Doctoral researchers are mostly enthusiastic, friendly and prying into interdisciplinarity and interculturality. Therefore, the DocTeam supports the idea of a central mission statement for the FZJ.

Keyvisual of the mission statement of the research center Jülich


Finding such mission statement, which represents our visions of an ideal FZJ and nevertheless be livable, is a long process and still in progress. In addition to the vision, the mission statement briefly describes, shortly and concisely, the core values and strategic objectives of FZJ.

To live such a mission statement and therefore a better FZJ needs time. However, the doctoral researchers in general, and the DocTeam in particular, do already a lot to promote and support these core values. That’s why we will take a closer look at a few statements today.


  1. Ambassadors: “We operate world-wide and the world is at home here: in the research center, we see the diversity of the workforce as a strength, which we cultivate because the diversity in biographical origin, intellectual home, gender and age is an important prerequisite for the success of our work.”

2016, 940 doctoral researchers worked at Forschungszentrum Jülich. Of these, 391 (42%) were international doctoral researchers. The most frequently represented countries are China, Italy, India, Iran and Russia. [1] These doctoral students can be financed by various options. Most of Chinese doctoral researchers held a scholarship from the “Chinese Scholarship Council” for example, but also doctoral researchers from other countries are financed by a scholarship. This can lead to an inequality payment compared to doctoral researchers with a contract of the Forschungszentrum Jülich. In order to make the statement “the world is at home here” true, the DocTeam fights for equal working conditions and compensatory payment for all doctoral researchers, regardless of their origin or type of funding. Fortunately, some institute directors see it already in the same way and offer their people some additional money.
But also on a more private level there are many offers to get to know each other, to make contacts and to grow together. Thus, mutual languages can be learned in the “Sprachtandem”. The “international club” is a place where the traditions of different countries are lived together and the “international get-together” allows you to get to know people in a relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Magnet: “We want to make our campus a good place for inspiring exchange.”

At the FZJ there are already many offers for docs for scientific as well as private exchange. The graduate schools HITEC and BioSoft serve as a template for the DocPlatform, which has already been presented in a previous post. Here, one will meet other doctoral researchers of different institutes who work in a similar scientific field as oneself, which leads to a good interconnections of researchers across many institutes.
Besides the graduate schools, the DocTeam organizes several events. As well, doctoral researchers (as well as all others) can sit down with a coffee in the doctoral get-together “Gegenüber” in the central library. This meeting point was established at the instigation of the DocTeam to create room for discussing professional topics as well as just meet new people and get interconnected.
Additionally, regularly events, like the monthly DocTeam meeting, are held in the “Gegenüber”. The event “Jobs for Docs” brings former and recent doctoral researchers together to exchange experience and offer some insight in various career paths. “Was macht eigentlich …?” offers the opportunity to get to know different exciting research projects, individual departments or business areas of the FZJ, and in the “Aktuelle Stunde” one can ask the board of directors about current topics.
If this is not enough, you have the opportunity to meet other doctoral students in private round-table meetings.
However, we are particularly proud of our annual football tournament where teams from all over the Forschungszentrum Jülich and all ages compete against each other, get to know each other by beer and sausage and meet new people in a relaxed environment.

All in all, the DocTeam organizes a lot of different events to bring doctoral researchers as well as Master students and other employees together and offers in different ways the exchange of knowledge and experience.

  1. Collegiality: “Collegiality, which lives from the willingness and enthusiasm of all, characterizes our cooperation in all areas. It shows itself in an appreciative relationship with one another, in the commitment to its team, in responsible leadership, reliability and the willingness to learn continuously. Collegiality is the basis for our multidisciplinary research center with international workforce. It is a prerequisite for attracting smart co-workers and talented scientists and support them as best as possible.”

For collegiality the reliability to learn continuously and as well the responsible leadership are important. Therefore, the focus of the DocPlatform lies on a high quality education of young scientists in a standardized and optimized level for all doctoral researchers. This education goes beyond the pure scientific experience and shall cover also transferable skills, such as scientific presentation and writing and many more. Up to now, only 50 % of the doctoral researchers have the chance to participate in so called graduate schools and therefore only 50% get some additional courses in which they learn how to present their scientific work in a professional way. Moreover, the supervision of doctoral researchers varies from very good to almost not available, which, of course, is a situation that needs to be improved. Therefore, different important parts like monitoring, interdisciplinary career orientation, central networking and soft skills courses will be organized centrally and will be available for all docs at FZJ.
On the other hand, a Betreuerforum shall be established based on the model of the DocTeam and connect supervisors with each other. That also includes a forum for dialogical and cooperative discussions. Furthermore, standardized supervision guidelines and “qualification goals for docs and supervisors” shall be introduced.

Probably you can imagine how much work it is to establish new structures in a company as big as the research center, where many things were done in the same way for several years and to organize so many offers for all doctoral researchers. We have been able to achieve a lot so far, by calling attention to the inequality of payment of the CSC fellows or getting the development of the DocPlatform started. But we cannot rest because there are still many new challenges to tackle.

For us, as DocTeam, the mission statement of the FZJ is a great opportunity to evaluate the done work, to strengthen the current challenges and align the future path.


[1] Paktbericht 2016



This article was written by Marion Henkel – representative of the DocTeam.

About Stefanie Hamacher

Steffi has been a doctoral researcher at the PGI-8 since June 2016 and joined the DocTeam in August of the same year. She took over the position as editor of the DocTeam Newsletter and supports the working group Public Relations with respect to the communication between the DocTeam and the other Docs.

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