Aarhus University Seal


Are you working as a postdoc or interested in a postdoc position at the Faculty of Natural Sciences? Here you will find information on the postdoc position including how you can develop your career.

Scientific position: Postdoc

Researchers who continue working in academia after completing their PhD are typically employed as postdocs. We support postdocs in developing their next career step, within or – more commonly – outside academia. To ensure this, researchers in fixed-term positions must have a career development dialogue with their leader.

  • A postdoc position is time-limited, typically 2-3 years.
  • A postdoc usually works on a specific research project under guidance of a scientist with more seniority .
  • A postdoc is mainly focusing on research, but is often involved in other tasks such as teaching and supervision of graduate students. 

What is a postdoc position?

A postdoc position is time-limited, and is typically the next step for researchers who continue working in academia after completing their PhD. The main duty of a postdoc is research, and postdocs typically work on a specific research project under guidance of a more senior scientist. The postdoc can be managing the research project, as is the case for most projects supported by postdoc grants, or be part of a larger collaborative research project. Some postdoc projects include collaboration with a private company. Besides research, postdocs are often involved in other tasks, such as teaching and supervision of graduate students.

By far, most postdocs at the Faculty of Natural Sciences are employed for only a relatively short period. Keeping the postdoc employment between typically two and three years is in accordance with studies emphasising that postdocs gain important competences and skills in the first few years after their PhD, while prolonged postdoc employment (only danish) without a major change of direction often adds little to the postdoc’s career opportunities. In line with this, postdoc employment in Denmark is limited to at most four years at the same university.

Due to the temporal nature of a postdoc employment, career development from postdoc to next employment is a primary focus for both the postdoc and their leader. Clarification of career goals, career planning and competency development are therefore important aspects of a postdoc period. Accordingly, the Faculty of Natural Sciences strongly encourages and supports postdocs in reflecting upon their individual professional ambitions and talents, and to match these with career opportunities in the private or public sector in Denmark or elsewhere. In addition, we strive to secure the time and peace of mind necessary for this development by means of an adequate duration of postdoc employment.

Senior positions at universities are few, and the Faculty of Natural Sciences acknowledges that not all members of the postdoc community should pursue a university research career. However, there is a strong demand for researchers in natural sciences by both the private and public sector in Denmark. It is in this spirit, that we offer access to a wide range of career counselling and skill development measures, both with respect to careers inside and outside academia.

What does it take?

Our ABC-criteria describe the entry criteria that the Faculty of Natural Sciences uses when assessing candidates for different types of scientific positions. First and foremost, it is an invitation to dialogue between a (potential) candidate for a position, and the department in question.

Access the Vitae career tools

Vitae is a career platform containing advice and knowledge on developing as a researcer and how to support or supervise others in their career.  Aarhus University is a member of the Vitae Community, so all AU researchers have access to the full suite of online resources. 

Sign in and register to Vitae with your AU institutional email domain, and you will have unlimited use of professional development and training materials.