capacity building efforts. Based on a competitive application process IMAP Fellows are given the opportunity to travel abroad and engage in capacity building activities i.e. attend congresses; engage in an up to 6 months long international lab rotation or invite foreign researchers to Kiel. The overall objective of IMAP is to provide a framework for scientific career development by
    • providing personal structured mentoring (connection to PIs)
    • specific training in interdisciplinary marine science (connection to PIs)
    • advancing scientific hard & soft skills
    • providing opportunities to gain teaching experience (with ISOS)