One thing I miss about pre-COVID Stanford is all the workshops and seminars for postdocs. Of course, some were offered online during COVID, but it really wasn’t the same thing as the in-person variants.
Back in Uppsala one of the first things I did in my first week was to scour the employee portal for workshops, seminars, and courses. But to be honest, the selection here is unnecessarily scarce. Nonetheless, I was able to find a couple of seminars to attend in my first month here.
Grants day is a two-day event that’s organized every year. I remember attending it in my final year of PhD and I expected it to be similar, but apparently, things have changed. This year it was held over Zoom and the two days were really full. Both days had more and less interesting speakers. But the most important part for me was getting advice on how to structure research applications and where to find open calls. As faculty, we have access to a database of grants from all over the world. Most grants seem to be for the US and the UK, but there are also national (Swedish) and EU grants that can be found through the grant portal.
Identify the hidden potential in your research
An hour-long seminar held regularly, this Zoom-seminar was about how and where researchers can find resources for commercializing their research findings. A really interesting seminar, but as I don’t have any results yet from my current employment it seems pretty hypothetical right now. But one interesting thing mentioned during the seminar was that Swedish university employees are lucky to actually own their own research findings. This was not the case in Stanford where the university basically owns any results and can file patents on your work.
Curious about leadership
This was also a two-day Zoom course in which I got to know a lot of interesting people through the breakout rooms. What we have in common is that we are either at the end of postdocs or early-career independent researchers. The course was really nice in that it made me think about what kind of leader I want to be, but also about what my long-term goal is, career-wise. Do I want to stay in academia for the rest of my life? Although I really like teaching and doing research I think that there are other options that could be more rewarding when it comes to teaching, and with regards to research, what happens when I’ve figured out all the answers to my questions? Will there be any point in staying in academia at that point? Obviously, not all the questions raised have answers as of now, but the course was indeed an eye-opener and I will definitely go through my notes again in the near future.