The oLifeTraining Programme consists of three training categories: 1) research training, 2) academic skills training and 3) professional skills training. In addition, you will receive career guidance to prepare you for your further career.

1) Research training

Your individual research project is the main instrument in strengthening your expertise in one or more disciplines related to the origins of life research, under guidance of top academic advisors in your chosen field(s). Within your first year of employment, you will participate in laboratory visits to all relevant specialist high-end research facilities of the participating institutes, to well appreciate the importance of the technologies required for the different research projects within oLife. You are expected to actively participate in the weekly group meetings at your host institute(s), reporting and discussing your research progress.

The research training is complemented by oLife Scientific Lectures, which aim to give a common background and terminology to all fellows by providing an in-depth overview of origins of life research and the four scientific research areas. You will become an enabler for scientific discussion by organizing and managing these scientific lectures. Lectures are provided by oLife advisors, experts from Partner Organisations and invited external experts. To promote collaboration and exchange the lectures will be open to external researchers.

At the oLife Annual Meetings, you will present and discuss your research progress with your oLife peers, other postdocs, involved advisors and invited external experts.

To enhance your ability to make interdisciplinary and intersectoral connections, a dedicated ‘Interdisciplinary Collaboration’ track will be organized. This track will provide necessary understanding, tools and guidance to encourage you to (further) explore opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration, both within and outside oLife.

Secondments to partner organisations will provide excellent opportunities to both deepen your research training at other academic institutions as well as to incorporate an intersectoral dimension in your research.

You are expected to participate in international conferences and visits (twice a year, one in Europe and one outside Europe) to increase your understanding of your chosen fields, to exchange ideas, build your network and foster collaboration. Your research training will be finalized with the oLife Final Conference, at which you not only present the results of your individual research but also the outcomes of the joint ‘Interdisciplinary Collaboration’ track.

Content and Planning of oLife Scientific Lectures and Incorporated Tracks.

2) Academic skills training

An essential part of preparing you for a further successful career in science is academic skills training. In the Netherlands, teaching is an integral part of a (tenured) researcher’s position. Therefore, you are expected to prepare and teach your own lecture series on your field(s) of expertise. Also, you are expected to supervise students. The track ‘Teaching and Supervising Students’ will thoroughly prepare and support you for these tasks by providing you with tools, feedback through peer review and educational support. The University of Groningen’s Educational Support & Innovation department (ESI) will provide workshops and consultation within this track.

Other academic skills are taught via a workshop series on the following topics:

  • Ethics and Scientific Integrity
  • Open Access and Research Data Management
  • Dissemination and Outreach
  • Grant and Proposal Writing
  • Intellectual Property and Patents
  • Diversity and Inclusion in Science

3) Professional skills training

To prepare you for your next step in your career, whether inside or outside academia, a set of workshops will be offered to maximize your professional skills:

  • Entrepreneurship
  • Project Management
  • Leadership & Management Skills
  • Introduction to Science & Policy

4) Career guidance

An integral part of oLife is career guidance with the main element being the Personal Career Development Plan. An annual Results & Development Meeting serves as an instrument to monitor the realization of the proposed objectives and goals. To help you position yourself as expert and to increase your networking skills, a workshop on Personal Branding & Networking will be organized. The track ‘Career Orientation’ will be offered to assist you in mapping out your future possibilities and next career step. In three sessions, you will meet professionals who will provide information on their jobs: what they entail, what skills you need, perceived pro’s and cons’ and the like. Professionals may stem from academia, non-profit and profit, and range from group leaders, research managers, university teachers, policy advisors, non-profit managers, entrepreneurs, scientific writer and consultants. If you are a female scientist, you will participate in the track ‘Advancing Women in Science’ which will couple you with a female accomplished researcher for quarterly one-to-one mentoring sessions. Also, the respective universities offer individual consultation with a Human Resource advisor for personal career advice.