Promotion of PhD candidates

At any given time, there are between 40 and 50 doctoral students at the Leibniz-IZW. Doctoral students come to the Leibniz-IZW to acquire the degrees of “PhD” in any field, ”Dr. rer. nat.” in biology and similar fields or “Dr. med. Vet.” in veterinary medicine.

We consider the support of young scientists to be a task of high priority. In addition to scientific supervisors, the Leibniz-IZW appoints two staff scientists to be the doctoral student coordinators and general advisors to doctoral students. Both organise and chair the monthly doctoral seminars, serve as facilitators for the organisation and coordination of activities within the Structured Doctoral Training Programme, assist with the organisation of the international PhD student symposium, and are contact persons for non-technical problems of doctoral students. New doctoral students also receive support from two other, more experienced doctoral students as mentors to facilitate integration into the institute.

“Guidelines for Doctoral Dissertations at the Leibniz-IZW” were developed by a working group of doctoral students, scientists and the institute’s management and last revised in March 2011. The English version of the document was approved in May 2012. The guidelines are currently in the process of being updated again. We explicitly stipulated standards and procedures for supervision of doctoral students in the “Guidelines for the good supervision of doctoral students at the Leibniz-IZW” developed between 2016 and 2018 and approved in 2019. The guidelines specify tasks and responsibilities of supervisors during different phases of a doctoral project, from the planning phase via the hiring and working phases to completion of the dissertation and publications of manuscripts.

Several general courses are offered annually in the Structured Doctoral Training Programme, such as an introductory course on biostatistical analysis and experimental design, and two courses on the theory of science (epistemology) for life scientists, including gender aspects. In addition, students receive an introduction to the rules of Good Scientific Practice. Facultative courses offered include advanced statistics as well as training in methods of knowledge transfer such as creating movie abstracts or writing easily understandable texts.

Every two to three years the doctoral students of the Leibniz-IZW organise an international PhD student symposium with talks by several internationally renowned scientists. The goal is to give students experience in organising conferences, securing funds, and to discuss a specific research topic with other students and senior researchers. In September 2019, the doctoral students of the Leibniz-IZW organised their 5th PhD symposium (“Science is also Yours: Working and Communicating with the Public”).