Author: spokesper

Avoiding a mental health crisis in academia (and beyond)

In the latest issue of the Leibniz Magazine, an article was published, in which a doctoral researcher, a resilience researcher and three managers were interviewed on the topic of mental health at the workplace. Among them Pankhuri Saxena, a former Spokesperson (2020/2021) of the Leibniz PhD Network.

The number of people missing work due to mental health issues is rising, a trend not only present in science and research. Due to the increasingly competitive nature of academia, early-career researchers increasingly suffer from uncertainty, pressure, and stress. The intense pressure and demands of a doctorate can take a toll on a person’s mental well-being, leading to symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you are interested in the interview have a read here.

In November 2021 the “Guide to Mental Health during the PhD” was passed by the Leibniz Association. It was collated by Sebastian Lentz (director of the Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde) in close collaboration with Leibniz institutes and the Leibniz PhD Network. The guide states three fields of action: raising awareness, prevention, and counselling, while it also provides recommendations of measures to be taken. You can find the guide here.

Yet, Jan Klenke (former Spokesperson 2020/2021) critically comments:

“There are still many PhDs on scholarships (i.e., without an official working contract and in voluntary statutory health insurance). This situation enhances the described (mental health) problems in this group. At the same time, this group isn’t on anyone’s budget plan and is usually not mentioned in target agreements. In many cases, the doctoral students are without proper guidance, even if they ask for more supervision.”

Mental health (during the PhD) remains an important topic, seemingly for the foreseeable future. Let us know your ideas and comments on the topic. What would you need to reduce mental stress during your PhD? Leave us a comment or get in touch on our social media platforms.

Our voices listened! – N2 participation on the expert exchange in a public commission meeting – German Federal Parliament.

On October 19th 2022, the N2 representation presented a statement in front of the parliament’s commission to express the interests of the Doctoral Researchers Network of non-university organizations in the improvement of the “basic working conditions in order to ensure scientific excellence and diversity in a sustainable manner”.

Here you can find the complete text of the speech.

Huge leap for Mental health awareness: Leibniz Association adopts guide on mental health of Doctoral Researchers.

Recently working group Survey of the PhD Network assessed the well being of the PhD researchers in the various Leibniz associations based on a conducted survey. The lack of proper means to address mental health well-being sparked discussions. Adoption of the mental health guide within the Leibniz Association addresses the issue of mental health of our doctoral researchers.

The guide deals with steps to decrease the psychological stress during the PhD.
Clear fields of actions are stated which can be implemented in all the institutes. Actions like awareness-raising, removing taboos from mental health and how to recognize critical factors leading to mental health issues and many more are elaborated on the guide

Realizing that PhD on its own can be stressful and the uncertainties with the career path ahead can get overwhelming, but knowing that the Leibniz association will be there to guide and counsel the researchers who need it comes as a reassuring support.

The guide is attached as follows.

Invitation to the online presentation of the survey 2019

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Last August, we published the results of our 2019 Survey. We then presented these results to several instances of the Leibniz Association: the section meetings, the administrative board, and the Präsidium. We received a lot of feedback and the presentation started many interesting discussions. One of the first direct outcome of this survey was the creation of the task force “Mental Health” within the Leibniz Association.

Now, it is time to discuss the survey results with you!

We are hereby inviting you to join us on the 15th of December 2020 at 2pm via Zoom to discuss the results of the 2019 survey.

The link to the Zoom conversation:

https://zoom.us/j/7982000124?pwd=dlhXS2ZMZlNRMTVRRUNjMkszR2g0dz09

Meeting ID: 798 200 0124

PW: 314615

Invitation to our online seminar on Prevention of Power Abuse

In recent times, good scientific practice, good leadership, and the prevention of power abuse have become a controversial debated topic in academia. Inherent flaws in the academic system like short-term work contracts, unclear or unrealistic expectations, and communication conflicts with colleagues, supervisors, or project partners could lead to the abuse of power. 

We would like to come into conversation with you on that topic and therefore invite you to our second online seminar on the topic of “Prevention of Power Abuse – Aspects of Leadership, Uncertainty of Working Contracts and Conflict Resolution”. The online seminar will take place Thursday 4th June (this thursday!) at 10:00 am (CET) and has been organized by the working groups “Prevention of Power Abuse” and “Mental Health” of the Leibniz PhD Network. 

Please register through the following link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iSf3w5iYRp6rQVeMzGemTA

If you are not able to attend, it is not a problem! We will upload the recorded online seminar so you can (re)watch it. 

Our invited online seminar speakers are:

Prof. Claudia Peus (Technical University Munich), Topic: Leadership in Academia

Claudia Peus has been Professor of Research and Science Management at Technische Universität München since May 2011, Senior Vice President Talent Management and Diversity since October 2017 and Vice Dean of Executive Education at the TUM School of Management since April 2014. In her research Prof. Peus focuses on effective leadership and leadership development, research and science management as well as (international) HR management.

Prof. Thomas Rigotti (Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research), Topic: Leadership and workplace insecurities

Prof. Dr. Thomas Rigotti is Professor for Organizational and Business Psychology Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz Professor of Industrial, Organizational and Economic Psychology at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and Research Group Leader at the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research. His research includes the effects of work flexibility, health-promoting leadership, stress and resilience in the work context, and multi-tasking.

To learn more on the Leibniz PhD Network’s position on this topic, check out the N2 position paper on Power Abuse and Conflict Resolution.

We hope to see you there!

Working Groups Prevention of Power Abuse and Mental Health of the Leibniz PhD Network