Useful information for Postdocs

Welcome to the MPS postdoc webpage. This page collects hopefully useful information both for new incoming and old resident postdocs. All infos come without any warranty, especially regarding the legally relevant things.

We are Anya Samadi, Charlotte Gehan and Vincent Böning, the current postdoc representatives. We are working towards a smooth and trouble-free work environment for all post-docs. If you have any issues,  criticism, or suggestions to improve your work environment, please let us know! We are also happy about positive feedback! In case you are missing some important information that should be added, please contact one of us, and we will take action!

Before you arrive ...

There are a few things that we can already help you with before your arrive at MPS as a postdoc, for example before interviewing or contract negotiations. Feel free to contact us in case you have any questions for an informal discussion. We have compiled a few relevant topics here.

German postdoc pay scale: (Be aware that we are not providing legally binding information here but only tips to what you might want to look up!) Postdocs are paid according to an official tariff called "TVÖD", in our case "TVÖD-Bund". Postdocs are usually paid at least the scale (Entgeltgruppe) "E 13", sometimes "E 14" if negotiated well. Within each scale, there are sublevels called "Stufe". After being in a Stufe for a fixed amount of time, one is advanced to the next level, being paied a little more. If you come from abroad and you just finished your Ph.D., you should generally be assigned to E 13, Stufe 3, or short "E13-3". The amount of years you have to wait to be automatically advanced to the next Stufe is just the Stufe, so after 3 years in E13-3, you will go to E13-4, and after yet another 4 years in E13-4, you will go to E13-5, and so on. If you already have prior postdoctoral experience when joining MPS, you should in our eyes also have a higher Stufe according to the same criteria. We advice to discuss this during the job negotiations and/or after you came to MPS. You can look up the current amounts here (Brutto=gross income, "netto" = net income after deduction of taxes and social security).

Relocation costs: We would like to pass on the information that it is possible to negotiate a relocation allowance before signing the contract. Whether this is granted depends on negotiations but in our experience, it is in general possible to obtain an allowance that covers a great part or even all of your relocation costs. So give it a try and ask for it during interview.

New in Göttingen

Even though Göttingen is a small city, it comprises many institues of higher eduction and notable academic facilities. The website of the University of Göttingen provides extended information on:

  • Medical Care and Emergency Numbers
  • German Language Courses
  • Mobility
  • Sightseeing Tours
  • Religion
  • Public holidays
  • Press in Germany
  • Waste separation

English-speaking physicians

Although most physicians speak English, not all receptionists do. You can find a list of doctors that speak English and other languages here. With most health problems, you are strongly advised to go to a general practioner first. If you need special treatment, the doctor will give you a referral (Überweisung) for the appropriate specialist. Doctors‘ personalities and approaches to patients can vary. Note, that in Germany you are not required to stay with one doctor if you are dissatisfied. 

Mental health support / dealing with conflicts

There are several contact points for seeking help or assistance regarding mental health or regarding work-related conflicts:

  1. There is a free telephone counseling service “EMAP” for all employees of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG). It is paid by MPG, but anonymous. EMAP can help in case of different issues, e.g. stress, mental health issues, personal issues at home that effect your working life, etc. Family members of employees are included in this service. Online scheduling of appointments is possible. For mental health, in case it is necessary, they also offer help in finding a therapy place. You can find more information in the Max-Planck-wide Intranet here.
  2. There is a list of possible contact points for conflicts in our institute-wide intranet here.
  3. Contact the MPS health officer (see intranet) or your postdoc representatives.
  4. There is a MPG-wide group dealing with mental health, the "Mental Health Collective". They also have a twitter page and a Chat room on RocketChat. They offer the regular Mental Health Collective TeaTime, where you can chat about such topics over zoom, with voice/video presence or in anonymous mode.
  5. The Studentenwerk from Göttingen provides psychological counseling service (PSB) for staff and students of the university and the MPS.

International Office of the MPS

Useful information regarding re-locating to Göttingen; formalities, insurance, accomodation and everyday life can be found here!

Equal Opportunities at MPS

Information on equal opportunities, career and family, and career development can be found here.

Good scientific practice

The MPS has a ombudsperson for good scientific practice, Hardy Peter, whom you can contact in case of issues or questions related to good scientific practice. It is also worthwile to search for “good scientific practice” in the intranet to get further information on the topic.

MPS has internal personal conflicts support

Here we will add the names of the people that you can contact in addition to the postdoc representatives, the works council, the gender equalitity officers, the scientific ombudsperson, and the section representative. Further information can be found in the intranet here.

Computational facilities

The computer center provides the it-infrastructure of the MPS. This link is only available through the intranet. More information on the Server/Cluster/Storage is provided.

Career Development / Max Planck Society courses for postdocs

As a postdoc at MPS, there are several opportunities to take part in workshops or counseling related to career development:

  1. MPG offers a variety of courses, workshops, and webinars for career development. Current available courses are regularly announced via institute's mailing lists or can be found in the learning portal of the MPG. To access and book courses, login here  and click on “Learning Platform of the Planck Academy” around the middle of the page in the “Favorites” section. The courses are usually free for MPG employees but in general you should discuss participation with your supervisor. If you have to travel, you need to file a travel request.
  2. Uni Göttingen’s GAUSS Career center: they offer free webinars, free personal career coaching, and a newsletter, here.
  3. The central career service of the University of Göttingen also offers free coaching/guidance for MPS postdocs, as far as we know, here.
  4. Our library offers books on career development, healthy eating, physical workouts, and related topics.
  5. The Göttingen Campus postdoc network offers a newsletter and a regular meeting with other postdocs at Göttingen Campus. The newsletter often includes infos on workshops, funding schemes, and job opportunities (targeted to Göttingen). See here.


Max Planck Society PostdocNet

Max Planck PostdocNet
The Max Planck PostdocNet is a networking and lobbying organization for all postdocs of the Max Planck Society. The PostdocNet website serves as a platform for enhancing the postdoc group visibility, openly exchanging information within postdocs, and improving interdisciplinary cooperation within the postdocs in Max Planck Society and beyond. more
Guidelines for the postdoc stage in the MPG
Guidelines for the Postdoc Stage in the Max Planck Society more

Career Service on Göttingen Campus

GAUSS Career Service for Postdocs
By offering a wide range of services including a tailored workshop program, the GAUSS Career Service is supporting postdoctoral careers in natural and life sciences – inside and outside of academia. Here you will find information about our services and how to register as well as research funding opportunities, our workshop & event schedule and general information about career planning. more
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