Education of young researchers

hat-bigAn important task for the HVI PolarTime is to train and foster the career of highly qualified young scientists. In PolarTime we will give young scientists a platform to create their own scientific profile in a renowned and international working environment. High-quality education requires adequate training on under- and graduate level and improved supervision for graduate and postgraduate students in addition to the research work at an internationally competitive level. Thereby, young scientists have to develop their own personalities as knowledgeable, self-reliant and responsible researchers, which is basis for a successful career inside or outside academia. In this respect we will initiate an exchange program for graduate student and young researchers involved in PolarTime to perform joint experiments in the laboratories of our foreign partners in Italy and Australia/Tasmania and vice versa. With this initiative the young researchers will be encouraged to extend their scientific knowledge by learning new scientific skills, gain special competences and to broaden their personality by being abroad and performing self-reliant joint experiments. In addition we will support students’ attendance at international congresses in order to enhance their self confidence in presenting their results in terms of posters or talks.

Further, we will initiate a one week Summer School on Chronobiology: From invertebrates to humans at the University of Oldenburg, which will be jointly organized by all national and international research groups involved in PolarTime. Twenty students will be encouraged to get a functional understanding of chronobiological mechanisms, how these mechanisms synchronize the life cycle of organisms with their environment and how environmental changes caused by global warming might alter this synchronization. We will show examples from terrestrial and marine invertebrates as well as in humans. This summer school is targeted for advanced masters’ level students of biology.

The young researchers within PolarTime will be embedded in a mentoring program. To ensure a uniform quality of PhD and postdoc education in PolarTime, a committees will be formed which will consists of the PhD student or postdoc, the primary supervisor and one member of each research group involved in PolarTime. For each meeting, the PhD candidate/Postdoc will have to compile a written summary outlining the project, progress on the work and objectives for completing the project. This should include a timetable for all ongoing activities. Within this committee experiments, findings and manuscripts of the PhD candidate/Postdoc as well as their attendance at national or international congresses and training courses/seminars will be discussed critically at each meeting. The committee will also give advice on strategies to develop their scientific career.

In order to promote the education of young researchers we will work in close cooperation with the Helmholtz Graduate School for Polar and Marine Research (POLMAR) at the AWI, and the Graduate School “Science and Technology” at the University of Oldenburg (OLTECH). Both PhD programs support the development of the postgraduate employability. The purpose of the PhD process is on one hand to produce and defend a high-quality dissertation demonstrating technical and intellectual skills of a specialized research domain and on the other hand to develop transferable skills necessary to succeed in a future career. In order to extend scientific skills and generating transferable competences, the PhD program of both graduate schools offer specific seminars in Communicative competences and Interdisciplinary competences and soft skills which will be open for young researchers involved in PolarTime to participate. In the Seminar Communicative competences they will improve their expertise in knowledge transfer; students are trained in communication and presentation techniques. This includes training on teaching, oral presentations, interviews and/or body language. In the seminar of Interdisciplinary competences and soft skills the students will be teached in English scientific writing and to develop more general “transferable” skills which are crucial for succeeding in a future career, such as project, time and conflict management, proposal writing, career planning as well as training for job application.