Fostering of scientific exchange, knowledge of fundamental and transferable skills
The graduate program provided in-depth training in interdisciplinary soft matter research. It served as a platform for scientific exchange and collaborations in polymer science. An individual qualification program supported each doctoral student. This included the development of a broad background in polymer science and transferable skills.
Fostering scientific exchange and collaboration
In seminars and workshops doctoral students exchanged their experience and informed each other about progress in their projects via talks. During regular meetings with a mentor, the doctoral students obtained a different perspective concerning the progress of their work.
Learning of new scientific methods and concepts
Doctoral students learned new scientific methods to investigate soft matter in full two-day workshops, focusing on one special method in detail. These advanced training modules combined basics with the application of methods in recent research. In a second part, participants applied their theoretical knowledge in the lab. Due to the large number of polymer research groups, topics of the modules covered a broad range from synthesis, X-ray diffraction to numerical simulations of polymers. This diversity was also reflected in several polymer related lectures of the faculty. Our doctoral students could also become acquainted with new methods or materials during research stays with partners abroad. Related winter and summer schools helped to deepen the knowledge.
Acquisition of transferable skills
Doctoral students used to present and discuss scientific results at conferences. The graduate school supported the students with a variety of workshops to strengthen their transferable skills. The concepts of structured writing were offered in the workshop for academic writing. Courses for scientific presenting helped the doctoral students to improve their public speaking abilities and to disseminate their results in the scientific community with talks, posters and during the discussion with colleagues. The planning and conduction of the whole doctoral project was supported by a workshop for time and self-management. A number of further courses supported our doctoral students in their individual development and prepared them for careers in research and teaching at the university level or research in industrial laboratories.
An alumni network, including mutual visits and invited lectures, established strong links between former and current iRTG members, and supported the latter in their career plans. Current and former members had the possibility to exchange and profit from the experience at annual alumni meetings. Former members were invited for talks with focus on their career steps in industry or academia.