Crash course on navigating academic life

Want to learn more about supervisor-student communication, how to deal with failure, how to avoid getting burnt out, de-stressing and relaxation? Then this crash course is for you.

Registration is closed.

An academic career is rewarding in the sense that it allows to dive into scientific challenges, discover new things, and work in an environment dedicated to achieving excellence. At the early stages (PhD and Postdoc) an academic career is ripe with obstacles, failures and dilemma encountered during scientific work. However, of equal importance is to understand uncomfortable psychological and social confrontations, how to handle and overcome them to get a fruitful outcome for one’s own work and life experience. These can be, for example, how to handle novel challenges, communicating and collaborating with supervisors and colleagues, or how to get a hold on feelings after a never-ending series of failed experiments and be able bounce back from failure.

We are arranging this crash course for the third time. Last year we focused on giving tips and tricks for handling work-related conflicts, how to face getting your paper rejected, misunderstandings and miscommunications at work. The focus of this year is to learn more about dealing with the inevitable problems and obstacles you will encounter during your PhD or Postdoc life, including failures, emotional stress and setbacks, how to react when feeling overwhelmed with your workload, how to contribute to a good psychosocial work environment. We hope participants will profit by being able to take home lessons on how to set good practices in their work environment, maintaining a balanced lifestyle and setting their goals more clearly, which will make their career enjoyable as well as benefit their general wellbeing.

Main topics

Main topics

Practical information all PhDs and Postdocs should know.

Dr. Matteo Sangermani, Postdoc, NTNU

Scientific research is a hard career. This is so because we are pushing the boundaries of human knowledge. But this career is also hard for reasons beyond technical challenges. These can be the long hours, frustration, and emotional stress, but also miscommunications with colleagues in the lab, feeling lost and unable to decide which road to pursue amongst the many possible choices of a project. The most challenging is perhaps establishing a career path. In science success can come in many ways, but this freedom can be bewildering and overwhelming. Matteo will share the most important lessons learnt as international PhD and Postdoc. In addition, he will briefly introduce some practical information that early PhD and Postdoc should keep in mind to establish a successful plan for their career.


Getting a hold on Stress

Andreas Dønåsen - Fysioterapeut & Livsstilsveileder

Andreas Dønåsen is a physiotherapist, lifestyle counsellor, urban gardener and philosophy student. He is forever curious about human beings and how we interact with our environment. He spends his free time on food foraging, "friluftsliv" and permaculture. Professionally, he runs a holistic centre where he offers treatment, courses and group sessions. In addition, he holds regular talks and courses on health, nutrition and lifestyle for businesses, teams and other organisations.

He will lead a session on how to deal with stress and difficult emotional situations, both theoretical and practical. He will teach how to detect the sign when our body is under stress and how that leads to getting burnt out. He will also teach to identify the underlying source of stress, rationalize them, overcome, and use them to our advantage through a mix of mental and physical techniques. The workshop will be interactive with group discussions and allowing the participants to share and discuss their own experiences, and it will include a practical lesson on breathing and meditation.


Working life in Norway, rules and regulation / Unions: Tekna

Alexander Ivensen (Tekna Representative)

Alexander Iversen has a MSc in Political Science from the University of Oslo and University of Westminster. He has experience as a local union representative and in working with employee rights. Today, he works as a counselor in Tekna, advising members on working life matters. He is a strong advocate for the Norwegian Model and the advantages of being a part of a labor union.

In this session, the Norwegian Model (what it is, and how it explains Norway’s success), challenges, opportunities and rights that you need to know as a PhD/ Postdoc will be presented.


Creating a Professional Identity & gaining career clarity

Dr. Amani Said from Success Beyond The Lab

As a founder of Success Beyond The Lab, I am on a mission to empower 10 million scientists within the next 10 years in launching dream careers while making an impact in our society. My curiosity and passion for understanding life led me to pursue a Ph.D. in
Developmental Biology at the Max-Planck Institute in Dresden, Germany. Having dealt with burnout and mental health challenges in my career brought me to discover the field of personal development. Traveling all across the globe I learned from the best coaches and trainers in the field of personal growth. This helped me to uncover my potential and develop a growth mindset to create a dream career and life. Applying these same tools I have been privileged to coach and train over a thousand scientists in career & personal development. During this workshop you will learn; How to gain more clarity on your career path, How to create a career vision & plan, How to uncover your core values and main skills, How to develop a growth-mindset to achieve any career goals you have in
Outside of work, actually at work too :D, you will find me dancing. Swing dancing is one of my biggest passions. Whatever opportunity I have I enjoy bringing people to join me on this fun body movement activity. 

“Your Career is like a never-ending experiment, be Curious, Explore and Enjoy the Re-Search - Amani Said”


Preliminary program

Thursday 1 September

  • 12:00 - 13:30   Arrival, check-in, lunch
  • 13:00 - 14:45   Welcome "Practical information all PhDs and Postdocs should know. Matteo Sangermani
  • 14:45 - 15:00   Coffee break
  • 15:00 - 15:45   Introduction: Why stress is becoming so prominent in academia? Andreas Dønåsen
  • 15:45 - 16:00   Coffee break
  • 16:00 - 16:45   Stress as a strength: manage and implement stress in our daily lives. Andreas Dønåsen
  • 16:45 - 17:00   Break with snacks
  • 17:00 - 17:45   Breathing & Presence: regulate stress in the body with conscious practice. Andreas Dønåsen
  • 17:45 - 19:00   Workshop: Moving & Breathing. Andreas Dønåsen
  • 19:00 - 21:00   Dinner

Friday 2 September

  • 09:00 - 10:15   Creating a Professional Identity & gaining career clarity. Dr. Amani Said
  • 10:15 - 10:30   Coffee break
  • 10:30 - 12:00   Creating a Professional Identity & gaining career clarity. Dr. Amani Said
  • 12:00 - 13:00   Lunch
  • 13:00 - 14:00   Working life in Norway, rules and regulations. Alexander Ivensen
  • 14:00 - 14:15   Coffee break
  • 14:15 - 15:15   Working life in Norway, rules and regulations. Alexander Ivensen
  • 15:15 - 15:45   Summary and sharing of lessons learned
  • 15:45               Bus to airport

Practical matters

There are a limited amount of places available. All participants will be accommodated at Sola Strand hotel. The research school covers all expenses for its members upon submission of travel reimbursement claims after the course. After the application deadline, you will receive information on whether you have a place in the course or not. Please do not book flights etc. until you receive this information.



Rosalie Zwiggelaar,

Published June 16, 2022 4:25 PM - Last modified Aug. 1, 2022 5:23 PM