On 8 to 10 July 2015, EPFL hosted the first EuroTech Postdocs’ Workshop on soft skills for career development. The idea for this workshop arose following exchanges between EPFL’s SV postdoc association and TUM Talent Factory. It was composed of three one-day sessions:
- “Selling your Science (and yourself)!” by Jen Rolfe (UK): A practical approach to presenting science to a non-specialist audience.
- “Leadership for global leaders!” by Anne-Marie Turcotte (Switzerland): An overview of some of the key skills necessary to be an effective leader in a global context.
- “Successful collaborations and negotiations!” by Fernanda Salina (Switzerland): A practical and theoretical approach to negotiation in order to promote successful collaborations.
The course was very popular, as proven by early oversubscription and feedback by participants, according to whom “topics were absolutely fabulously chosen, advice was extremely practical, the exercises were fantastic, and the atmosphere around the workshop was really positive.”
Petra Schwalie, President of EPFL’s SV postdoc association, stresses that the Postdoc Workshop provided an “intensive, highly interactive, and fun crash-course in the soft skills underlying professional success in academic and non-academic careers. At the same time, the workshop was a great opportunity for participants to network and establish collaborations.”
“We would like this to only be the beginning,” says Petra Schwalie. The idea is to build on this initial success by organising an annual workshop that takes place at a different EuroTech location every year. Given the positive feedback received, discussions are now underway to extend the workshop, both in terms of timeframe and topics covered.