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PhD A-Z

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A

When considering your research topic and potential advisor, it is recommended to read through the individual websites of the various structured graduate programs and research groups of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy.

Further information as to how to begin working towards your doctoral degree can be found on the following webpage from the Graduate Centre: “Starting and completing your doctoral degree.”

Female doctoral and postdoctoral researchers at the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy are ínvited to apply for the ARIADNETechNat mentorship program if they are interested in networking, career development, acquisition of soft-skills, and other necessary competencies that will help both during and after the qualification phase. More information can be found here.

B

The Bavarian Research Alliance (Bayerische Forschungsallianz or BayFOR) is an organization that centralizes a number of useful resources for young researchers who need help with funding international research, coordinating innovative research collaborations, and supporting young scientists who are interested in research, cooperating, and even going into business with international partners.

The International Office of the FAU works closely with the Bavarian Research Alliance in finding financial support for members of the FAU community interested in a research stay in Québec, Canada.

More information on the Bavarian Research Alliance and their affiliate organizations can be found at the following links:

BayAK, which stands for Arbeitskreis Nachwuchsförderung an bayerischen Universitäten or the Working Committee for the Support of Young Researchers at Bavarian Universities, aims to improve conditions associated with doctoral and postdoctoral studies, including internationalization, establishing and maintaining central graduate centers, quality assurance, and more.

They are also a good source for information on conferences, workshops, and other events that deal with supporting young scientists, university research, and science management.

You can find more information (in German) on their website.

C

While many doctoral candidates may wish to continue their work in academia as a postdoctoral researcher or even aim towards a professorship, that may not be the path for you. For information on the different career paths available to you after completion of your doctoral studies, see the following links:

All the information you need on writing and submitting your dissertation, preparing for the presentation of your research and subsequent defense, and any other concerns are explained in detail in the Faculty of Sciences’ Doctoral Regulations as well as in the FAU’s General Doctoral Regulations. Both documents are available in English.

If you have any questions concerning the Doctoral Regulations, please contact any of the following persons / offices of the FAU:

Attending conferences both in Germany and abroad can give doctoral candidates an opportunity to learn more about their fields of interest, get to know scientists doing similar work, and present their own research in a professional academic context.

The following sites provide information for upcoming conferences and congresses for chemists:

For information on how to finance your attendance at conferences and congresses, please see the funding options described by the FAU’s Graduate Centre.

Cooperative doctoral degrees make it possible for members of technical universities or universities of applied sciences to complete a doctoral degree in cooperation with the FAU.

For more information, please visit the homepages of the Graduate Center and the Office of Doctoral Affairs, and/or read through this guide to cooperative doctoral degrees (in German).

FAU’s Current Research Information System or CRIS is a centralized database that provides details on all projects, inventions, and publications completed by researchers in the FAU community. While CRIS is a valuable resource, it cannot account for all of FAU’s research activities or output. Please see the CRIS homepage for more information.

D

Accusations of academic dishonesty, such as plagiarism or the fabrication of experimental results, are investigated by the FAU’s Commission for the Investigation of Scientific Misconduct. 

For more information, including detailed definitions of what might constitute scientific misconduct, please see the Regulations for Safeguarding Good Scientific Practice and Dealing with Scientific Misconduct at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg.

 

It can be difficult to know what to do when you are met with conflict during your doctoral studies, whether with your doctoral advisor, your colleagues, or the students whose experiments you oversee. The following resources are available to you and may help you deal with conflicts more peacefully and effectively:

Your dissertation or doctoral thesis is the culmination of your hard work in research, and it can be difficult to know where to begin. The following resources may be helpful in the planning, composition, and publication of your dissertation:

In addition, you might consider taking a few relevant skills acquisition and enhancement courses offered by various offices of the FAU.

The Doctoral Candidates’ Representatives (also called the Doktorandenkonvent or the Promovierendenkonvent in German) represents the interests of all doctoral candidates. Two representatives from each faculty are elected each year, and every doctoral student who is registered in docDaten has the right to vote. For more information and to see the latest news from your representatives, please visit their blog.

FAU’s General Doctoral Regulations can be found in English here.

