Advisory Network

If you are a doctoral student who would like to resolve a question, clear up a misunderstanding, or receive advice and support during a conflict or crisis (including psychosocial and psychotherapeutic counseling) please talk to someone about it. The sooner you act, the greater the chance the problem can be solved and not become a conflict.
The first point of contact is always your doctoral supervisor. If this person cannot help you with your concern, please contact the confidential advisor of the faculty. If you are worried about confidentiality, you can also contact the confidential advisors of the other two GGG faculties or the Ombuds Office. You can also contact any other institution in the list below.
Important: All consultations are confidential, i.e., you decide what further steps to take and who to involve in the further process. This particularly applies to counseling sessions with confidential advisors, the Ombuds Office, the equal opportunity officer, the staff council, and other officers.

Contact Persons for Questions during doctoral Studies:
1. doctoral Supervisor / main Supervisor
The supervisor is the professor who supervises your work and evaluates the progress of your work as well as the recognition of academic achievements and publications, among other things. Look for this person at the beginning of your doctoral studies before you apply for admission to the faculty. The first steps to a doctorate are described at:

2. other Members of your Thesis Committee / second and third Supervisor
The supervisory committee serves to support and supervise your doctorate in addition to the main supervisor. Depending on the doctoral degree regulations and practice, it is variously staffed with the main supervisor plus one or two people at the beginning of the doctoral program. This committee is intended to reduce dependence on the main supervisor and provides supplemental input and suggestions for solutions.

Confidential Supervisors of the Faculties
Like the Ombuds Office, the confidential supervisors on the faculty level are the first point of contact when it comes to good scientific practice. They provide advice on how to handle scientific standards and how to avoid scientific misconduct. In addition, you can consult the confidential advisors if there are problems or conflicts with your doctoral supervision that cannot (only) be solved with the main supervisor or the thesis committee.
The basic principles are confidentiality, fairness, and transparency for all people involved. Requests for advice will be treated confidentially; no information will be given to superiors or supervisors.
The person directly responsible for this is the confidential advisor at your own faculty. However, if it is not possible to use this counseling, you can seek advice from the confidential advisors of the other GGG faculties. This can be useful, for example, if you fear conflicts of interest at your faculty or a threat to your anonymity.
The confidential advisors of the GGG faculties are (as of April 2023):

doctoral Students’ Representatives
The doctoral students' representatives at the faculty are elected annually by the enrolled doctoral students. Specific information on the election of doctoral students' representatives is published on the website of the law and foundation department. The doctoral students' representatives are the contact persons for all doctoral students. They advise on questions concerning doctoral studies and represent doctoral students in the faculty council, the board of the GGG, the senate, and other committees:

Office of the Dean of Studies
The dean of studies is responsible for ensuring course offerings and student advisory services, as well as for carrying out examinations. She or he works to ensure that all faculty members and affiliates fulfil their teaching and examination responsibilities. (§45 Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG)) The dean of studies has the following duties in the case of doctoral studies:

  • Admission of students to the doctoral program
  • Appointment of the members of the thesis committee
  • Changing the thesis committee if necessary
  • Examination of the credits earned in the doctoral program
  • Admission to the disputation
  • Examination of the revision certificate / publication
  • Awarding of the doctoral degree
  • Upholding the doctoral degree regulations

Information about the deans of studies can be found online:

Office of the Dean
The office of the dean manages the faculty. The office of the dean implements the decisions of the faculty council and is accountable to it. The office of the dean includes the dean, at least one dean of studies, and, if stipulated in the basic statute, other members as well (§43 NHG). The office of the dean has the following responsibilities in the case of doctoral studies:

  • Upholding the procedures in the faculty (incl. doctoral degree regulations).
  • Financial resources (incl. funding for doctoral studies)
  • Staffing (incl. questions about workload, protection of qualification time)

Information about the offices of the deans can be found online:

Equal Opportunity Officers
The equal opportunity officers work to fulfill the actual implementation of equal opportunities for women and men and the elimination of existing disadvantages. The central equal opportunity officer (Dr. Doris Hayn) is involved at the university level, the decentralized equal opportunity officers do this at their respective faculties and institutions.
Equal opportunity officers are not bound by professional orders or directives. They offer advice and support in cases of sexual assault and harassment as well as discrimination based on gender. Equal opportunity officers are active in a variety of committees, meetings, working groups and more, and they can serve as discussion partners to consider solutions and options. The starting point of any consultation is to directly support a person in their particular situation.
The counseling is confidential and upon request anonymous.
The central equal opportunity officers and these of the GGG faculties can be reached here (as of April 2023):

Ombuds Office for Good Research Practice
The ombuds office is an advisory body that provides independent, cross-faculty assistance to all university members and affiliates on issues related to good scientific practice. The ombuds office is headed by Dr. Katharina Beier.
The advice provided by the ombuds office is strictly confidential. In addition to preventive questions on the specific implementation of standards of good scientific practice, the ombuds office also advises on GSP-related conflicts (e.g., data use, authorship, etc.).
At the request of a person seeking advice, the ombuds office establishes contact with an ombudsperson. It is discussed with the ombudsperson whether the concern can be clarified in the context of a consultation or whether – because there is a suspicion of scientific misconduct – an investigation by the three ombudspersons (who form the ombudsperson board) should take place. The decision on this lies solely with the person seeking advice. Neither the Ombuds Office nor the ombudspersons will initiate action without the consent of the advice-seeker.
The ombuds office published a short information sheet specifically for doctoral students in 2022.

Further information from the GGG on ensuring good scientific practice can also be found online.

More information about further consultation can also be found at the right column.