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Eloi Montanez NaturalScience.Careers

No risk, no fun! – My career in academia

Eloi Montanez NaturalScience.CareersHe follows his dream, he wants to become a university professor. For years he fights himself through the German academic system, but that is not always easy. And the future is uncertain, very uncertain to say the least. An interview with Dr. Eloi Montanez (43 years old).

NSC: At what stage of your career are you?      

Eloi Montanez: I am a group leader. Meaning that I conduct independent research, apply for my own grants, have a few PhD students and a TA working for me. The next step, which should follow soon, is to get a permanent group leader or independent investigator position, or become a “W2 professor”.

NSC: Did you always want to become a researcher?

Montanez: Yes. However, if I read interviews with other researchers or young professors, their career paths are very smooth. Mine isn’t and that is mainly due to the fact that I sometimes had my doubts and followed interests outside of research. After my PhD I took a year off to travel the world, broaden my horizon, and to make sure that research was what I really wanted. Then after my postdoc, I took another few months to re-charge my batteries and travel with my partner.

Those “out times” were very good for me, they confirmed that fundamental research is what I want to do, and I learned lots of other things during those travels that you won’t learn in the lab. Getting out of my comfort zone and challenge myself a bit. Unfortunately academia does not really welcome those breaks.…

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For my own account! And not just for the Hirsch Index of my supervisor…


MicrobiologyAn interview with Dr. Kerstin Seyfarth

My interview partner of today shares the fate of many young scientists: she works for a few months here, then only for a mere few weeks there, sometimes even for just a single day! Has the world of science gone mad, does she get completely screwed over with these balkanised repeat fixed-term contracts? And how does Dr. Kerstin Seyfarth react to her own situation? Well, as happy as people are when they are very satisfied with their professional activities. She is not a battered academic on the non-tenure-track from postdoc project to yet another postdoc project, but a freelancer who is offering her services through the portal (Email: Thus she is not even aiming for anything else but to work in different projects for different employers. Her strengths lie in the consultation of companies regarding hygiene issues, which can be tackled with microbiological techniques, particularly within the GMP (good manufacturing practice) environment.

Dr. Seyfarth, I didn´t know that there is an established freelancer market for your field of expertise?

That´s because there isn´t one, there was not a queue in front of my door straight away. It was new for many companies that these kinds of issues can be addressed with external staff- or that these topics would be relevant for them in the first place! The feedback was mostly positive and I got my first contacts.

How did you get to these contacts?

Some through cold calls. Trade fairs are also very interesting.…

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