The individual supervision of the doctorate is carried out by a scientist who is primarily responsible for the project. In order to avoid an exclusive relationship with one supervisor, the integration of at least one other supervisor is planned. From the group of ten supervisors, the doctoral students choose fixed contact persons in order to obtain the necessary expertise and support in discussions. The selection of a secondary supervisor first takes place during the working process. The secondary supervisor can be a member of the research group or an external researcher. This procedure is intended to increase the permeability of the Kolleg and the connectivity of its graduates.
The work-plan and its different phases is agreed on with the primary supervisor. Deadlines and milestones are determined for the research group as a whole by the board of spokespersons in consultation with all the primary supervisors. At the moment, a detailed and realistic workplan (which has been adapted to the student’s work-process) must be submitted after the first year of funding and the first chapter of the thesis is to be handed-in within the first 18 months. The primary supervisor checks that the deadlines have been met, reads the texts and chapters which have been submitted and discusses them with the PhD student. In the framework of a twice-yearly supervisors’ meeting, participants discuss issues which are affecting the process of theses and look for individualised solutions.
All PhD students participate in the postgraduate colloquia run by their respective supervisors in order to present their results outside of the GRK. All PhD students will have a performance review meeting on the topic of career planning, especially those students who intend to stay in academics, or whose supervisors believe them to be particularly suited to an academic career. They will be supported through mentoring, which focuses on developing academic independence and building a research profile. The following options are used by our PhD students and are offered regularly after the initial consolidation phase: the placement of a review or article in a peer-reviewed medium, the encouragement to take up a teaching position and to undertake professional development in this area (through participation in workshops run by the university service “LehreLernen”), visiting conferences in the first PhD phase and holding conference papers in the advanced stages of the PhD.
Longer international stays will also be initiated. Discussion on possible ways to enter a research career path not only take place individually, but also during a group event in which interested supervisors share their personal experience with PhD students. These discussions are complemented by a workshop offered by the university’s Graduate Academy for our research group. Here, they offer information on international, national, and internal university funding possibilities after completion of a PhD. In general, the services offered by the Graduate Academy are well-used by our PhD students – which include courses on career planning as well as academic and non-academic career (“Plan B) counselling.
Two particularly promising young scholars will be selected to be funded for follow-on project. The goal of this one-year funding, is to offer those with an excellent PhD mark their first academic perspectives after the regular funding period.
Alongside individual supervision, the research group seeks to strengthen the group structure because being connected to a group of young, equally qualified, academics offers structural support and incentives which support self-control. For this reason, the research group’s concept includes days where students are expected to be in their offices in Jena. In order to use the social dynamic of the training group the "Graduate Workshop" format was developed and a research coordinator was assigned to the PdD-candidates.
We place great importance on the social function of the group. A range of social events support, not just the group identity amongst the PhD students, but that of the research group as a whole. These events range from virtual or real coffee breaks through to collective dinners, summer festivals, canoe tours, and hikes.
The goal is to establish a working group which includes all our scholars, in which each person contributes to the groups and gets something out of it so that the aims of the research group as a whole can be achieved:
- The creation of high-quality dissertations
- Training for graduates continuing a career in academics or going into areas outside the university.
- Added scholastic value through shared projects, publications, and events with an effect beyond the research group.
- Supporting a positive teaching and research culture at the Friedrich Schiller University, Jena