PostdocTraining is an independent organisation specialising exclusively in supporting the professional and personal development of researchers in academia.
Our company was born from a personal need that we quickly realised was much more widespread: a need for practical help with the planning, strategies and skills critical to researchers' careers that are rarely addressed as part of a PhD.
Kerstin Fritsches, Founder and Head Trainer of PostdocTraining, takes up the story...
"When the euphoria of starting my first Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2000 started to fade, I found myself running my own funds, managing my own projects and juggling the industry sponsors who part-funded my Fellowship and research projects. And no-one was handing out 'how to' manuals... .
"I did receive help from advisors and colleagues, but their time was not their own and their experience often just mirrored mine.
"I'd learned to navigate research questions and techniques and made my first steps in the academic maze. But I lacked a broader perspective on my options and support for personal development - for the practical skills that would actually help me build a career.
"My neuroscience research gained momentum - studying what fish can see, especially large open ocean animals such as marlin, swordfish, tuna and turtles. Working initially with the US National Marine Fisheries Service, then with industry partners in Australia, I led and took part in a succession of sensory ecology projects that lasted 12 years.
"At the same time I got involved in postdoc issues with my Faculty, helping design policies and trying to implement them. It was a hugely rewarding and interesting experience, seeing all the competing interests and politics at the Faculty level, teaching me a lot about how difficult it is to drive change in a big organisation.
"The work made me realise... how thirsty early career researchers are for advice on their options and ways to be strategic about their progress - and how little training on this they usually receive."
"In a part-time position with my Faculty, I also managed career development seminars for postdocs. I ran these as networking sessions with senior academics speaking about their careers, alongside external speakers talking about skills essential to longer-term career development.
"The work made me realise how much there is to learn about career development, how thirsty early career researchers are for advice on their options and ways to be strategic about their progress - and how little training on this they usually receive."
"This experience was the genesis of PostdocTraining. My Co-Founder, Stephen, and I set out to create a specialist organisation providing training and mentoring services exclusively for early career researchers, and a step-by-step program funded by subscribing members."
Our goal and approach
PostdocTraining provides independent advice and practical training for researchers on how to plan and craft successful careers that align with their own strengths and preferences.
We introduce essential skills and tools that early career researchers can apply immediately in their work, from strategies for funding, publishing and improving personal productivity, to training for effective leadership and management. We offer a unique combination of online, on-demand training and face-to-face tuition, advice and mentoring.
We work with individuals and parent institutions to deliver support that ensures our members have clear direction, high-level capabilities, knowledge about their options and the confidence to make the right career choices, for pathways both inside and outside academia.
Our goal is for researchers to have the best possible chance of achieving their full potential in careers that reflect their personal priorities.
PostdocTraining’s focus is online delivery of on-demand training, career development support and remote mentoring of researchers. This enables the team to service clients around the world, including individuals and institutions in Australia, the US, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Ireland and Scandinavia, while we also deliver on-site workshops.
PostdocTraining’s recent work for institutions has included a variety of workshops, seminars and long-term courses for Lund University, the Karolinska Institutet (Stockholm), the University of Oslo, the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, LaTrobe University and Victoria University.
Kerstin Fritsches, Founder, Managing Director and Head Trainer
Kerstin is a joint German/Australian national with a PhD in Neuroscience (1999). Her research background spans 12 years as a research fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia; research collaborations with several institutions in the US and Sweden; and projects funded by the Australian and US governments, and industry partners.
Kerstin’s broad experience within academia included involvement in postdoc affairs and policy, and career development training for emerging researchers, as well as teaching, course coordination and research management. Her own professional development has included training in facilitation and mentoring.
Stephen is a joint UK/Australian national with over 25 years of corporate and government management experience in the UK and Australia, as well as roles in academic research, grants policy and program management.
Stephen's work on research/industry linkages, his experience in managing people and projects, and his long-term involvement in mentoring for effective leadership and teamwork, reinforce the practical intent and focus of PostdocTraining’s services.
Stephen Evill, Co-Founder and Director