FIMM is positioned at the interface between the University, hospitals, biobanks and the pharmaceutical industry. As a result of this arrangement and together with the research topics of the FIMM Grand Challenges, a significant demand for senior level experts capable of handling complex collaborative and multi-disciplinary projects has emerged. Academic group leaders are not enough to handle all these demands, and without formal support and training, postdoctoral fellows and senior researchers may not be sufficiently equipped or motivated to uphold the high standards of FIMM. Thus, spurred by recommendations by the FIMM Scientific Advisory Board, an institutionally sanctioned career development program, FIMMPOD, was launched in 2014 to facilitate recruitment and training of the best postdoctoral candidates, and to support the career advancement of non-PI senior level researchers. FIMMPOD is a pioneering endeavor in Finland to offer institutionally endorsed and structured support for postdoctoral training, as opposed to voluntary activity common for self-organized postdoctoral councils.
FIMMPOD supports personal, work-related and transferable skill development of our postdocs and senior researchers. We offer a wide variety of opportunities for networking, training and socializing. We strive to foster a positive mindset to reach a satisfied community.
FIMMPOD helps by finding the best candidates and the best match between the postdoc and the group leader. As an EMBL partner, FIMM takes advantage of the increased visibility to promote the calls for postdoctoral fellows. FIMM also adopts the strict selection criteria the EMBL imposes on researcher excellence, which functions as a pre-selection filter for the best possible candidates. The role of FIMMPOD is also to assist with interviewing candidates, which helps to standardize recruitment practices across the institute and ensures that the best candidates are selected. This creates an additional level of confidence for both the candidate and the group leader.
2nd mentor program. FIMMPOD assists in identifying and recruiting well-networked, experienced individuals who are experts in relevant fields and genuinely interested in grooming the postdoc for the next career steps. Examples of 2nd mentors include biotech managers and clinical heads.
Workshops/special events on well-being. FIMMPOD arranges diverse events linked to finding strategies to coping with stress and increasing well-being. Examples include workshops on mindfulness and resilience.
Social events. FIMMPOD organizes several social events that maintain the unique FIMM team spirit, including a holiday lunch and ice cream social.
Workshops and courses. FIMMPOD arranges focused workshops and select courses that are aimed to benefit particularly FIMM staff. Several workshops and courses are co-organized with external partners and/or include invited speakers from outside FIMM. Example workshop and course topics include programming, data and concept visualization, grant writing, pitching, lay communication and research integrity.
Grant application exchange program. The grant application program and grant pitching workshops allow researchers to share their proposals for peer feedback in a safe, confidential way.
Career development library. FIMMPOD carries a collection of books relating to career development available to everyone at the institute free of charge.
Brown bag lunches. Postdocs are put into contact with key persons from as many potential employers as possible over the FIMMPOD brown bag lunches. The invited guests both present their own career choices and are available for discussions with all interested. The lunches are invaluable for postdocs who otherwise would be unlikely to reach out to the invited speakers on their own. Through these monthly lunches, several FIMM postdocs have made connections that have subsequently landed them new positions and strong future contacts.
Organized visits from the pharmaceutical industry. FIMMPOD has participated in organizing institute-wide events at which postdocs and seniors have had the chance to showcase their expertise and form contacts to potential new collaborators and employers. The largest of these events, FIMM meets Pharma, has sparked the formation of internships and shared academic/industrial positions.
Organized visits to other workplaces. We have made field visits to local pharma and other agencies to meet with and glimpse the working environments of potential employers.
Social events. FIMMPOD organizes several social events that maintain the unique FIMM team spirit, including a holiday lunch and ice cream social. FIMMPOD aims to keep the threshold of discussing even difficult topics among its members low.