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Old 28.01.2015, 12:23
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Postdoc in Switzerland

Salut,

I have been offered a job as a Postdoc at EPFL, and will have a conversation to discuss details on Friday. I then have another week to make up my mind between this and other options outside Switzerland.

I suppose I will decide which job to take based primarily on the science, and that's something I have to work out for myself, with the help of my present and potential future colleagues.

However, should I decide that Lausanne is where I want to be, is there anything I should enquire, request, or look out for, in the discussions about the offer?

For example, in some countries, it is common to get an offer such as "3+2" years, with the extension depending on performance. Is that common in Switzerland and at the EPFL / ETH? Are there different types of employment contracts (e.g. fellowships vs. regular contracts) that I should be aware of? For example, in Germany, a regular contract can sometimes be preferable to a fellowship, whereas elsewhere, fellowships can be preferable.

These are just some questions I can think of, but perhaps there are questions which you would ask that I haven't yet thought about.
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Old 28.01.2015, 12:31
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

I have also interviewed for postdoc positions in Switzerland, but then decide to go to Norway due to the better science.

Now, I am trying again at the ETH, not as a postdoc, but as a senior assistant.

I hope it will work out for you.
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Old 28.01.2015, 12:57
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

Congratulations on your post doc offer at EPFl..itz a very good institute.. well as for your question.. You will be coming with B permit and the contract for you would be one year and have to renew each year if they like your performance.


Lausanne is a cool place with nice scenary and lot of activities.. you will like it immediately


K


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Salut,

I have been offered a job as a Postdoc at EPFL, and will have a conversation to discuss details on Friday. I then have another week to make up my mind between this and other options outside Switzerland.

I suppose I will decide which job to take based primarily on the science, and that's something I have to work out for myself, with the help of my present and potential future colleagues.

However, should I decide that Lausanne is where I want to be, is there anything I should enquire, request, or look out for, in the discussions about the offer?

For example, in some countries, it is common to get an offer such as "3+2" years, with the extension depending on performance. Is that common in Switzerland and at the EPFL / ETH? Are there different types of employment contracts (e.g. fellowships vs. regular contracts) that I should be aware of? For example, in Germany, a regular contract can sometimes be preferable to a fellowship, whereas elsewhere, fellowships can be preferable.

These are just some questions I can think of, but perhaps there are questions which you would ask that I haven't yet thought about.
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Old 29.01.2015, 10:50
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

Thanks for your responses. Do you have an idea of whether the annual renewal is typically capped (say at 3 or 5 years)? I guess I'll just have to ask about that, and this is probably something the person who wants to hire me cannot change, as it will depend on where my money comes from. I don't worry too much about my salary, but having to move again after only two years would be a disadvantage, especially since I have been offered "3+2" contracts elsewhere.

I will ask more specific questions in the "Employment" section.
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Old 29.01.2015, 12:54
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

I can only tell you about ETH. They have a limit of 12 years (PhD, postdoc, Senior Assistant).
I will join as a Senior Assistant, so the limit at this stage is 6 years max. Then I could apply for a permanent position, but it is quite difficult to get it (as I was told by my future PI).
So I would say a max of 9 years (postdoc + assistant).
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Old 29.01.2015, 21:06
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

Hi all, I currently work as a postdoc in the ETH domain (one of the research institutes). My contract was initially for one year, then extended for a second year.
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Old 29.01.2015, 23:24
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

What Murphy said: If it works like ETHZ, which is the same 'domain' thus system, you will get yearly contracts that can be renewed up to 6 years. Renewal will depend on your performance and available funding. Ask your boss about that. After 6 years you have to be promoted to 'oberassistent' (senior postdoc), a position you can hold for another 6 years. That's it if you are not offered a permanent position. There are very few of those around. Fellowships usually provide lower salaries than ETH contracts and usually no social security (except Swiss fellowships). In some cases they are topped up to those standards. Ask your boss. Of course, if you obtain a personal fellowship, you will never be fired as long as it lasts.

Last edited by mgosia; 29.01.2015 at 23:43.
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Old 03.02.2015, 14:29
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

Hi,

Initially you get a contract for 1 year that can be renewed. I will say that most of the post-doc do not stay in the same position/institute for more than 2-3 years.
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Old 03.02.2015, 15:17
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Re: Postdoc in Switzerland

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For example, in some countries, it is common to get an offer such as "3+2" years, with the extension depending on performance. Is that common in Switzerland and at the EPFL / ETH? Are there different types of employment contracts (e.g. fellowships vs. regular contracts) that I should be aware of? For example, in Germany, a regular contract can sometimes be preferable to a fellowship, whereas elsewhere, fellowships can be preferable.

These are just some questions I can think of, but perhaps there are questions which you would ask that I haven't yet thought about.
If your future PI is employing you, then most probably you are going to have a regular contract.

How long is this contract? This is something you have to ask them about, because it depends on the source and the amount of funding. Either your future PI has enough money for one year or s/he has money for 5 years. I advice you to be very clear about the funding in particular, because you could be offered a position for 2 years, with the "potential" of renewal in case more funding is secured (which is usually through a pending grant), if this grant isn't accepted then you might have to leave, am sure you are ware of that, just a heads up.
Source of funding can make a difference, positions payed by the Canton are usually up to 5 years, positions payed by grants, normally 2-3 years.

Good luck
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