My first postdoc position in times of the war

By Dr Nataliya Yadzhak, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Bayreuth

I defended my PhD thesis in applied mathematics and mechanics within a co-tutored PhD Program at the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, Ukraine, and the University of Clermont Auvergne, France, just at the end of the 2021 and received my doctoral diploma in February. I have planned to continue my postdoctoral research and teaching at my Alma Mater in Lviv. However, the new step in my professional life has fallen on the tragic and uncertain times in Ukrainian and European history.

Through networking with the members of the German-Ukrainian Academic Society, whom I got to know at the UKRAINET PhD Thesis Presentation Contest in Berlin last year, I have learnt about several postdoctoral positions I could apply for. In particular, help and support of Dr Nelia Wanderka (HZB Berlin), the DUAG treasurer, and Appl. Prof. Dr. Yuri Genenko (TU Darmstadt) were very valuable to me and I appreciate it a lot.

Dr Nataliya Yadzhak (Photo: private)

As a postdoctoral researcher, I was happy to join the group of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Uwe Glatzel at the University of Bayreuth and would like to share my impressions after the first two months there. Located in a small but beautiful and cosy town in northern Bavaria, the University of Bayreuth, including its Faculty of Engineering which I joined, is a vibrant and lively place, with plenty of seminars, conferences, fascinating scientific events, and festivals. During my short time in this position, I have already had a chance to take part in an annual research departmental seminar that enabled me to gain insights into the research topics currently being studied at the department, new research approaches and methodologies, as well as to get to know better my new colleagues. In addition, I was involved in the coordination of an SPP project meeting (DFG-funded Priority Programme “Compositionally Complex Alloys – High Entropy Alloys (CCA-HEA)” (SPP 2006) that brings together researchers from a number of German universities, working together in the same research area.

The current position of a researcher is both exciting and challenging. Exciting, since the research team is working on various novel metallic materials, studying their properties and potential application. At the same time, I feel constantly challenged by the research problems, approaches, and methodologies. From the theoretical background of mathematical modelling of mechanical processes, my research focus has now shifted to experimental investigations related to materials sciences. I appreciate this opportunity very much since it offers me an excellent chance to acquire new skills, expand my knowledge, and become a better professional.