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Highlights from the cross-border career workshop "PhD, what comes next?" 2022

The 2022 online edition of the cross-border workshop took place from 29 November to 1 December 2022 and gathered participants from Luxembourg, Germany and France. Like the previous year, this year’s seminar was aimed at PhD candidates at the end of their PhD programs, and young researchers on a temporary contract from all fields who wish to pursue a career in the non-academic sector.


Why a crossborder event?


Pictures and testimonials



The 3-day cross-border workshop for PhD candidates follows in the footsteps of its predecessor, a cross-border seminar for postdoctoral researchers which has been organised four times in Luxembourg between 2015 and 2018. Since 2020, the cross-border workshop for PhD candidates and new PhD holders is organised online by ABG and its Luxembourgish and German partners.




 Why a crossborder event?

Here is some feedback from the participants:

"The cross-border aspect of this workshop was an important glue, a red thread, the common factor between everyone, so definitely a big YES for a cross-border workshop!”
"It's great because there's a lot of potential out there and it's nice to meet peers who are not too far away."   

Since 2015, the seminar has maintained its cross-border format, with participants from France, Germany and Luxembourg. This international dimension reflects some of the common questions that early researchers in most European countries have (e.g. the increasing competitiveness of the academic job market, lack of information on opportunities outside academia...). The online format makes it possible to join the seminar from different places. It also gave the PhD candidates completing their joint PhD with other countries the opportunity to attend the seminar.


This year, the seminar brought together 18 participants from very different fields, such as biology, immunology, physics, material sciences, neuropsychology, computational social science, environmental sciences and ecology, geography, psychology, arts and cinema …

The participants already had international mobility experience as PhD candidates. This workshop dedicated some time to designing their next possible international move, suited to their desires and expectations and helping them to adapt to current recruitment norms in the countries where they are planning to move. By bringing together PhD candidates from three different countries and several nationalities, an intercultural environment was created. This provided an opportunity for them to learn from each other, to share different perspectives on living and working abroad. 



The 3-day program aimed to prepare the participants for carefully defining their career choices and promoting the benefits of their PhD training and highly valued skills obtained through this experience. Participants were invited to reflect on their career plans by relating their previous work experience to their personal and professional desires and values.


Focusing on France, Luxembourg and Germany, the workshop provided insight into the international job market and opportunities for PhD holders in different sectors. It presented the recruitment processes and applications outside academia, as well as tools to explore the market, identify companies and job offers. In addition, it focused on effective communication and introduced methods and guidance to help participants present their background, research topic, experience, skills, and future career objectives.


The participants directly applied the concepts learned during various role playing, individual and group exercises integrated into the program. This launched a soul-searching and self-assessment process, allowing them to focus on what they really want to do next and to follow these ideas up with concrete actions afterwards.

“The content was up-to-date and the links and advice on where to find jobs outside academia were very useful. The group activities were all impressive and the timing was flawless”.
“This workshop did not only meet my expectations, it eventually surpassed them”.

The participants also had the opportunity to exchange ideas with international PhD holders working outside academia in different sectors and organizations (industry, consultancy, international public institutions...) or who started their own companies. The panel speakers provided valuable insights about the skills and qualities which recruiters expect and provided key advice to help candidates develop their network and communicate effectively outside academia. They also gave valuable information about the transition from one country to another, and the adaptation to a new culture and new professional codes. 


ABG warmly thanks the speakers who took the time to share their experience as PhDs having successfully switched into careers outside academia:

  • Christiane Abele, PhD in Modern and Contemporary History, Research & Innovation Consultant at ARTTIC
  • Alberto Noronha, PhD in Computational Biology, Co-Founder & CEO at Nium
  • Elise Ho-Pun-Cheung, PhD in Political science, Researcher-consultant at Datactivist
  • Camille Carré, PhD in Polymer Chemistry, Polymer Scientist at Airbus




“I particularly enjoyed the interactive parts where we discussed the different issues all together or in small groups. Listening to the stories of real people, their opinions and experiences made it a whole different thing, really motivating and useful. I am very grateful to the organizers for creating an environment where there were so many exchanges between the participants from the beginning to the end!”
"The workshop provided surprisingly comfortable and stimulating environment for exchange, even in the online format! The combination of plenum discussions and multiple breakout rooms functioned perfectly!"
What they learned
"Career planning is important; it simplifies the job application process”.
“I have learned that in many ways I am already well positioned. I have enough time before graduation to think about my career goals and I am very confident that once I have them clearly in front of me, I can achieve them with what I have learned in the workshop”.
“There is a multitude of careers possible outside of academia. There are also many things you can actively "tune" (e.g. CV) and practice (e.g. pitch) in advance to apply for jobs. The self-marketing can be done in an authentic manner, too”.  
" Any time is a good time to build your network (in particular with social media). The network can be very wide, not just from your area and your position. You might be surprised at the positive responses that you might get from your network. Don't be shy, go for it: there is nothing to lose everything to gain!"



If you are you interested in organizing a similar workshop for PhD candidates or postdocs, contact us for more information:

Melike Riollet, PhD – Head of International Department


Kristina Berkut, PhD – Training and International Cooperation Manager