How to pursue an academic career

How to pursue an academic career


Leuven, Park Inn Hotel

Start date:

10 February 2020

10 February 2020

General context

Are you confused about your academic career? There is a solution.

  • Are you struggling to get reliable and honest advice on how to pursue a successful academic career?
  • Do you want to become part of the small group of scientists who know how to succeed in academia?
  • Do you want to know the unspoken rules of a successful academic career?
  • Do you want to know how to dramatically increase your chances to become a professor?
  • Do you want to know how a selection committee screens for good candidates?
  • Are you unsure whether you want to pay the price (a lot of effort, time and money) to become a professor?

During this training session, we want to give you pragmatic advice on how to become a professor in science.

Learn the open secrets of academia that nobody tells you!


Common questions young scientists ask are:

  • What should I do after my PhD or Postdoc research?
  • How do I get funding?
  • How do I get published in high impact journals?
  • Do I have to do research abroad? If so where should I go?
  • How can I balance a career in science with a healthy and fulfilling family life?

During this training we will share the answers to these and many other questions that young scientists face as they make their first few career decisions.


After an interactive session with Prof. Sven Hendrix, young professors in the field of life sciences will share their experiences in their journey to become a professor.

Event intended for

PhD students, postdocs and staff scientists - especially in the life sciences and similar domains such as biology, biomedical sciences and medicine - who want to get the best advice on how to become a professor and how to pursue a scientific career with success.

Extra information
  • This training is only open for VIB participants and is free.
  • Note that upon no show without valid justification a fee of € 100 will be charged and you will be blacklisted for the VIB training program for 1 year. Click here for more information.


Sven Hendrix

Prof. Sven Hendrix is a Full Professor for Neuroanatomy and the Director of the Doctoral School for Medicine & Life Sciences at Hasselt University in Belgium. In partnership with other colleagues and universities in Belgium, he also organises university and national events to support young scientists in their careers.

In his current role, he has found a good career and life balance. However, like many scientists his career has been an emotional roller-coaster, jumping between many different jobs and countries. He discovered his passion for science studying medicine in Berlin (Germany). He did a lot of research there and was also very mobile. He studied in Parma (Italy) with ERASMUS and did research stays in Hamamatsu (Japan), Harvard (USA) as well and London (UK). He moved back to Berlin and worked for six years in an anatomy department. Then, after two tedious years of applying for a limited number of professor positions in Germany, he started looking internationally. He managed to secure three interesting offers, from Imperial College (UK), University of Southern Denmark (Denmark) and Hasselt University (Belgium). After negotiating for several weeks and weighing up the different options, he moved to Belgium in 2008 and has never had minute of regret!

Navigating his science career has been a long and challenging journey so he is excited to help make it easier for young scientists. Through this course he will share his experience, as well as bringing you the best advice from other star and role model scientists.

Eleonora Leucci
Laboratory for RNA Cancer Biology, KU Leuven
Sha Liu
Fly Sleep Lab, VIB-KU Leuven Center for Brain & Disease Research
Roos Vandenbroucke
Department of Biomedical Molecular Biology, VIB-UGent Center for Inflammation Research
Eve Seuntjens
Developmental Neurobiology, Department of Biology, KU Leuven, BE



Registration and lunch


Introduction: What are my chances to become a professor?

How to convince a selection committee?

The best strategy to get funding for my profile


The best publication strategy for my profile


Teaching - Do I really need teaching skills?

Technical skills - When are technical skills relevant to become a professor?

Three types of professors - Which type am I?


International mobility - Do I really have to work abroad?

Intersectoral mobility - Should I have industry experience, and can I easily come back?


Coffee break


Network and international reputation

Define your niche - communicate your USP

Vision + leadership - How to develop scientific independence?



Practical info

Location & Venue
Park Inn by Radisson Leuven

Martelarenlaan 36
3010 Leuven

Public transport
Park Inn by Radisson Leuven
Public transport

The hotel is located 300m from Leuven Central Station. The hotel connects to Leuven Central Station by a pedestrian bridge.

Route description
Park Inn by Radisson Leuven

Park Inn hotel has no own parking. It is possible to park underground in P1-Parking Station Leuven, Martelarenlaan 4, 3010 Leuven.

Venue contact
Park Inn by Radisson Leuven
Location contact

+32 16 61 66 02