COVID-19-related measures taken by the GGNB - Information for GGNB doctoral students (Last update: 31.07.2020)

In addition to the regulations and measures of the Presidential Board (Präsidium) of the University, which you receive at your student email accounts, we would like to inform you of the following measures taken by the GGNB in the light of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis:

20.03.2020, 16:10

For doctoral candidates whose doctoral examination (disputation) was supposed to take place in the current winter semester, but has to be postponed to the next semester due to the coronavirus crisis, it is not required to enrol (re-enrol) for the summer semester (starting in April). However, if doctoral candidates want to re-register, this is also possible (especially if this is required, for example, by residence law). Please note that the reimbursement of fees upon re-registration is then possible up to one month after the start of lectures (currently this would be 20 May 2020 at the earliest).

25.03.2020, 16:43

The City of Göttingen has announced an extension of the residence permits until 30.06.2020 by default (for expiration dates within the period from 23.03.2020 up to and including 29.06.2020). This was announced in the official journal of the City of Göttingen (Amtsblatt) on 28 May (only this text is legally binding!). For details please find the announcement here (PDF, only in German).

In short: Since foreigners are prevented through no fault of their own from submitting renewal applications in person due to restrictions on the operation of the foreigner's registration office, the following documents which expire within the period from 23.03.2020 to 29.6.2020 are extended ex officio until 30.06.2020:

• Temporary residence permits (national visas, residence permits, EU Blue Card, ICT cards, mobile ICT cards)

• Toleration and residence permits and border crossing certificates of foreigners with their main residence within the City of Göttingen.
An extension of the departure deadline must be requested in writing without delay as soon as the infection prevention measures have been lifted again.

10.06.2020, 11:14

Support possibilities for international students who are detained in their home country for more than 180 days due to the pandemic and have to fear that their residence permit will become invalid.
This is acomes along with the passage according to §51 section 1 | 7 AufenthG, under which a residence permit expires if the holder stays abroad for more than 6 months /180 days.
In general, the validity of the regulation which leads to the loss of the residence permit after beeing 180 days out of the country has been restricted.

1) Holders of a residence permit that is still valid:
Contact the relevant administrative department at the foreigner's registration office (City or District of Göttingen). You will receive a custom-fit copy of the certificate of fiction (Fiktionsbescheinigung/Fortgeltungsfiktion) by e-mail, and, at the same time, the original certificate will be send by a courier service to a consulate (named by the student). The certificate can then be picked up in person or forwarded by post. The procedure in detail is at their discretion (and probably depends on the catchment area of the individual consulate). The original certificate of fiction can be presented to the Federal Police upon immigration together with the valid residence permit. The foreigner's registration office strongly recommends that the original certificate should be presented upon immigration, but assumes that the Federal Police would also accept the (printed) copy if the individual circumstances can be substantiated in the individual case.

2) Holders of a residence permit which is due to expire soon and which should be renewed:
You can send your application documents for renewal (in contrast to the usual procedure) by e-mail to relevant administrative department at the foreigner's registration office (City or District of Göttingen). You will then receive a copy of the certificate of fiction (Fiktionsbescheinigung/Fortgeltungsfiktion) by e-mail. At the same time, the foreigner's registration office will send the original document via a courier service to the embassy or the responsible consulate in your home country. You must pick it up in person, or the consulate will forward them by post - the procedure in detail is at their discretion (and probably depends on the catchment area of the individual consulate).

3) Holders of a residence permit that has already expired:
You must actually apply for a new visa. The local immigration authorities here guarantee that the corresponding applications will be processed quickly, but they are aware that the main hurdle is the receipt of a new interview date for making an application - and unfortunately they cannot help you with this. They are working on a fast-track option for these cases, but this has not yet become concrete at the present time.

Since the "solutions" for groups 2) and 3) raise follow-up problems, it is urgently necessary that you keep regular contact with the foreigner's registration office and provide information on your current situation. The foreigner's registration office assures proactive advice and wants to take early action to prevent the members of group 1) from 'slipping' into group 2), let alone into group 3).
Please check updated lists of Methods and Skills courses in summer term 2020.
A preview of skills courses planned for the winter term 2020/21 can be found here.