Doctoral Regulations for the Faculty of Sciences can be found in English here.

When planning the start of your doctoral studies, it is important to carefully consider who you would like to ask to be your doctoral supervisor. To make sure your areas of interest are compatible with the respective supervisor’s areas of expertise, take time to read through the main research areas of the professors at the Department for Chemistry and Pharmacy.

The websites of the individual research groups may also be a good resource in finding out what kind of doctoral projects are already being done and where your research topic might fit best.

See Dissertation.

At the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy, doctoral studies typically take between three or four years, plus or minus one year, but this can vary depending on many factors including the success of your research project, any outstanding contracts with your supervisor, or time-management concerns, to a name a few.

Structured doctoral programs might offer more concrete estimates of the duration of doctoral study; individual and other types of doctoral degrees are more variable. Your best resource in determining your estimated graduation is your doctoral supervisor. You might also visit the Graduate Centre for support in planning your timeline, or take one of their time-management courses for doctoral candidates.

E

You are not required to enroll as a student if you are completing your doctoral studies at the FAU, but you may decide to do so if your residence permit or scholarship depends on your status as a student, or if you want to take advantage of certain benefits available to FAU students, such as the semester ticket or special rates on your health insurance.

Doctoral students are allowed to enroll as a student of the FAU for six semesters. If you decide to do so, you are obligated to follow the same enrollment requirements as all other students, including paying student fees and complying with re-enrollment deadlines. In addition, you should follow the instructions for students of “open-admission study programmes” (zulassungsfreie Fächer).

More information can be found at the homepage of the Student Administration.

If you are interested in entrepreneurship and innovation, including learning about patents and copyright law and preparing to start your own business, please visit the webpage of the Service for the Transfer of Technology and Scientific Knowledge (German).

You may further be interested in the legal aspects of research and development projects, available here in English.

The Department for Chemistry and Pharmacy offers a number of events, lectures, and colloquia which may interest you, as well as the final presentations of doctoral candidates at the end of their studies. Please view the calendar for more information.

University-wide events can be found on the calendar of the FAU homepage (in German).

External doctoral candidates fund and plan their research largely independently, relying on the FAU solely for academic supervision and for the final award of the doctoral degree. More information can be found on the homepage of the Graduate Center or in this informational guide for topic allocation in external degrees (in German).

F

See Doctoral Regulations.

The FAU Familienservice (in German) can be a good resource for students and doctoral candidates with children or other care responsibilities. Please feel free to reach out to them if you have questions or concerns about babysitting and childcare services, parental leave, childcare facilities on campus, networking with other parents, and more.

 

Detailed and extensive information on financing your doctoral studies can be found on the homepage of the Graduate Center.

The site includes information on working a doctoral position, applying for third-party funding, scholarships, and more. The Graduate Center also offers classes on putting together effective applications for third-party funding. More information is available here.

 

 

The following selection of forms and downloads have been issued by the given offices of the FAU, and have been collected here for your convenience. In case a form you need is not listed here, please consult the website of the office in question.

 

Graduate Center:

 

Office for Gender and Diversity:

 

University Library:

 

Familienservice: Downloads

Rechenzentrum: Forms

The Forum for Young Chemists (JungChemikerForum or JCF) is the Germany-wide student network of the German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker or GDCh). They offer a wide variety of opportunities for young chemists to improve their academic skill set and expand their professional network, including visits to companies and research facilities, informational events, and workshops. Please visit their website (in German) for more information.

In addition to your doctoral studies, you might want to spend some time learning a new language, acquiring proficiency in some useful software, or improving your soft skills in preparation for your future career. Please visit the page for further trainings on the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy website, or check out the online presence of the various offices at the FAU that offer such courses, such as the Language Center, the Regional Computer Center, or the Graduate Center.

G

For questions about gender mainstreaming, equal opportunities, family services, and more, please visit the homepage of the Office of Gender and Diversity.

The German Chemical Society (Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker or GDCh) is an organization that unites chemists in an effort to promote education, scientific advancement, and sustainability. The German Chemical Society also offers information on job opportunities, conferences and events in the field of chemistry, and even presents a number of awards for outstanding, innovative research.

