One year can pass by so fast…. And now we have two newly elected representatives, which I would like to introduce today.

Maybe you remember that we, the doctoral researchers, determine one delegate among our peers in every institute, who then represents his/her colleagues at the so called DocAssembly. At this event, which takes place twice a year, these delegates are allowed to elect the new spokespersons. If you remember further, at each assembly two new representatives are elected, one for the internal affairs and one for representing us on the Helmholtz level. As conclusion this means, our Newbies from November 2016 became the Oldies now and have two new fellow campaigners.

Who they are and how they divided all the tasks between them, you can read below.

First of all, I should introduce the team of representatives to you. Maybe it’s also worth to mention that Marion got married in the meantime and has changed her surname to Henkel (former Dostal). Congratulations to that!!

But now back to the topic.


Here are our current representatives!

Our oldies: 11/2016-11/2017

Marion Henkel

Marion Henkel

“I am Marion Henkel, doctoral researcher at the institute of energy and climate research (IEK-4). I started my PhD in autumn 2015 in fusion physics. The aim is to understand heat transport processes in the outer plasma edge, to optimize future fusion power plants. During my Bachelor studies I was a member of the physics faculty council and for a few month also a member of the examination committee. Now, after one year of settle in at FZJ and first experiences as tour guide, I feel ready to be a part of the politics again. Therefore I would like to represent us, as a new member of the DocTeam. One of the most important topics for me is to continue the negotiations about equal work conditions and as well to organize events for establish contacts within and outside FZJ.”


Jannis Ehrlich (HeJu)

Jannis Ehrlich

“I’m Jannis Ehrlich. I started last year as a doctoral researcher in a cooperative project between the institute of solid state physics at the RWTH Aachen and the PGI-1 in Jülich. During my studies in Bremen I was part of the student representative in physics and got involved in several university committees and helped with the organization of the NextGen@Helmholtz event in Brunswick. I want to use this experience to improve the situation for doctoral researches at the research center in Jülich as part of the DocTeam. I think in particular that the DocPlatform is a very good basis for further improvement. Moreover it seems useful to me, to communicate with the other Helmholtz centers to reach common goals and standards.”



Our newbies: 05/2017-05/2018

Nora Bittner (HeJu)


Nora Bittner

“Hi, I am Nora. I am a psychologist and I’m working at the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine (INM-1) since two years. I’m an active member of the DocTeam since more than one year and e.g. engaged in the work concerning the DocPlatform. I think it’s important to keep track of the doctoral researchers’ situation at FZJ e.g. concerning supervision standards, working conditions and the amount of vacation days. Therefore, I would like to be a speaker and to officially represent the docs here in the center!”






Jörg Ackermann

Jörg Ackermann

“Hey, my name is Jörg. After studying chemistry at RWTH Aachen, I did my Master Thesis at IEK-9 and since mid of January 2017 I am a doctoral guest researcher at this institute. I am employed at RWTH Aachen, where I am involved in teaching. I’ve been in contact with the DocTeam for roughly half a year, and during this time I got to know how many doctoral researchers at FZJ can push forward if they unite behind shared goals. For the next year, I would like to help guiding the DocTeam’s work to secure the progress made and to further improve the working conditions for Docs, but for other students in their Bachelor or Master Thesis as well. Therefore, I am applying to represent the DocTeam as one of the official speakers!”




Now that you know them and know their motivation to become a speaker, I will explain their tasks a bit more in detail. The various tasks and jobs the DocTeam is working on can be divided into five working groups, e.g. committees, public relations, working conditions, events & social and strategy. For each of these working groups, one representative is responsible. Since there are more groups than speakers, you probably can imagine that our four spokespersons don’t have to do all the jobs alone. They rather organize and coordinate all the other volunteering Docs so that most of the work is split up and distributed among us (but of course they also take over some of the jobs by themselves).

Here isa short description of each working group.

  • Committees: The research center has several committees such as a works council, the scientific and technical council (WTR) and the representatives’ assembly which all fulfill different tasks within the research center. In each of these committees some of the Docs are present as well to voice our thought and give insights into the situation of Docs. Moreover, Jörg and Marion also support the doctoral committee and take part in their meetings. Responsible for this group is Jannis.
  • Public Relations: This group designs things like posters and flyers for events and is responsible for keeping the homepage up-to-date or writing regularly a Newsletter to inform all the Docs on campus about the progress of important topics or invite to upcoming events. This group is led by Jörg.
  • Working conditions: Every now and then it is time to improve the working conditions of employees this of course includes also doctoral researchers. Therefore, this group “fights” for improving and equaling the contracts of all doctoral researchers. The responsibility of this group lies within Nora’s tasks.
  • Events & Social: Throughout the year, several events take place organized by the DocTeam. For example the DocAssembly twice a year, our famous summer party and football tournament or the well-known farewell party JuDocs for all the freshly graduated Docs. The organization and coordination of these events is done by Marion.
  • Strategy: The main project of this working group is the development of the Doctoral Researcher and Scientific Advisor Platform (short: DocPlatform, until we find a better name). This group is led by Jörg and you can read more about it in one of our previous posts (Development of the DocPlatform).
  • Finances: Last but not least, Michael Smik (the DocTeam’s CFO ;)) is responsible for the DocTeams’ finances and has a close eye on the budget we can spend for printing posters, flyers and buying snacks and drinks for the gegenüber and the events.


As you can see, we have a lot of work to do besides our actual research interests and we are very grateful for all Docs who are participatingregularly in meetings, committees and take over some of the arising tasks.


Hopefully, this article provides a deeper insight in our work and structure and shows that we not just achieve a big part of the scientific output (which is our main job of course) but also make a contribution to the overall life within the research center.

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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