01.07.2020, 12:28

Please check the monthly newsletter for updates on online Methods courses

31.07.2020, 16:31

Please check this page for updates on Professional Skills courses, next to the ones announced in the monthly newsletter.

Short online course: Introduction to Statistics for PhDs, 17-18 Sept 2020 - check here

SUB: Online course on Introduction to IT - check here for more information and the format of the course.

01.07.2020, 13:32

Please check the GAUSS Career Blog for more information

24.03.2020, 12:21

In times of COVID-19, the Centre for Statistics continues to offer statistical advice online via Skype (Dr. Jennifer Lorenz). The service comprises in particular consultation on data collection, statistical modelling and statistical inference.
Registration for a 1-to-1 statistical online consultation is still possible via the online questionnaire, please register for consulting in English or German.

20.03.2020, 10:42

All in-person courses and events (skills, methods, industry excursions, career workshops and career impulse sessions)
organized by the GAUSS and GGNB Offices are cancelled until further notice.
Exception: The online project management course “Fast Forward”, offered by Dr. Nadine Sinclair will be held as originally scheduled.

08.05.2020, 15:12, updated post from 20.03.2020, 10:42

According to the measures of the Presidential Board as of 08.04.2020 and the revised version of the regulations and measures as of 07.05.2020 (Version 2.0; as of now only in German) it is recommended that teaching, studying and examinations should take place digitally and should not be attended in person. This also applies to TAC meetings.

We recommend to arrange TAC meetings in near future by video‐conferencing and avoid face-to-face meetings.

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.

27.03.2020, 14:00, updated post from 20.03.2020, 10:42

Changes in Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) Meetings from 20.03.2020:
To facilitate the procedure of video-based TAC meetings, the TAC members should confirm to the doctoral candidate 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. Alternatively, signatures of the TAC members for the video-based TAC meeting can be collected within one mont after the current COVID-19-related state of emergency has ended. Please use following text template.

20.03.2020, 10:42

• It is recommended that all TAC meetings scheduled for the coming weeks (at least until 20 April 2020) are postponed unless there is an important reason for keeping the envisaged date. Please contact the members of your TAC to discuss the need for postponing your next meeting.
• In case of an important reason, it is possible to hold your TAC meeting by video‐conferencing. The recommendations by the data protection officer of the University apply. Face‐to‐face meetings are not permitted. The videoconferencing page of the GWDG informs about various videoconferencing services with recommendations and guidelines how to use them.
• The GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices will be able to assist with technical issues regarding your video-based TAC meeting.
• After your video-based TAC meeting, an email to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices is sufficient which reflects the content of the TAC Confirmation Form and by which all three TAC members (in cc) confirm their participation in the meeting. The GGNB Office will prepare a text template that can be used for that purpose.
• Likewise, applications for thesis extension should be discussed in the virtual TAC meeting and be confirmed to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices by email.

20.03.2020, 10:42

To account for delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the deadline for submission of the doctoral thesis will be extended for ALL GGNB doctoral candidates by three months. We will closely observe the future development of the situation and will consider additional flexibility if needed.

27.04.2020, 11:09

Should the size of your dissertation(s) be too big to send them by email, please send us an email in advance. We will provide a GWDG cloud folder in which you can upload the files. We are not allowed to use external cloud services.

20.03.2020, 10:42

•The submission of your doctoral thesis (dissertation) will have to be made electronically until further notice.
•On the day of submission, please send us three PDF files: (i) The complete dissertation identical with the print version, (ii) the version without personal information (for the plagiarism check), and (iii) one PDF that includes all completed and signed forms as a scan (see handout “Countdown to doctoral degree”). If you don’t have access to a scanner, you can take photos of the forms (which must be clear enough to read) and send them as a combined word or PDF file.
•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 current COVID-19-related state of emergency has ended. 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.

21.03.2020, 13:56, updated post from 20.03.2020, 10:42

Point 7 of our measures remains valid (Thesis publication: The submission deadline will be extended up to one month after the end of the current COVID 19-related state of emergency.), although you can also submit your thesis electronically as a PDF to the SUB (see instructions on eDiss). The SUB checks the incoming PDF files (including all metadata) on their eDiss portal on a daily basis. As soon as your thesis has been uploaded, they will forward the corresponding message to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office to inform us that you have fulfilled your obligation to publish. As far as the printed copies of your thesis are concerned, the SUB relies on the personal responsibility of the doctoral candidate. You are requested to send the printed copies to the SUB via mail (post). After the SUB staff is able to work on site again, they will consolidate all documents and send the written letter of confirmation of publication directly to the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office. You will be notified via e-mail upon the release of your dissertation.

