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

Zukunftsworkshop 2019

What is the current status in the working groups? Which topics should we cover? Who would like to get involved? How can we push forward the work of the network?

The network aims to address these questions specifically for the working groups in the “Zukunftsworkshop” (or Future Workshop) which took place at the Leibniz Association’s Head Office in Berlin on May 6th and 7th. For this event, everyone who is active in the Leibniz PhD Network by participating in a working group or wants to join a group gathers in order to discuss accomplished work and future plans. Scattered all over Germany, opportunities for working group members to meet in person are rare and most communication has to be done via Skype conferences and email. Getting together for the Zukunftsworkshop is therefore a welcome change.


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.


Leibniz PhD Network’s 2018 – A look into the past, a glimpse of the future

With one week to go until our General Assembly 2018 in Jena, we would like to take a minute to look back on our last successful PhD Network meeting.

This year, we introduced a new format called the “Zukunftsworkshop” in which active as well as newly recruited members of the working groups and the steering group gathered at the Leibniz Head Office in Berlin on April 24th and 25th. After having last met in person at the General Assembly in September 2017, getting together half a year later was a huge morale boost for everyone. During these two very productive days, we looked back on the goals we had set on the General Assembly 2017 to see what we had achieved and where more work remained to be done.


A close-up of interdisciplinarity

The first Conference on Interdisciplinarity of the Leibniz PhD Network at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) in the beautiful city of Magedburg was a full success. For two days, highly motivated doctoral researchers from all Leibniz institutes and experts in the field of interdisciplinary cooperation shared ideas on how to find the whole in the sum of the parts of different disciplines and scientific approaches in order to move towards the best of all possible worlds.