More information can be found on their website.

The German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft or DFG) is the primary research foundation in Germany, providing financial support for projects through a variety of funding structures, including graduate schools, collaborative research centers, and clusters of excellence. In addition, the German Research Foundation is a reliable source of information on standards of scientific practice, international research collaborations, upcoming conferences, and more. Their website is a good place to begin searching for funding during your doctoral and / or postdoctoral studies.

The Graduate Center is the central administrative resource for all doctoral students of the FAU, as well as postdoctoral researchers, habilitation candidates, and doctoral advisors. They provide a wide range of services, including soft-skills seminars and networking opportunities; for more information, visit their homepage.

H

The Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg (HI ERN) for Renewable Energy Production is a research network whose mission is to promote and expand research on renewable energy sources as well as advocating for energy reform in national and international politics.

The FAU’s southern campus houses its HI ERN branch, specifically as part of the Cluster of Excellence “Engineering of Advanced Materials.” For more information, please visit the homepage of the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg.

I

Individual doctoral study or Individualpromotion simply means that you are completing your doctoral degree independently rather than as part of a structured program. You would seek out your doctoral supervisor on your own, manage your own timeline, and work largely independently towards completing your research and writing your dissertation. Individual doctoral degrees typically take from three to five years to complete, but the actual timeline depends on your own planning and any contract you might have with your supervisor.

If this type of doctoral study interests you, please take a look at the Graduate Center’s information on getting started, and then at the research profiles of the professors in the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy.

 

 

For many doctoral candidates, the process of achieving a doctoral degree presents the first opportunities to publish their work. In addition to maintaining good scientific and research practice as well as avoiding academic misconduct, it is important for doctoral candidates to understand the role of intellectual property law in publishing scientific works. More information can be found at the following links:

 

 

For specific questions regarding the intellectual property concerns of your own research, your doctoral supervisor is your best resource.

Doctoral studies are often, if not always, difficult, but completing a doctoral degree in a foreign country can be even more stressful. The following resources are available to help deal with questions and problems that are unique to international university members:

 

 

The Regional Computer Center, also called the Rechenzentrum or RRZE, is the central resource for all aspects of information technology. You may visit their site to acquire hardware or software necessary for your research, set up a virtual private network (VPN) or WLAN connection, or to take classes in specific software or programming languages.

Please visit their homepage for more information. This site is only available in German at this time.

K

Key qualifications (Schlüsselqualifikationen) is a term which refers to interdisciplinary soft skills which are necessary in many, if not most, professions.

Key qualifications cover six basic areas:

  • communication
  • arithmetic
  • information technology
  • interpersonal competency
  • learning and performance skills
  • problem-solving skills

For key-qualification classes, please see the homepage of the Center for Applied Philosophy of Science and Key Qualifications (Zentralinstitut für Wissenschaftsreflexion und Schlüsselqualifikationen or ZiWiS) of the FAU. Similar courses are also offered by the Graduate Center.

L

During the course of their degree programs, many doctoral candidates choose to learn a new language or to improve the language skills they already have, for example, by taking higher-level English courses. The Language Center of the FAU offers a wide variety of language courses, and even makes materials available for those who prefer to study independently.

Please see their homepage for more information. This site is only available in German at this time.

Information on availability, locations, and opening times for both specialized libraries and the main university library are available on the homepage of the Universitätsbibliothek.

M

See Research focus areas.

In addition to learning how to maintain good scientific and research practice, it is important to learn how to manage research data effectively in order to keep a clear overview of your doctoral research and to facilitate the composition of your dissertation. The following resources may be helpful for you:

 

See ARIADNE Mentorship.

Information on submitting a monographic or cumulative doctoral thesis is available on the homepage of FAU’s Graduate Center, including some more detailed advice on monographic and cumulative theses in the Faculty of Sciences.

If you are unsure, your doctoral advisor is a good resource in helping to determine what kind of thesis is right for you and your field of study.

N

Networking is not just for business students – getting to know other doctoral candidates can lead to interesting research collaborations, not to mention help you to build up a network of social support during this often stressful phase in life.