20.03.2020, 10:42

• Thesis publications are not possible until further notice due to the shutdown of the SUB.
• Should your publication deadline expire within the next weeks, please contact the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office by email to ask for an extension of the deadline. The submission deadline will be extended up to one month after the end of the current COVID 19-related state of emergency.

05.05.2020, 14:21

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 (ewimmer@gwdg.de) 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 (sekretariat.entwbiol@biologie.uni-goettingen.de) (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 (ggnb@gwdg.de), the MolBio Office (gpmolbio@gwdg.de) or the secretary of the Department of Developmental Biology (sekretariat.entwbiol@biologie.uni-goettingen.de), 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 with the exception of the disputant during his/her presentation and discussion.
• 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.

08.05.2020, 15:07

In line with the regulations and measures of the Presidential Board (Präsidium) for protection against infection as of 08.04.2020 and the revised version of the regulations and measures as of 07.05.2020 (Version 2.0; as of now only in German), GGNB still strongly recommends video-based disputations (e.g. via zoom), even though oral examinations in presence are now permitted under strict hygiene protection measures (see also Coronavirus-related updates of the University).

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.
• 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.
• A maximum of 10 guests (university public) in addition to the members of the examination board and the examinee is permitted, but 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).
• When the examination board advises on the grading, the guests (university public) should already leave the building.
• Receptions, celebrations etc. after the disputation are not permitted.


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 video-based disputations, the rules indicated in our announcement from 20.03.2020, 10:42 still apply.

20.03.2020, 10:42

•It is strongly recommended that all disputations scheduled for the coming weeks (at least until 20 April 2020) are postponed unless there is an important reason for keeping the envisaged date. According to the current assessment, we recommend to postpone the date of the disputations scheduled for March or April by at least two months though it is not possible to make any reliable prediction how the COVID-19 crisis will further develop.
•It is the responsibility of the doctoral candidates to organize an appropriate date of their thesis defense and keep the GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices informed about any change of date.
•In case of an important reason, it is possible to take the doctoral examination (colloquium with presentation and oral defense) using an appropriate video system such as “Zoom” (zoom.us). The videoconferencing page of the GWDG informs about various videoconferencing services with recommendations and guidelines how to use them.
Note of caution: Experience tells that such video-based meetings are often subject to technical challenges such as interrupted connections or poor sound/video quality so that they have to be terminated. The recommendations by the data protection officer of the University apply. https://www.uni-goettingen.de/en/576209.html
•A video-based disputation requires the written consent (email to GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Office) by the PhD candidate and by all members of the examination board, as well as the approval by the speaker of the respective doctoral program.
• The GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices will be able to assist with technical issues regarding the video-based disputation.
• The video-based disputation in an electronic meeting room is limited to a maximum of 20 participants (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 GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices. 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.

01.04.2020, 12:53

All thesis defenses which will be held via video conferencing can be found on the GAUSS website. As indicated in our announcement (6) from 20.03.2020, 10:42, an electronic meeting room is limited to a maximum of 20 participants (including the PhD candidate and the six members of the examination board) – therefore, 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 three days prior the defense.

20.03.2020, 10:42

• The GGNB/IMPRS/MolMed Offices are closed until further notice. In urgent cases you can reach us via email.
• Please do not send any documents by post – only send electronic versions (scans). We do not know when we will be back in the office – we can only process documents if we receive them electronically.
• All correspondence (admission to examination, invitations, etc.) will only be sent by e-mail.

04.05.2020, 11:49

Unfortunately, the convocation ceremony on July 24th, 2020 has to be cancelled as well and it is currently unclear when the next ceremony will take place.

20.03.2020, 10:42

• We regret to say that the doctoral graduation ceremony on April 24th, 2020 is cancelled.
• The next ceremony will take place on July 24th, 2020.
• If you have been registered for the ceremony in April, you will be re-registered for July. Please understand that, since we will have to accommodate a double amount of participants, we cannot allow guests at the ceremony in July.

31.03.2020, 13:03

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