Integrated Research Training Group (IRTG) of the SFB 1436
The IRTG provides a platform for the structured interdisciplinary scientific training of our doctoral as well as postdoctoral researchers within the CRC to meet both individual career needs but also the transfer of knowledge from basic science into application, and the involvement of the public in research questions.
1. Qualification program
Key to doctoral education and training will be the development of a) a thesis proposal in the first year of the project (first three months in case of MD students) and b) an individual career development plan that will identify aims as well as individual strengths and weaknesses, and thereby propose educational measures for the doctoral and postdoctoral members of the CRC.
A credit point system including a profile booklet will be used to monitor and document activities of the doctoral researchers and to ensure quality control of the educational development. We emphasise the provision of tools for guided self-assessment of needs by our candidates. It is the aim of the IRTG to thereby provide support for the enabling of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and to guide their individual education.
|Thesis proposal||thesis research proposal||direct supervisor (PI)||5||5|
|Thesis committee meeting||thesis research results||thesis committee members||2||6|
|Thesis progress report||thesis progress report||direct supervisor (PI), in own labs||2||6|
|Interdisciplinary lecture series (by CRC1436 PIs)||CRC research topics||IRTG1436 / self-selected||0.1||2|
|CRC1436 colloquium||CRC research topics||IRTG1436 / self-selected||0.1||2|
|CRC1436 retreat||CRC research topics & results||IRTG1436 / self-organised||2||6|
|Elective1: Science Schools||3|
|Participation in external summer/winter school||CRC-related topics||self-selected||3|
|Or: Lab exchange & internships||CRC-related techniques||cooperation lab||3|
|Or: Workshops & courses||CRC-related methods||IRTG1436 / self-organised||1-3|
|Sum of CPs||30|
|Career support measures|
|Individual career support||individual career plan (IDP)||thesis committee||1||3|
|Individual key competence development||project-specific workshops||OVGU-GradAcademy / CBBS-GP||1-3||3|
|Transferable skills training||professionalism workshops||OVGU-GradAcademy / CBBS-GP||1||3|
|Elective 2: Practical skill development||3|
|Excursions||academia / companies||IRTG1436 /self-organised /CBBS-GP||1|
|Teaching and mentoring skills||student teaching & supervision||in agreement with direct supervisor||1-3|
|Public relations||science communication||IRTG1436 (long night of science etc)||1|
|Elective 3: Meeting organisation||3|
|International conference org.||scheduling, invitations, etc.||IRTG1436 / self-organized||3|
|or: Summer school organisation||scheduling, invitations, etc.||with IRTG1436, PIs||3|
|Sum of CPs||15|
|Total of CPs||45|
A key element of the IRTG is the development of a thesis proposal in the beginning of the Ph.D. period and the selection of an individual thesis committee. Annual progress reports and regular thesis committee meetings will support candidates in continuously monitoring and evaluating the development of the research project and ensure transparent supervision as well as optimal scientific progress.
We believe that the development of a deep understanding of the theoretical concepts of cognition, the strengths and weaknesses in translational research and the challenge to work at and connect micro-, meso- and macro-scale levels are fundamental to our students and need to be taught with a tailored program in the framework of this IRTG. To this end, the IRTG will provide educational modules including: a lecture series by CRC Pis. Further, IRTG members are expected to participate in the CRC1436 colloquium, which will feature scientific talks by guest speakers and visiting scientists hosted by the CRC.
Further we organise annual retreats on which IRTG members will present and discuss their research results, encourage participation in international conferences, external summer/winter schools and provide advanced practical courses (biostatistics, microscopy workshops, neuroimaging and big data handling) and internships both amongst the IRTG faculty and associated external laboratories to enable methodical training of the doctoral researchers at the highest level.
Career support measures:
In parallel, career support and soft skill measures are in place to support the candidates’ development and prepare them for future careers. An individual career development plan (IDP) will be prepared in the first year for the development of individual career options and updated annually. Candidates will select individual mentors form academia or non-academia institutions. Professionalism workshops will address issues of good scientific practice, scientific writing and oral presentation competence, grant application, project management as well as conflict & group leading competences, but also strategies for translation into practice. German language courses are offered in cooperation with the CBBS GP and the OVGU language centre. The IRTG will specifically support individual skill development such as mathematical modelling and biostatistics, or genetic engineering and animal experimentation (FELASA), GenTSV, FENS and NWG workshops.
Further, doctoral researchers will be involved in the organisation of the CRC1436 international conference as well as the CRC1436 summer school on computational skills for reproducible research in 2021 and will participate in the selection and hosting of guest lecturers and in organisation of accommodation, catering as well as programme planning. Since all three Z-projects are important building blocks of this CRC we will also offer practical courses to improve understanding of the technology provided by these projects.
