After your PhD graduation, you can apply for a postdoc position at a university, umc or research institute or apply for a grant to perform your own research project. Postdoc positions are often temporary appointments (1-4 years) in which you conduct scientific research.
As a postdoctoral researcher you often continue your research in the same or a related field as during your PhD. In a postdoctoral position you expand your research experience, by working at another university, in another lab, abroad, or by using a new research method.
The difference with your PhD research lies in the greater degree of independence and in the responsibility for the research project as well as for raising funds and for sharing knowledge (valorisation). Naturally, writing and publishing articles, applying for grants and teaching tasks are also part of the postdoc job.
For many PhD students, the postdoc position is an opportunity to continue in academia with the (eventual) aim to develop independent research lines and establish your own research group. However, the competition is strong. Only 20% of postdocs are appointed to professorship positions after holding a series of temporary positions (Rathenau Instituut, 29/4/2021, Science in Figures, the Postdoc).