The 4th Leibniz PhD Network General Assembly at the PIK!

Around 100 doctoral researcher representatives from around 70 Leibniz institutes and research museums met this this fall in Potsdam to exchange experiences, to network, to electthe new steering committee (SC), and decide on  the future our network. To get the full picture, read on!

Easy start into tough topics

Up on a hill with the promising name Telegraphenberg only 20 minutes from Potsdams monumental center, we ourselves in a kind of parallel world, where all was about science and now that we were there on science policy as well. This year’s General Assembly (GA) of the Leibniz PhD Net was hosted in September (25th to 27th) by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). With the good tradition of BBQ and social activities we kicked it-off and spend a lovely evening chatting, grilling and getting to know each other.

Those easy vibes turned into productive discussions on the second day. But first things first: The day started with a warm welcome by Prof. Ingo Bräuer, PIKS Head of Science Communication and Transfer and our very committed spokespersons Katharina Willenbücher and Jonathan Stefanowski. To our pleasure Prof. Debora Weber-Wulff (HTW Berlin) gave a keynote on misuse of power in academia and whistle-blowing. Her rousing speech led to a long discussion on the challenges doctoral researchers (DRs) face during their career and how to deal with them. Tough topic that a lot of members of the network want to see changed and are working towards it. Inspired for change we went into the “World Cafe” session during which we discussed the positions and new tasks of the working groups (WG) of our network.

warm welcome by Prof. Ingo Bräuer, PIKS Head of Science Communication and Transfer

Votes, votes, votes

On the second day we voted on changes in the Standing Rules and the new SC for the term 2019/2020. The new spokespersons are Anja Jahn (GWZO) and Jacob L. Gorenflos López (FMP), the new treasurer is Antoine Verrière (MfN), the new spokesperson for section A is Annika Diekmann (DBM), the new spokesperson for section B is Irene Broer (HBI), the new spokesperson for section C is Kristine Oevel (FMP), the new spokesperson for section D is Suyuan Chen (ISAS) and the new spokesperson for section E is Guilherme Abuchahla (ZMT). Congratulations!  Inspired by the spirit of the GA and SC 2018/2019, the eight newly elected members are looking forward to carry on the work of the year to come.

presentation of the new steering commitee (from left to right): Jacob Gorenflos (Network Spokesperson), Suyuan Chen (Section D Spokesperson), Annika Diekmann (Section A Spokesperson), Guilherme M. O. Abuchahla (Section E Spokesperson), Antione Verriere (Treasurer), Irene Broer (Section B Spokesperson), Anja Jahn (Network Spokesperson).

Setting up a long term agenda

But there were more decisions to undertake tackling the question which topics the network should focus on most in the upcoming year. Staring into the abyss of climate change and being hosted by one of the leading research centers on this topic 56.3% of the doctoral representatives voted that “greening the institutes” is a very or extremely relevant topic. This was topped by preventing power abuse, which a whopping 56.2% of you consider it to be extremely relevant and 24.7% to be very relevant. Again, this topic that touches us all. You are not alone! The N² Network (us co-working with our friends from Max-Planck and Helmholtz)  has published a paper on the prevention of power abuse. If you feel threatened you can contact your local PhD representative or Ombudsperson for help. In an overarching vote on all the topics discussed during the GA the improvement of the contractual situation and mental health were ranked second and third in the list of most important issues (see image below). So the order to the new SC seems clear: improved contract situations, better options to address mental health and power abuse issues and more sustainability. We are excited to see how far we get!

Results of the voting for a long term agenda of the Leibniz PhD Network

Any last words before?

A big thank you goes to the organizers of this GA: the SC of 2018/19, with a special emphasis of their spokespersons Katharina Willenbücher and Jonathan Stefanowski,  and additionally Aman Malik.

The 5th Leibniz PhD Network General Assembly will be hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education at the University of Kiel (IPN) from 1st to 2rd October 2020. See you there!

Implementation of Good Scientific Practice

Do you know the guidelines for good scientific practice (GSP) of the German Association of Sciences (DFG)? Do you know that supervision is explicitly a part of GSP? Or that the guideline itself states that the implementation must be ensured by the organizations? If yes, well done! Many scholars, on every possible career step in academia are not aware on how good science should be conducted. This is the conclusion of a World Café table that was moderated by the board members Jonathan Stefanowski (Leibniz PhD Network) and Tim Lienig (Helmholtz Juniors) at the UniWiND Symposium in Freiburg (Breisgau).


Call for Participation: PhD Survey 2019

The Leibniz PhD Network is currently running a survey on the working conditions of doctoral researchers in the Leibniz Association. Here, we highlight why it is important for you to participate and how your contribution helps to improve the overall situation.

Why should I participate in the survey?
The Leibniz PhD Network represents all doctoral researchers of the Leibniz Association. With your participation you have the chance to inform anonymously about your local situation. The more information is collected in the survey, the more precise are the evidence-based measures we propose. This information further serves as a strong base for any improvements.


Presenting the Leibniz PhD Network at your institute

A presentation for representatives in order to introduce the Leibniz PhD Network

For newly elected representatives it is sometimes difficult to gather all relevant information on their own institute and even more on the Leibniz PhD Network. In order to shorten this process and in addition to our Infos for Representatives section, the WG Communication produced a presentation for representatives in collaboration with the Steering Group. It contains relevant information on the structure, the survey, the working groups, and events.


The 2019 N2 Joint Event – From Research to Application

After the great success of the last N2 Conference in 2017 with around 150 participants in the Museum of Natural Science in Berlin, this year the N2 doctoral researchers’ representations of the Helmholtz Juniors, Leibniz PhD Network and Max Planck PhDnet organized another, much bigger interdisciplinary event titeled “From Research to Application”, as part of the Berlin Science Week 2019. It will take place from the 13th to  15th of November 2019 in the Umweltforum Berlin. This year´s main goal is to discuss how the basic research contributes to and how it can be translated into commercial interest. Connecting young scientists with experienced pioneers as well as basic research with industry will contribute to mutual exchange, growing networks between disciplines and the discovery of new perspectives.