COVID-19-related measures taken by the GGNB - Information for GGNB doctoral students (21 September 2021)

In addition to the regulations and measures of the Presidential Board (Präsidium) of the University, which are communicated in the regular UniNews you receive at your student email accounts and which you can also find here, we would like to inform you of the following measures taken by the GGNB in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic:

Admission and enrollment processes take place as usual. Admissions interviews currently take place online. For enrollment you will receive the respected information after your admission to GGNB.
Information about residence and visa under pandemic conditions is provided by Goettingen International.

Most Professional Skills Courses are offered again either online or in presence.

Methods Courses take place either online or in presence if possible. Unfortunately, quite a few methods courses still have to be canceled due to incompatibility with the pandemic restrictions.

A preview of skills and methods courses planned for the winter term 2021/22 can be found here.

Please check the monthly GAUSS newsletter for updates on (online) Methods courses

TAC Meetings can be held in presence or video-based. Please refer to the current University rules to check whether meetings in person are permitted. At level 3, TAC meetings in person are not permitted. TAC meetings are to be held as scheduled and should not be postponed.

The recommendations by the data protection officer of the University apply. The videoconferencing page of the GWDG informs about various videoconferencing services with recommendations and guidelines on how to use them.

In-person TAC meetings

Signatures of the TAC members can be collected on site on the regular TAC meeting confirmation sheet in case of meetings in presence. This confirmation sheet can be send to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices either by email or regular mail.

Video-based TAC meetings

To facilitate the procedure of video-based TAC meetings, the doctoral candidate should confirm per email that a video-based meeting took place. Sending this email confirmation in cc to the three Thesis Advisory Committee members replaces their confirmation by signature. Please use the following text for the confirmation email.

Applications for Thesis Extension

Applications for thesis extension should be discussed in the (virtual) TAC meeting and the application form should be send to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices by email or regular mail. The application form can be signed by the TAC Members in person. If personal signatures aren’t possible (eg. in case of video meeting), the application form should be send to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices by email and in cc to the TAC members.
To account for delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the deadline for submission of the doctoral thesis was extended for ALL GGNB doctoral candidates who started their PhD project before 30 March 2020 by three months. We will closely observe the future development of the situation and will consider additional flexibility if needed. Please note that the 3-month extension of the submission deadline does not entail funding for that time-period from our side!

• The submission of your doctoral thesis (dissertation) is to be done electronically. For details, please check the Countdown to doctoral degree.
• The electronic submission of your dissertation with all relevant documents ensures that you have kept the official submission deadline. Based on the electronic submission, the further process towards the completion of your doctorate will be initiated. This includes the electronic transmission of your thesis to the reviewers for further assessment and your admission to the doctoral examination.
• Please note that you still need to print one hardcopy which we will need for our archive later. This hardcopy needs to be submitted to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office within one month after the thesis defence at the latest. There will be no need for additional hardcopies sent to the office.
• Please discuss with your examination board whether a member may request a printed version for his/her personal use.

Thesis Publication is possible with the SUB. To avoid personal contact please send them the two glue-bound copies of your thesis by regular mail. Please also check the SUB Website.

Upon receipt of the printed copies the SUB will confirm the successful publication to us.

The publication deadline will be met by a timely upload of the PDF versions to the eDiss portal.

In line with the University rules, both in-presence and video-based oral examinations (disputations) are permitted under the usual hygiene protection measures (see also Coronavirus-related updates of the University)

Please discuss with your examination board well in advance if your disputation will be video-based or held in presence and inform the corresponding GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office at least 2 weeks before your defense.

For examinations in presence the following GGNB-specific rules apply in addition to the regulations and measures issued by the Presidential Board:
• The room used for the disputation must be well ventilated (by doors/windows).
• A minimum distance of 2.5 meters must be maintained between those present throughout the examination and when selecting a seat. The chairperson of the examination board (usually the 1st supervisor) is responsible for ensuring this by booking an appropriate room and preparing seating including a seating plan.
• Masks must be worn by all those present. The disputant also has to wear a mask during his/her presentation and discussion unless a minimum distance of 3m (better 4-5m) to the audience is guaranteed.
• Disinfectant is recommended for the treatment of used surfaces before and after the disputation. In addition, the general hygiene regulations (e.g. washing hands) should be followed in particular.
• The number of guests should be kept as low as possible.
• Participants should enter and leave the room individually.
• A list of participants including name, phone number and email address must be prepared in which each attendee is recorded (including the examinee and the examination board members). The list must be safely kept for 4 weeks in case contact tracing by the health authorities should become necessary. After 4 weeks, it has to be destroyed.
• When the examination board advises on the grading, the guests should already leave the building.

• Receptions, celebrations etc. after the disputation are not permitted inside the buildings.

