Qualification Program

Our qualification program aims at fostering early independence of the PhD students selected for the RTG. We will, on the one hand, provide the necessary support and, on the other hand, motivate the students to get involved in shaping the RTG themselves. The program will be taught in English, thus welcoming international students in particular, and preparing all students for a future career in academia, industry, and beyond. All participating research groups are used to working in an interdisciplinary and international context and are experienced in educating PhD students.

Students have to collect at least 20 ECTS during their 3 to 4 year PhD time. The qualification program ist structured with six key measures, briefly described in the following.

Key Measures

Each doctoral student is supervised by a TAC with three members, i.e., the supervisor and two additional PIs, typically with complementary expertise. While typically in our groups the student and their advisor meet several times per week, the student and their TAC meet at least once a year to discuss the current state of the student’s research and to advise on scientific courses. During the TAC meetings, the students will be asked to present their work in a short talk and thereafter discuss open questions. During TAC meetings, we provide constructive criticism in both directions, i.e., by the students and by the supervisors, in order to reach the joint goal of achieving the highest scientific level possible. The TAC, together with the student, evaluates their academic skills (e.g. publications, conference contributions), professional skills (e.g. key competencies) and at a later stage also discuss future career development.
We offer the PhD students ample opportunities to attend internal meetings, seminars and workshops on the Göttingen campus, but also in participating in national and international conferences, where they will present their own work. Our approach is highly interdisciplinary, comprising theory and experiment, as well as different disciplines, and bridging from molecular to cellular scales. Thus, we encourage the PhD students to participate in lab exchanges along the lines of the PhD projects: The students spend some time in the groups of their partners and thus gain different perspectives on the same research question and get to know a broader range of methods.
Bi-weekly, an interactive seminar with experts in the field will be established. Beyond participating, discussing with the guest speakers and building their own professional networks, students are encouraged regularly suggest and invite speakers.
We offer a number of courses aimed at the state-of-the-art methods we use in our research groups. Each course consist of a lecture/discussion part and a practical part. Lecture slides, protocols and instructions will be compiled via the virtual lab.
These courses will be aimed at skills required for a successful scientific career in academia or industry. A course on good scientific practice is offered early during the PhD program and is mandatory. We further offer courses on literature search, paper and grant writing, plotting of data and figure design, tutoring and teaching, oral and poster presentations, as well as peer review. We ensure that the content of the courses benefits from our everyday experience, with real-life examples being presented and discussed.
It is an integral part of our educational program to supervise the RTG students in becoming good teachers. To achieve this goal, the PIs will provide direct feedback to students who serve as tutors or instructors. During their PhD time, each student shall tutor at least one “homework session” and one lab course for a semester each. Additionally, they are involved in peer-teaching of the fellow-PhD students.