This was the 3rd General Assembly of the Leibniz PhD Network

Extensive social interaction, interdisciplinary exchange and continuous discussions among 82 doctoral researcher representatives and working group members from 63 out of 93 institutes and museums made this event a vibrant experience. Many thanks to all attendees.

The 3rd General Assembly took place in Jena hosted by the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (IPHT) and Leibniz Institute on Aging – Fritz Lipmann Institute FLI from 26th to 28th September, just right after the second birthday of the Network. As to expect from the sheer number activities in the last year starting from the survey on the situation of doctoral researchers in the Leibniz Association, the release of this very blog, the finalization of a first draft for a generic PhD agreement, the intensification of political work through N2, the network of networks, and the organisation of the first Conference of Interdisciplinarity of the Leibniz PhD Network (and the author doubts that this list is complete), the rooms which hosted a networking forum in which all these topics were presented and discussed on small tables were fully filled with people and voices, content and discussion.

Networking Forum: Katarzyna Stoltmann (Spokesperson), Marie Urbicht (Financial Officer), Sabine Müller (Leibniz Head Office), Aida Cumurovic (Section B), Rosa Isela Grote-Gálvez (Section C), Bernd Bibra (Leibniz Works Council), Vasiliki Anastasopoulou (Helmholtz Juniors), Daniel Graeber (Survey Group), Meike Weltin (Section E), Dr. Anne Mucha (Leibniz Postdoc Network), Jan-Lucas Schanze (Spokesperson), Saskia Ripp (Section A), Martin Grund (Max Planck PhD Net)

The Networking Forum offered pitch talks of active Members of the Leibniz Association, Leibniz PhD Network, Working Groups (Event / N², Communication, Survey, PhD Agreement), Steering Group, Leibniz Postdoc Network, N² and Leibniz Works Council before the doctoral researchers had the chance to engage with them at discussion tables.

PD Dr. Thomas Kleinsorge talks about stress among PhD students.

During the keynote lecture of PD Dr. Thomas Kleinsorge (IfADo) on “Stress among PhD students: sources and resources”, the participants of the 3rd General Assembly of the Leibniz PhD Network learned that problems of mental health and stress can be caused by an imbalance between effort and reward in their work. Still there is not enough data on the mental health status among doctoral researchers but Dr. Kleinsorge drafted a large study that you can join here.

The organizers placed the doctoral researcher representatives in the center and aimed to offer them a platform to network. Thus it was no surprise that the role of the doctoral researcher representatives at their institutes was suggested as one topic for the afternoon small group discussions by participants, further topics comprised mental health, good scientific practice and power abuse, working conditions, and future events of the Network – thus the list of ideas for the Network’s agenda for the next year filled up fast.

Creating ties between people and institute and growing together closer as a network, was also facilitated by a bunch of social activities at the first day of the assembly and common dinner and planetarium show on the evening of the second day. Driven by the spirit of the day, this was probably then the point of time when a few people took important decision that is to run as a candidate for one of the positions for the next steering group of the network.

The new steering committee: Aman Malik (Section E, PIK), Katharina Willenbücher (Spokesperson, ATB), Anja Jahn (Section A, GWZO),  Tim Rottleb (Section B, IRS), Pablo Fook (Section D, IWT), Lukas Heiberger (Section C, DRFZ), Jonathan Stefanowski (Spokesperson, DRFZ), Bastian Sommerfeld (Financial Officer, IAP)

The elections were one important milestone of the General Assembly and took place on the third day. Congratulations to the newly elected steering committee. All of which will be introduced later on this blog. Great appreciation goes to all other candidates who were ready to offer their full support to the Network’s work and stood for elections.

As a concluding impression from these three days: It is remarkably to see how fast – in just two years – a structured network full of ideas and activities has been grown together. During the event a spirit could be perceived that we can achieve a lot together. Many thanks go to the organizers Tetiana Poliezhaieva, Florian Korinth and Marie Urbicht and to everyone else who helped with preprarations and during the event.

Text: Meike Weltin, Jonathan Stefanowski

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