Certification and Career Development for Postdocs

Career Development Program for postdocs Logo

• Introduction

The Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center Career Development Program in the area of life-long learning supports postdoctoral fellows in building a strong portfolio of their competencies and making it visible through a certfication. The program addresses questions such as:

  • How can I develop my research career?
  • What competencies do I need on an international level?
  • What skills should I develop?

The program aims to foster the postdoctoral continuous education with the following components:

• Training

PSC offers a fully established international training program of advanced transferable skill courses rooted in the competency framework of VITAE Researcher Development Framework. Training is offered in the areas of

  • Leadership skills
  • Advanced publication skills
  • Advanced fundraising skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Career management and retreat
  • Innovation management

• Mentoring

Experts from academia or industry share their experiences with each participating fellow. They offer guidance in understanding key factors for research and innovation careers in the highly competitive international landscape but also to move jobs between academia and industry and they provide focus during a critical phase.

• Career Development

Continuously evolving the Personal Development Plan is part of the assessment of the program. It includes tools for the self-assessment of skills and competencies, an action plan to establish SMART actions to reach the fellowʹs needs: Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic, and Time-oriented. Skills, competencies and experiences are documented in a portfolio, making development visible.
Documents (download):

• Certification

With the certification program we have a vision: PSC offers an accredited training components as groundwork for future appointments to postdoctoral fellows. Emerging scholars may build up a strong portfolio that articulates their knowledge, experience and acquired competencies. As scholars move from one postdoctoral position to the next, documenting the achievements in a researcher’s development becomes essential.

The certification gives evidence of continuous education and career development activities of the fellows and is organized according to the recommendations for life-long learning in the European Qualification Framework and the European Framework for Research Careers.

The certification is issued by the Zurich-Basel Plant Science Center and accredited by the University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and University of Basel.

• Certification scheme

180 hours of participation are necessary for the certification to be completed:



PSC post-doctoral courses and affiliated courses: These courses can be part of regular continuing education offer at University of Zurich, ETH Zurich and University of Basel. For PSC course work see training.


Attendance at 2 international conferences and active participation through presentation of research work.


The Personal Development Plan (PDP) is regularly revised by the fellow and will be evaluated by the TRAINING Board as part of the certification process.


Total of required hours of participation for program completion