Postdoctoral researchers move science and the scientific enterprise forward. The Zuckerman Institute provides postdocs with an enriched research environment to advance their scientific training and support their professional growth.
Zuckerman Institute provides postdocs with an enhanced level of institutional support that complements the research training received from their main advisor. Postdocs are encouraged to be active members of their training community, build a professional network, and participate in the many workshops and seminars that support their growth and training as future leaders in science. A selection of programs and opportunities is listed below.
Attendees at a Zuckerman Institute Postdoctoral Seminars event (Credit: Sirin Samman)
All newly onboarded postdocs are invited to attend the Institute’s Postdoc Orientation, hosted quarterly by the Programs Team. The orientation acclimates postdocs with the programs, events, and other activities that they can engage in at the Zuckerman Institute. This is also an opportunity to introduce them to the many individuals, groups, and clubs that they can interact with throughout their time at the Institute. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
The Alan Kanzer Postdoctoral Fellowship program at Columbia University provides an opportunity for talented early-career scientists to pursue pioneering research into understanding how the brain work: how it evolves, performs, endures and recovers. Fellows will be welcomed into the institute's vibrant intellectual community with broad-ranging collaboration opportunities. The institute welcomes Fellows from a diversity of disciplines and encourages them to carry out collaborative research under the mentorship of one or more faculty members. More details and directions to apply here..
The hub is an internal community website for searching, promoting, and collaborating across teams and labs. Many of the links for detailed information below lead to the hub, only accessible to current Zuckerman Institute employees and students affiliated with the Institute’s PIs. If you have additional questions, please reach out to [email protected].
Personal Board of Advisors: Postdoctoral scientists benefit from growing and maintaining a network of advisors to increase opportunities to receive scientific, technical, and career support. ZI supports postdocs in building this network by providing a framework to create a Personal Board of Advisors within and outside of the Institute and academia. Individuals whom the postdocs select to be on their Personal Board of Advisors can serve as mentors, coaches, sponsors, allies and advocates. These individuals provide postdocs with support appropriate for their current training status and steward their career growth as future leaders in science, technology and society. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Academic Application Boot Camp: The Academic Application Boot Camp is held each year in partnership with Columbia’s Office of Postdoctoral Affairs. The Boot Camp is designed to help postdocs preparing to enter the academic job market develop their application materials. During the summer sessions postdocs learn how to prepare applicants for the fall application cycle. During the fall sessions postdocs learn best practices for academic interviewing, including giving effective job talks and chalk talks. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Mentor & Mentee Training: Workshops are offered on how to improve the effectiveness of mentorship relations, both from the perspective of the mentors and from the perspective of the mentees. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Science Communication Workshop: Through these Science Communication Workshops, our postdocs are taught the skills to speak and write effectively for those both inside and outside their immediate fields, as well as with a variety of public audiences. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Postdocs find support and advice from a dedicated team of pre-award and research development specialists, who work one-on-one with postdocs to identify funding opportunities and to help them to develop and submit fellowship and career development applications. Support includes many resources such as detailed checklists, a library of funded proposals, strategic advice, and editing. The funding map below shows the most common opportunities for postdocs in neuroscience and related fields.
Trainee Community Building
Postdoc Faculty Coffee Chat: Featuring one PI along with a small group of self-nominated postdocs, these gatherings are a venue for postdocs to strengthen their professional network by connecting informally with the Institute PIs in a small group. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Postdoc Network: The Zuckerman Institute’s Postdoc Network is a platform for postdocs to establish informal relationships with other postdoc buddies, to receive and provide peer support at both the personal and professional level during their postdoc training. All postdocs of the Zuckerman Institute are encouraged to find (at least) one Zuckerman Institute postdoc with whom to establish a relationship of mutual support, aka “buddy relationship”. Postdoc buddies can: discuss science, share tips about career development and how to troubleshoot challenging situations, provide means of accountability, introduce people to other networks, and engage in any other actions of mutual support. Individuals are encouraged to create a diverse personal network of buddies to challenge their viewpoints and foster new ways of thinking. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
National Postdoc Appreciation Week: Since 2009, the National Postdoc Association has sponsored National Postdoc Appreciation Day/Week to recognize the significant contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to U.S. research and discovery. Zuckerman Institute participates by holding special events and programs throughout the week all designed for postdocs and their specific needs. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Zuckerman Trainee Advisory Committee: The Zuckerman Institute Trainee Advisory Committee (ZTAC) promotes the scientific training, professional development, and general welfare of all students and postdocs at ZI, advising the Institute leadership about the students and postdoc population’s needs and concerns. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Researchers connect with the local Harlem and South Bronx communities through a host of public programs aimed at sharing the challenge and excitement of learning how our minds and brains work. Volunteer and paid opportunities to engage with public programs are available all year.
Talk Feedback: All researchers at the Institute can receive unbiased feedback on their talks and presentations. Our skilled science communicator with a background in academic research, assists in perfecting your pitch. This is available at any point in preparation for the talk - from brainstorming ideas or ready to do a dry run. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Office of Postdoctoral Affairs: The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs supports and assists all Columbia Postdocs in their professional training and development. It offers in-depth guidance and resources to the Columbia University community on all matters pertaining to postdoctoral affairs.
Groups & Clubs & Affinity Groups: There are a multitude of grassroots organizations and groups that connect people across the Institute with similar interests. These groups enrich the researchers’ experiences at ZI. Such groups include but are not limited to: ZI Gender Inclusion (ZIGI) Group, Black People Space, ZI Board Game Club, ZI Athletics Club, Zuckerman Motor Club. More details for the ZI community can be found here.
Early career researchers gather in one of the many common spaces in the Jerome L. Greene Science Center