For video-based disputations, the following rules apply:

It is possible to take the doctoral examination (colloquium with presentation and oral defense) using an appropriate video system. The videoconferencing page of the GWDG informs about various videoconferencing services with recommendations and guidelines how to use them.
Due to data protection considerations there is a basic recommendation by the University and the data protection officer to prefer the use of BBB for oral examinations. Please note the terms and conditions about the use of video conferencing set forth in this document
• Before using Zoom for disputations, please read carefully Manual for instructors regarding Zoom and Notes on Art. 13 of the EU basic data protection regulation (only in German).
• The rights of the participants under Art. 13 of the EU basic data protection regulation (EU-DSGVO) must be respected and thus, a video-based disputation requires the consent both for the format and the tool by the PhD candidate and all members of the examination board, as well as the approval by the speaker of the respective doctoral program. This consent should be sent to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office by email.
• The video-based disputation in an electronic meeting room is as usual limited to the University public while personal guest of PhD candidate are allowed. We recommend to limit the number of participants (e.g. to a maximum of 25 including the PhD candidate and the six members of the examination board). All guests who want to participate within these capacity limits need to register (name and Email address) at least three days prior to the disputation with the chairperson of the examination board. The participation of guests is at the discretion of the chairperson of the examination board.
•In case of technical difficulties that affect the presentation and participation of the examinee or of members of the examination board, the chairperson of the examination board may decide to terminate the disputation at any time. In this case, an alternative date will be required for repeating the examination. In order to ensure stability of video/audio transmission, it may be required to reduce the number of online participants and limit it to the PhD candidate and the members of the examination board. Should an unstable video/audio connection require the participants to reconnect, the disputation must be terminated after three reconnections proved to be insufficient.
•At the end of the thesis defense the examination board will convene in a closed online session. Once an agreement has been reached, the examinee will be invited to rejoin the online meeting and will be informed about the results.
In addition to the measures for doctoral oral examinations (disputations) indicated on this website, the following rules apply for the use of the GZMB seminar rooms:

Use of the GZMB seminar rooms for disputations only by doctoral candidates with whom at least one member of the examination board belongs to a group based in the GZMB/Ernst-Caspari building.
• Use of the GZMB seminar rooms for a disputation only after approval by Prof. Ernst Wimmer ( as speaker of the GZMB subject to proof that the responsible program speaker has agreed to a disputation in presence (= forward the program speaker’s approval to Prof. Wimmer).
• Room bookings must be made at least two weeks in advance via the secretary of the Department of Developmental Biology ( (forward her the program speaker’s and Prof. Wimmer’s approval).
• Disputations in the GZMB seminar rooms can only take place as of 12:00 noon at the earliest.
• The large GZMB seminar room (0.232/0.233 with open partition wall) must be used for disputations. The front door is marked as entrance, the rear door as exit.
• Based on a seating plan provided by the GGNB Office (, the MolBio Office ( or the secretary of the Department of Developmental Biology (, a seating plan must be prepared by the chairperson of the examination board, on which all participants in the disputation are named. A list of all participants including name, phone number and email address needs to be attached to the seating plan. In doing so, as for the entire conduct of the disputation, a minimum distance of 2.5 m must be maintained.
• In addition to the examinee and the members of the examination board, a maximum of 10 additional guests (university public) may participate in the disputation.
• Masks must be worn by all those present. The disputant also has to wear a mask during his/her presentation and discussion unless a minimum distance of 3m (better 4-5m) to the audience is guaranteed.
• After the presentation of the examinee, the room must be cross‐ventilated for at least 5 minutes by opening the windows and doors.
• Persons with signs of a cold (e.g. sneezing, coughing) may not participate in the defense.
• The decision as to whether members of the examination board can be digitally connected at short notice if necessary is the responsibility of the chairperson of the examination board, as is the technical implementation required for this.

The announcement of all thesis defenses (via video conferencing or in presence) can be found on the GAUSS website.
Since the attendance of both video-based and on site disputations is limited, we will refrain from sending an email invitation to all doctoral students of the corresponding GGNB program. In case you are interested in participating in a disputation, please check the GAUSS website yourself and inform GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office and the doctoral candidate three days prior to the defense (in case of video-based disputation).
• The GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices are working mostly in the offices again and offer Office hours by appointment. We can still be reached best by email, but sending regular mail or contacting us by phone is also possible with certain limitations in regards to physical presence in the office.
• We prefer to receive all documents by email as electronic versions (scans) - this ensures a speedy processing of your request. Documents which reach us by (Haus-)Post will of course also be processed, but it might take a little longer.
• All correspondence (admission to examination, invitations, etc.) will only be sent by e-mail.

Unfortunately, all convocation ceremonies during the winter term 2020/21 had to be cancelled and it is currently unclear when the next ceremony will take place.

Please see the information on the GAUSS webpage.

Addition to Doctoral Degree Regulations (RerNat-O) valid since April 2018: §7a Measures in the event of significant disruptions to teaching and examination operations, valid retroactively since 16.03.2020
In consultation with the GAUSS Board and the deaneries of the mathematics and natural science faculties, the Presidential Board (Präsidium) has decided to change the doctoral degree regulations in view of the current coronavirus COVID-19 epidemic. The modification is mainly intended as a legal framework to permit flexible solutions regarding deadlines for thesis submission or TAC meetings and to maintain (video-based) teaching and examinations. The measures have been implemented to avoid considerable disadvantages especially for doctoral students.
The change involves adding a new paragraph §7a to the doctoral degree regulations, which was just announced in the Official Announcements I of the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and will take effect retroactively as of 16.03.2020. §7a simply covers the legal side of the measures taken by GAUSS, that were already sent to you last week by email and can be found on this page.

We very much hope that the situation will improve soon and that we will then be available for you again as usual.

Thank you for your understanding, and keep well!

Your GGNB, IMPRS and MolMed Offices