Author: Jonathan Stefanowski

PhD student at DRFZ and Charité working on intravital bone marrow microscopy and member of the working group communication in the Leibniz PhD Network

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 presentation (pdf, ppt) is designed to help representatives to communicate the Leibniz PhD Network’s activities with the doctoral researchers and discuss the topics together. It might also be helpful for any doctoral researcher to simply to look through it to find something new.

Download the presentation here

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.

The event program includes 20 workshops, a poster session, panel discussions, science slam and selected keynote speakers from several academic and industry sectors and politics, who will bring excellent insights on science policies, the translation of science into application, the importance of basic research for society and many more interesting topics.

Meet the speakers and the panel discussion on “The Future of Research” with the presidents of the Leibniz Association, Max Planck Society, and Helmholtz Association, Wiebke Esdar, MdB, or the vice president of IBM Europe.

One of the highlights of the event will be the N2 Career Fair were doctoral researchers will have the opportunity to get in direct contact with companies. To make the N2 Career Fair available to as many participants as possible, no registration fee is charged! Therefore, if a doctoral researcher cannot join the full N2 Event, they can independently register for the N2 Career Fair.

Thanks to the amazing work of the organizers sponsoring and the financial support of our organizations, the participation fee is being kept as small as possible.

Registrations are open now! Limited spots are available, so register soon!

For more information check or contact

The 2019 General Assembly – Deadline Extended

The 2019 General Assembly (GA) is getting closer and there are some spots left, so we extended the deadline for registration until the 14th of August. The GA is the main assembly of doctoral researchers representatives from all Leibniz institutes.

Of note, if a representative can not join it is desired and requested that a replacement is send. This person does not have to be an elected representative and is eligible to vote on or candidate as a member of the Steering Group.

Independent of your background of activity in the network, the program offers you a rich variety to learn about the doctoral education and differences & similarities during this interdisciplinary gathering of researchers. We want you to share your experiences and needs with others and exchange beyond your scientific work.

Participation in any of the working groups is independent of your status as a doctoral researcher representative. Any doctoral researcher can contact and participate in the work. Simply write an informal request to the working group coordinator.

What it is about

This years program is all about the future of the Leibniz PhD Network and its agenda in the upcoming years. We have planned to provide information, initiate discussions, fix a long-term agenda, and vote for the new steering group.

The work of the elected

Every institute is invited to send one or two representatives for the GA. However, participation in the network is not limited to the GA; every doctoral researcher is invited to participate in the Working Groups at any time. Find more about it here.


If you are interested in a candidacy: Being part of the Steering Group is a fruitful addition to your work as a doctoral researcher and a great opportunity to expand your horizon in science policy. Taking over this responsibility gives you the chance to acquire beneficial experiences and knowledge in many ways.

  • You will learn about the structure and way of working of the Leibniz Association
  • You connect to numerous researchers in the Association and get to know the differences and similarities among the institutes
  • Work directly with the head office of the Leibniz Association
  • Exchange with other networks such as the Max-Planck PhDnet, the Helmholtz Juniors, the Leibniz Postdoc Network, the works council and many more
  • Gain experience in political work and communication in e.g. writing position papers, organizing educative events, develop and analyzing surveys and much more
  • Work in a highly autonomous and interdisciplinary environment with motivated doctoral researchers
  • Develop new concepts of improving the work and working environment of doctoral researcher in Germany

If you consider to candidate, do not hesitate to contact the spokespersons or steering group up front.

It is up to you and the Steering Group to develop an agenda based the preferences of the doctoral researchers and your choice where to lay the focus of this honorary work. Be it events, political work, survey design, or expanding the network. Independent of your ideas and the network this work is a personal experience and an extensive soft and hard skill training for your future.

Comment of the spokespersons Katharina Willenbücher & Jonathan Stefanowski

The program in detail

The main program of the GA includes the following points:

  • On the 25th participants will get the chance to get to know each other and exchange on various topics during social activities and a small BBQ in Potsdam

The 26th and 27th are dedicated entirely for the work of the network and the elections.

  • In the Networking Forum you will get to know the existing groups the network is collaborating with and get to know the Working Groups within our network. You can find more information on this blog.
  • This years keynote is about Good Scientific Practice and Power Abuse. Our invited speaker Prof. Debora Weber-Wulff (HTW, Berlin) is active in the VroniPlag Wiki group, which documents plagiarism in dissertations.
  • In the World Café participants enter interdisciplinary exchange about the topics in which the Network is active or wants to be active. This year, this will also include the “discussion on the standing rules” and a table dedicated for “Greening your institute”.

If you have comments on the standing rules you suggest changes to Jonathan Stefanowski and Bastian Sommerfeld

  • The discussion on the long-term agenda is a format in which the networks aims to collect concrete ideas where to position its focus in the future and get feedback on existing work.

If you have a specific idea on how the future work could be improved please contact the spokespersons and we will integrate it in the program.

  • The dinner offers a loose get-together and exchange on the first day in a restaurant close to the PIK.
  • Elections will be introduced by the current steering group with a presentation on what the active members actually do. Then the institutes elect the new candidates.

After the elections the working groups will have time to work on their topics and introduce new members. Also, potentially new working groups can be formed.

We are looking forward to seeing you in Potsdam and a fruitful and fun General Assembly 2019.

The 2018/19 Steering Group

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.


Integration of doctoral researcher representatives at Leibniz institutes. The WG PhD Agreement Part 2/3

Because this work is carried out in German a German Version is provided below.

In order to obtain an overview of how strongly the individual doctoral researcher (DR) representatives are integrated in their institutes; what rights and duties they have accepted, whether they are officially recognized as a group or body of interests, whether they have their own budget and whether there is any representation at all, we contacted the DRs at various Leibniz institutes and asked them for information on this subject by e-mail. On the basis of feedback from a total of 25 institutes, we were able to confirm that the doctoral student representatives in the institutes operate under completely different conditions. For instance, 7 institutes have no official status as a group of DR and only 5 sit on institute committees, of which only one has the right to vote. Only 5 of the registered representatives have a budget for events such as workshops or soft skill courses. It is therefore of great concern to our working group to advocate a firmly integrated DR representation at all institutes, which offers DRs an accepted and recognized platform for participation in shaping the works and activities of the institute.