Strategy First, Details Later - Building Your International Career
At this event, biomedical Ph.D. students and Post-doctoral fellows learned how to strategize an international research career.
“Science is a global enterprise,” workshop leader Dr. Sarah L. Poynton (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore) said at the German Center for Research and Innovation (GCRI) New York on August 26, 2010. “The center of gravity for scientific research and development is shifting from the U.S. to Asia, and to a lesser extent, Europe and Australia.” Yet, most American Postdocs decide against an international career, simply because most of them are not aware of the opportunities.
In the interactive workshop, attended by approximately 50 participants, Dr. Poynton covered a broad range of topics from need and importance of such a career to developing a personal and professional “win-win” situation. Encouraging the scientists to invent their own routes, she successfully engaged all participants in open dialogue, individual written and small group exercises, and endearingly illustrated the power of networks. With a particular focus on the role of mentors, culture, and logistics, she said: “Never underestimate the global professional currencies of “Thank you”, time, and information.” Evaluations demonstrated a statistically significant increase in knowledge in all of the topics Dr. Poynton presented.
Dr. Poynton, who has worked in 11 countries on five continents, taught from vast experience. The Associate Professor of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, and Associate Professor of Art as Applied to Medicine, held dual appointments in the U.S. and in Germany from 1997-2007. While keeping her main appointment at Johns Hopkins University in the spring and fall, she held guest scientist and visiting professor positions in Berlin, the rest of the year. In addition, from 2005 to 2006, she also worked as consultant for the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.
GCRI executive director and director of the German Research Foundation’s North America Office, Dr. Marion Müller, in collaboration with the German University Alliance and the Heidelberg University Association, presented German funding opportunities for Ph.D. and Postdoc students looking to enhance their international career profile. As a result of Dr. Müller’s engaging and informative presentation, many participants indicated that they are seriously considering Germany as a research destination, according to GCRI director Dr. Joann Halpern.