Fellows took advantage of the numerous opportunities to develop their skills and professional careers during their stay in Liège or abroad. The development and growth of a fellow’s career was indeed at the heart of this programme. A budget of up to 15,000 EUR/year was earmarked for initiatives that supported a postdoc’s professional development: conference attendance either as a participant or an organiser, publications, training, etc.


Seminars, trainings and events were organised free of charge in all domains, enabling the postdocs to develop their skills. An annual programme was published online and organised according to institutional HRS4R priorities. If a programme was not available in house, postdocs were invited to join external sessions. 17% took advantage of external opportunities.

The Vitae-UK Researcher Development Framework (RDF) was used as a reference for the classification of skills.

Knowledge and Intellectual abilities

Depending of the acquisition and comprehension of  various concepts, postdocs selected curriculum to enhance their competencies. The most requested courses were  in statistics and data management: (Bio)Statistics,  Multivariate statistics, Time series analysis, Data management.

Several postdocs in Life Sciences attended training sessions on the use of animals in research and received the FELASA (Federation of European Laboratory Animal Science Associations) certification.

Personal Effectiveness

Fellows attended training sessions on Intercultural communication, From evaluation to motivation, Team Management, Conflict management, Use of social network for career development, Professional skills for research leaders, and writing an Academic  CV. Some participated in a unique and creative pilot programme (see below Link’in Wallonia)

The ULiège Foreign Languages Institute offered courses in national and foreign languages : French, German, Spanich, Chinese, Japanese. Many fellows benefited from the classes and greatly improved their level of French, the university’s official language, successfully passing the DELF  (Diplôme d’études de langue française) - DALF (Diplôme approfondi de langue française) exams.

Research governance and organisation

Fellows attended training sessions on writing grants and article reviews, and on professional conduct (ethics, intellectual property rights, Open Science, health and safety, hazardous waste management).

Engagement, Impact, Influence

All post-docs attended a congress or conference, primarily to present their results. They were involved in tutoring, mentoring and supervising students and young PhD researchers. Many contributed to lectures and some were even involved in developing course curriculum. Postdocs were also offered the possibility of attending a training on teaching organised by IFRES, but none of them took advantage of the opportunity.

They were given media training and tools to effectively communicate their scientific research to the general public. Public speaking and presentation skills were also developed as part of their professional development.  

Some decided to spend a month or two visiting other labs in Italy, the UK and Switzerland for the purpose of collecting data or gaining experience with specific techniques.

Professional Skills for Research Leaders

Postdocs were offered the opportunity to participate in a long term seminar on leadership development. This programme was developed on the basis of an Epigeum online course, with the support of University College Cork.  It was personalized for the ULiège community by a steering committee comprised of young established researchers and Vice-Deans for Research. 

Read Gérôme Arnold's communication on this project at Freie Universität Berlin in June 2018.


Postdocs attended networking activites and participated at conferences and researcher events. ULiège created two new original initiatives, developed with the support of the Federation Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Figure Networking
  • Linkin'Wallonia: a programme launched in 2013-2014, invited postdoctoral fellows to learn about the political, socio-economic and research structures in their host region of Wallonia. A series of conferences and seminars were given by experts from different institutions, which enabled postdocs to gain insight into the different regional structures. Ideas were presented on the different roles they could have in designing Wallonia’s scientific future, regardless of whether they stayed in the local area in the long term. They had the opportunity to visit the Walloon Parliament as well as the European Parliamentarium to discuss their research with politicians, regional research leaders and industry researchers (Union Wallonne des Entreprises). A part of this programme took them “out of the lab” with an opportunity to develop a personal project relating to Walloon culture: theatre, football, visits, or any other week-end activity that could be organised with their family. This programme provided them also the opportunity for social and cultural enrichment during the fellowship.
  • Meet & Greet gatherings which discussed BeIPD research project topics were organised twice a year as after work events. Key note speakers from outside academia were invited to dialog with the postdocs and the public. These meetings allowed researchers to exchange and consider ideas and practices with professionals and peers. 8 meetings were organised from February 2016 through fall 2018, and required mobilising ULiège partners.

Outreach activities

The purpose of the outreach activities was to explain the benefits of research to a large audience and to bring knowledge and expertise on a particular topic to the general public.  These activities offered an interaction between the researcher and the receiver of the message, therefore the engagement was a two-way communication between the researcher and the public. Many Postdocs never had ths opportunity before. They were trained and supported by Réjouisciences to participate in the European Researchers' Night.

Watch the video in which they speak about their experience in a mall (ERN 2017)

Feedback from fellows

Everyone who participated in a ULiège training was asked to complete an evaluation form and to suggest future topics of interest that could be added to the training portfolio. Fellows requested workshops on Academic CV writing, grant writing and network management. These trainings were added to the course catalogue.

Fellows from the first 3 cohorts responded to the questionnaire and evaluation form. 90% were convinced that transferable skills training were critical for their career development.

Read Raphaela Delahaye's report on the results of the BEIPD fellows satisfaction survey.

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