Ghent University Postdoc Day

1st Ghent University Postdoc Day

On November 9 2023, the first Ghent University Postdoc Day was organized in the Aula. This day marks a decade of support for postdocs at Ghent University: in 2013 Ghent University launched the Postdoc Talent Management Program to help postdocs in managing and planning their career.

At the same time, the Postdoc Community was set up, the inclusive community by and for postdocs. So, what better way to celebrate this 10 year anniversary than organizing a big birthday event for the large community of postdocs (around 1800) at Ghent University!

The aim of the Postdoc Day was to connect postdocs and to provide a unique platform for learning, networking and getting to know the broad service offer for postdocs at Ghent University. In addition to plenary sessions on topics relevant to postdocs, a fair was hosted where postdocs could become acquainted with and talk to representatives from several UGent services that provide support in the postdoc and future career journey.

Have you missed the Postdoc Day, or want to relive the vibe? Take a look at presentations and pictures below.


Overview of the program & presentations

  • Plenary session 1: Postdoc @Ghent University: what to expect?

After a warm welcome by the rector, postdocs got an overview and insight in what they can expect as a postdoc at Ghent University re support in their career.  

  • Fair service offer support for postdocs.

Throughout the event, postdocs could visit a fair with all the support services for postdocs. The booths ranged from support in your postdoc time (HR support for internationals, mental-wellbeing, representatives of postdocs in university boards) to support in preparing the next career step (experts on writing grant applications and securing postdoc funding, vacancies & selection procedures for professorships, the career model for professors, entrepreneurship & valorization, the non-academic labour market, ….). Missed it? Take a look at the pitches 

In this session, 3 former postdocs gave a testimonial and shared their reflections and advice on their career trajectory from their postdoc job to current career.

Speakers: Prof. Lieve Van Hoof (former president Postdoc Community, now professor in History), dr. Stijn Dhondt (former postdoc, now Head of Agro-Incubator at VIB), dr. Jan Hullaert (former postdoc & member postdoc Community, now Research project manager Ajinomoto Bio-Pharma Services).

Moderators: Ilias Semmouri & Mattias Van Heetvelde (Steering members Postdoc Community)

  • Plenary session 3: Pitch Perfect Postdoc contest

This contest was a unique opportunity for postdocs to showcase their research and communication skills in a dynamic three-minute pitch. To ensure participants were well prepared, we organized a pitch training session (provided by The Floor is Yours). This unique workshop equipped the participants with effective strategies to deliver engaging pitches and capturing the attention of the audience.

A diverse group of 8 talented postdocs took to stage, presenting a wide range of innovative and impactful research projects (see overview). The audience played a crucial role by voting for their favorite pitch. Karen Peynshaert from the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences emerged as the well-deserved winner of the Public Vote.

Our jury members have great experience in scicomm: Philippe Smet, Esther De Smet (UGent) and Katleen Bracke (Universiteit van Vlaanderen). They carefully selected the top three pitches who won vouchers to follow additional scicomm trainings organized by the SciMingo SciCommAcademy. Kelly Van Lancker from the Faculty of Sciences secured the third-place honor, while Susanne Fischer, also from the Faculty of Sciences, claimed second place. Karen Peynshaert (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences) also won the jury vote.

Congratulations to all participants for their impressive performances and a special acknowledgement to our winners! Special thanks to our jury members also.

Overview of participants:

-          Natalia Alderete (Faculty of Engineering & Architecture): ‘Concrete is not a rigid rock’

-          Bahram Barati (Faculty of Bioscience Engineering): ‘Turning brownish wastewater to blue gold’

-          Paola Ruffo (Faculty of Arts & Philosophy): 'I wish they could see the magic'

-          Susanne Fischer (Faculty of Sciences): ‘The speed dating approach for retired wing turbine blades’

-          Kelly Vanlancker (Faculty of Sciences): ‘Personalizing psoriasis care: a statistical revelation’

-          Merlijn Sebrechts (Faculty of Engineering & Architecture): ‘What if your car gets hacked?’

-          Meryem Benelajla (Faculty of Engineering & Architecture): ‘Night photography’

-          Karen Peynshaert (Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences): ‘Laser shooting to enhance retinal drug delivery’


An overview of all photos can be found here