Did your experience as a member of the Steering Group differ from your expectations? If yes, how?
Jonathan Stefanowski 2018/2019 Spokesperson
Yes. I have been a coordinator of the WG Communication before I have been elected as a spokesperson. Therefore, I was informed about the general activities of the network and basic science policy in Germany. In my opinion, informing the doctoral researchers about these activities is very important, which is why I stated the following in my profile at the beginning of my term: “It is obvious that without active support of the doctoral researchers the Network’s work would disintegrate. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to communicate motivation and reasoning to the very people this work is done for – every member of our network.” Since then, we have produced high quality content for our blog, in which we are reporting about our work. However, less than I expected. Experience taught me, that the majority of the steering committee’s tasks involve ongoing and evolving discussions with the Leibniz Association, numerous stakeholders, and active members of the network. This makes it challenging to communicate every step of the process to every doctoral researcher. Additionally, even as a member of the network, gaining an overview about the topics of science policy in Germany takes time but is necessary in order to act responsibly. These are the reasons why the online platform can only reflect a fraction of these discussions and activities. I believe that getting involved in the network, through the direct interaction with the section representatives, steering committee, and other networks the barrier of information is broken down effectively. In this interest, I will continue to provide information to any interested doctoral researcher in the future.
A new year started and we want to say a huge thank you to our last Steering Group 2017/2018 for representing the Leibniz PhD Network. We wish you all the best on your future journey. In this blog post some former Steering Group members answered questions about their work, impressions and their experiences within the Leibniz PhD Network. In the meantime, tasks have been handed over successfully to the newly voted successors.
Would you like to become more engaged in our network? As a doctoral researcher of any Leibniz Institute, you too can be active and help within the working groups. More information can be found in the respective directories of the working groups on our page.
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.
All PhD representatives from the 93 Leibniz Institutes meet annually in the General Assembly where they collect new ideas and tackle challenges, discuss essential actions, elect the new steering group and section officers, and define the goals for the upcoming 12 months. Fruitful exchange of experiences is achieved also due to a cooperation with the leaders of the Max Planck PhD Network (PhDNet), the Helmholtz Juniors (HeJus) and the Leibniz Postdoc Network.
The General Assembly is hosted voluntarily by different Leibniz Institutes every year. This year, the 3rd General Assembly is organized by the collaboration of three Leibniz Institutes (Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, Leibniz Institute on Aging and Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology) in Jena, Thuringia (September 26th to 28th, 2018). Meet the people who make this event happen!
During the discussions of the World Café format we identified several cornerstones that define the conditions for doctoral candidates at Leibniz institutes and research Museums. It became clear that the working and supervision conditions vary greatly due to the diversity of institutes, employment contracts, scholarship providers and associations with universities. This developed mainly due to the various prerequisites within the individual research disciplines and sections. Therefore, we concentrate on the creation of guidelines in order to ensuring equal and fair standards for all doctoral students in the Leibniz Association.