Archive | April, 2016

Valentina Cassinelli_ NaturalScience.Careers

The best of both worlds: a PhD in industry

Valentina Cassinelli is about to finish her PhD in industry. She works on DNA nanostructures at baseclick, a small biotech company in the Munich area. She shared with us why she picked a PhD in industry and what her experiences are.

Valentina Cassinelli_ NaturalScience.Careers


Why a PhD in industry? And, why in Germany?

Actually, it wasn’t an active decision to do a PhD in industry. After obtaining my Masters degree in industrial biotechnology, I worked as a researcher at a university in Italy for 1.5 years. My temporary contract ended and as everyone knows the labour market in Italy is a very tough one at the moment, hence I had little job prospects there. Instead of sitting at home dreaming about a career I was not having, I decided to try my luck in one of the largest biotech parks of Europe, namely Munich. I moved to Germany and started sending open applications for researcher jobs to several biotech companies. Then, I was invited for a job interview at the small biotech company baseclick who just happened to have had a positive feedback from the Marie Curie research fellowship they applied for. They told me during the interview that they were looking for a PhD student and asked if I would be up for it.


Was it easy for you, as a foreigner, to find a position in Munich?

I wouldn’t say it way super easy. I quickly realised after arrival that it would be hard to find a position outside of academia without speaking the local language.…

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Make Relationships Not War: How to Build Friendships with Your Colleagues

Motherhood & Career NaturalScience.CareersMeeting new people in the working world is easy – you interact with people in the same department and company everyday, or get introduced to new acquaintances during conferences and conventions – but making friends can be a little more difficult.

Aside from possible undertones of competition brewing at work, there’s also the idea that you might not have the time to invest in new relationships. However, forming these connections is important for any professional who wants to survive and thrive in their chosen field. You never know when you might need a helping hand.

For scientists, operating in your particular niche exposes you to a small, but essential network of like-minded peers. Someone you met at a convention might just be a potential collaborator in the future. Or they might be your key to obtaining a grant, or a favorable review in a peer-reviewed journal.

The larger your profile in the community and the more expansive your professional network is, the more likely you’ll find a leverage not only within your circle of experts, but also in the job market.

Here’s how you can make, and keep, those connections you make in the scientific community:


  1. Make an Active Effort to Mingle

As we’ve mentioned earlier, conventions and conferences are the best places to get introduced to other scientists outside work.

There are a number of ways to get acquainted with other scientists, but one of the simplest is to introduce yourself, and keep yourself memorable. Dr. Joanne Kamens of AddGene explains that an initial self-introduction before the actual conference need not be awkward.…

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women in science

Part I: Hey boss, I’m pregnant! (German)

Diana Merian (Pseudonym) hat gerade ihr Masterstudium in aquatischer Ökologie abgeschlossen, als sie nach einigen Monaten erfuhr, dass sie schwanger ist. Einerseits freut sie sich, dass sie eine junge Mutter sein wird, gleichzeitig besteht aber die Angst, dass der bislang beeindruckende Lebenslauf wertlos wird. Wir haben sie gecoacht und ihr Ideen gegeben, damit sich ihre Chancen erhöhen, während der Schwangerschaft beruflich am Ball zu bleiben. 
Ein Jobangebot, um ihren Studentenjob weiterzumachen, hat sie schon in der Hand, aber nur mündlich. Das Angebot will sie unbedingt behalten, ihr Chef weiß aber noch nicht, dass sie schwanger ist. Gut vorbereitet geht sie in das “Hallo Chef, ich bin schwanger”- Gespräch und berichtet uns hier, wie es lief.

Bis Ende des ersten Schwangerschafts-Trimenons wollte ich warten, um meinem Chef von meiner Schwangerschaft zu berichten. Während dewomen in sciences Studiums war ich auf Minijob-Basis beschäftigt. Kurz vor meinem Abschluss kam das Angebot, bis zu einer Halbtagsstelle aufzustocken. Wenige Tage später hielt ich mit zittrigen Händen den positiven Schwangerschaftstest in den Händen. Es war ein Zittern aus Freude und Angst zugleich. Ich hatte zwar das mündliche Angebot meines Chefs, doch schriftlich hatte ich noch nichts. Das deutsche Recht schütze mich, ich solle unterschreiben und danach meinem Chef die Nachricht überbringen, wurde mir geraten. Doch bei dem Gedanken war mir unwohl, ich wollte das gute, vertraute Verhältnis durch Verschweigen der Tatsachen nicht stören. Da es in den ersten drei Monaten (vor allem bei Erstschwangerschaften) häufig natürliche Abgänge gibt, nahm ich mir vor, bis dahin mit der Nachricht zu warten.…

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