Involvement of the public via citizen science formats like Brain Hack Events, Apps, or web-based questionnaires will raise the awareness for the importance of public engagement on an equal footing. Importantly, they will contribute to public relations events such as the annual “Long Night of Science” and develop and maintain their own social media presence. In addition, we plan a science slam series and overlapping projects with the subproject public relations.
1.1. Complementary offers
The IRTG closely interacts with the OVGU Graduate Academy (OVG GradAcademy) and the Graduate program of Centre for behavioural brain sciences (CBBS GP), and complementary offers in line with the CRC will be implemented in the qualification program. The OVG GradAcademy strongly contribute to essentially all activities of doctoral and postdoc programs on campus and gives support in all matters beyond the regular course of study (matriculation, bureaucratic assistance & help with municipal offices) including promotion of gender equality, diversity, and support for scientists with young children. The recently established CBBS GP provides information and support especially to doctoral and postdoctoral researchers of Magdeburg´s neuroscience community, maintains a neuroscientific event calendar, coordinates available teaching resources across the campus and promotes vivid exchange between young neuroscientists of the OVGU, the LIN and the DZNE by social events and meetings.
2.1. Recruitment and selection of doctoral candidates
Open positions will be announced internationally (NWG, FENS websites, etc.). We will screen candidates, first, on the basis of submitted material.
Short-listed candidates will be invited to a virtual recruitment symposium. During this online symposium, candidates will be given the opportunity to give a short presentation and meet with their potential supervisors (according to their interests in the sub-projects).
At the end of the symposium, PIs and applicants will provide a ranking of interest of each others preference. Based on the expressed interests, PI-applicant pairs will be matched.
2.2. Supervision and mentoring of doctoral candidates
Doctoral candidates will select a thesis committee comprising a PI of the project, a second local supervisor and a postdoctoral researcher, typically from the host laboratory, as well as an external assessor. Supervision of day-to-day work will mostly be done by the PI and host laboratory postdoc, but the external supervisor and assessor not only as and as part of the thesis committee will contribute to overseeing the project development, but are encouraged to actively be involved in the project and skill development of the candidate. Mentoring by postdocs and senior Ph.D. candidates will be encouraged. In addition, diverse mentoring formats are available specifically for women in the module “Gender equality measures” within this CRC and at the OVGU.
Ph.D. candidates will be enrolled as doctoral students at the Faculty of Natural Sciences (FNW) of the OVGU. In case of foreign or non-matching university degrees, admission may be provided pending the successful completion of an individual entry exam and / or participation in specific courses at the OVGU. The IRTG spokespersons are members of the FNW admission committees (Neurobiology, Psychology) and regularly perform admission exams for candidate doctoral students. Graduation will be performed in accordance with the regulations laid down in the Promotionsordnung of the FNW. Members of the faculty of medicine with a natural science background are explicitly accepted as formal supervisors and primary examiners of graduations in the FNW. Group leaders at the participating institutes typically hold a secondary affiliation with one of these faculties. MD candidates will be recruited from OVGU medical students and will submit their thesis to the Medical Faculty (FME) according to the respective Promotionsordnung.
3. Environment of the Integrated Research Training Group
The IRTG will be embedded in a vibrant research community within the CRC and the Magdeburg neuroscience campus. Doctoral candidates will be enrolled in the Faculty of Natural Sciences and medical doctorates in the Medical Faculty of the OVGU. Doctoral neuroscience education on campus is organised through the CBBS graduate program (spokesperson Oliver Stork), which bundles activities and provides information and educational support to both doctoral and postdoctoral researchers specifically in the neuroscience field. Thus, members of the IRTG will have access to lectures, seminars and practical activities organised by graduate and postgraduate activities. In turn, our program will be opened to other young researchers enrolled in the CBBS-graduate program wherever possible. Workshops will be organised in cooperation with other neuroscience graduate schools on campus such as SynAGE (Daniela C. Dieterich, Oliver Stork) and ABINEP (Volkmar Leßmann, Constanze I. Seidenbecher) to allow for a maximal exchange and interaction. The umbrella OVG GradAcademy provides support in all matters beyond the regular course of study, organises courses for extra-curricular skills, and co-ordinates activities to promote gender equality, diversity, and support for scientists with young children. The FME is also part of the Max Planck School of Cognition (Fellow Emrah Düzel) thereby providing members and students of the CRC a potential to interact with the schools and fellows.