The 2nd general assembly of the newly founded network was hosted by the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis (LIKAT), in Rostock in 2017. Many institutes recently joined or elected representatives of doctoral researchers, thus many new faces were welcomed, while others met again. Keep on reading for a personal account of two dense days of work, discussion and exchange.
After one year of active participation in the communication working group, it was especially nice to meet those again that I had been conferring with during this time. The very friendly and motivating atmosphere could not be spoiled by rain and wind, and it was also supported with a surplus of good food – especially pretzels.
The introduction of the network by the resigning spokespersons was followed by an introduction of the cooperation within N², the network of networks, combining Leibniz PhD Network, Helmholtz Juniors and Max-Planck PhDnet. We hope to learn from these longer established networks and generate possible synergistic effects when in need of a lobby for doctoral researchers in Germany. Dr. Sabine Müller, the research manager of the Head Office, presented the Leibniz Association and underlined the support for doctoral researchers and the network by the Leibniz Association.
The subsequent “World Café” instigated lively discussions and exchange of experiences. This welcome and necessary platform of communication among representatives also provided the network with something to work on – problems, ideas, and suggestions. It showed that we have many open issues, ranging from providing anonymous channels of communication within institutes over large differences in working conditions to questions of visibility. In the future, we aim to cultivate a ‘Leibniz feeling’ by further improving exchange and communication, but also to provide mentoring for doctoral researchers, and to strive for more equal and better working conditions.
The working groups were introduced (as can be found our 3rd newsletter) – many of the newer representatives had criticized a low visibility of their work and aims. We hope that this will improve when the website contents are redesigned. Many of the working groups asked for helping hands. There was a call issued for a task force working on drafting a general PhD supervision agreement, which should become mandatory within the Leibniz Association.
Since the meeting is not only held to talk but also to formulate of our collective will and work towards its realization, we voted on our standing rules as well as on responsibilities. Three representatives ran for the job of the spokespersons. Another two candidates applied for the newly created position of financial officer. Congratulations to the elected spokespersons Katarzyna Stoltmann and Jan-Lucas Schanze, and to our new financial officer, Marie Urbicht! The following section meetings, including the election of this year’s section officers, and working group meetings were fruitful.
The year 2018 will be a very productive one, in which we will go beyond initial setup struggles and direct our workforce towards the declared goals of the network.
Text: Jeanne Wilbrandt, ZFMK.
Title Picture: Plenary discussion on the 2nd general assembly of Leibniz PhD Network.