New Guidelines for the completion of PhD projects within the Helmholtz Association

Exchange, good supervision and fair working conditions: The HZB has long had PhD guidelines in place to offer PhD students excellent opportunities for development.

The Helmholtz Centres and the President have agreed on common PhD guidelines. These guidelines define minimum standards for the creation of optimal conditions for PhD students to operate in and contribute towards a common understanding of quality. The Helmholtz Association hereby acknowledges the indispensability of young researchers for the research efforts of the Association.

“The outstanding work, commitment and creativity of PhD students play a major role in the pursuit of our mission and promote a culture in which responsibility is taken at every level for the development of talented junior researchers,” states Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association. At the same time, there is a responsibility towards society and the scientific community to comply with quality standards in PhD programmes, and to establish and maintain a culture of good scientific practice. The new guidelines are the culmination of joint efforts and intensive discussion among experts of the centres of the Helmholtz Association. Their adoption by the centres marks a milestone.

Many centres have their own specific rules complementing the new PhD guidelines. Several years ago, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin introduced its own guidelines for the completion of PhD projects to ensure PhD students receive structured training and excellent supervision at the centre. As one example measure, PhD students are obliged to report regularly to a PhD committee on the progress of their work. “This way, we can recognise delays or problems in the PhD project at an early stage and work out solutions together with the student,” says Dr. Gabriele Lampert, PhD student coordinator at HZB.

The HZB guidelines are harmonious with the new Helmholtz Association PhD guidelines. They continue to apply to junior researchers completing their PhD projects at HZB.