For more information on upcoming networking events, please see the program schedule available on the homepage of the Graduate Center.

In addition, you might also want to join the Forum for Young Chemists (JungChemikerForum or JCF) for more networking and socializing opportunities. This site is only available in German at this time.

O

The Offices of Doctoral Affairs (Promotionsbüro) help manage the administrative aspects of the doctoral degree process for each faculty. You may need to contact the Office of Doctoral Affairs when it’s time to formally register as a doctoral candidate, when dealing with international equivalencies, or when administrative difficulties arise in the course of your doctoral studies.

You can contact the Office of Doctoral Affairs for the Faculty of Sciences here.

P

The process of your doctoral studies may vary depending on your topic, employment contract, or the type of degree program. Individual doctoral degrees might take longer and might require different steps when compared with a structured degree program, for example. Your doctoral supervisor is the best resource for figuring out this process, but you might also find the Graduate Center helpful for more information and support.

See Further Trainings.

Working towards a doctoral degree can be stressful, and it is common for doctoral candidates to experience depression, anxiety, and other psychological symptoms as a result. If you are struggling and need help, consider making an appointment with the Studentenwerk’s psychological and psychotherapeutic counseling service.

In case you need to talk to someone outside of normal operating hours (evenings, weekends, and holidays), consider contacting Erlangen’s 24-hour counselling hotline or the crisis service of Central Franconia.

All links given above are only available in German at this time.

Publishing your findings is an important part of establishing yourself in a professional, academic context. The following resources may be helpful to you as you consider when and where to publish your work:

Your doctoral supervisor is another valuable resource in publishing – don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Q

In general, it is necessary to have a Master’s degree or similar qualification (such as a Diplom or Staatsexamen) in the subject to qualify for a doctoral degree program. For more information, please see the FAQ page of the Graduate Center as well as Section 6 of the Faculty Doctoral Regulations (“Admission Requirements”).

R

See IT Support.

All doctoral candidates of the FAU are required to register via the online portal docDaten. Following registration, submit all required documents to the Office of Doctoral Affairs (Promotionsbüro); these documents are available for download from docDaten.

More information can be found on the homepage of the Graduate Center.

Informational publications are available which describe the main areas of interest for professors of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy. Reading through the research focus areas of the professors can be a good place to start when deciding who you would like to request to be your doctoral supervisor. These informational profiles are available for download here.

Research groups (Arbeitskreise), also called working groups, bring doctoral and postdoctoral researchers together with habilitation candidates and professors to research towards a common goal or within an established framework of a certain discipline, methodology, or area of study.

The working groups of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy can be found here.

The FAU recognizes innovative and outstanding research by awarding a number of prizes which provide financial support as well as public recognition of excellent young scientists. More information on the prizes and awards conferred by the FAU can be found on the university’s homepage.

You may decide, during the course of your doctoral studies, to complete some of your research abroad, either as an opportunity to improve your language skills or as part of an international collaboration or both.

For more information on researching abroad, please contact the Department of Research Services and Research Development and/or the Central Office for International Affairs (RIA).

The following offices of the FAU offer advice and counselling in their respective areas:

 

  • Career Service: personal consultations, checking application documents, practice interviews, etc.
  • Central Office for International Affairs (RIA): the central point of contact for international students, doctoral candidates, and researchers; this office offers information on exchange opportunities in education and research as well as help for international university members who need help integrated into life in Germany, and much more
  • Commission for Research Conflict Management: for help in dealing with conflicts in academic workplaces, whether with your supervisor, fellow doctoral candidates, or other colleagues
  • Disability Support: doctoral candidates with disabilities are encouraged to contact the Disability Representative (Schwerbehindertenbeauftragte) for employees for support (site in German); for more information in Engilsh, please visit the webpage for “students with disabilities or chronic illnesses”.
  • Family Service: here, doctoral candidates with children or other familial care obligations can find helpful resources, support, and information on balancing their family responsibilities with their academic and professional goals
  • Graduate Centre: the central resource for information and support for all doctoral candidates of the FAU; the Graduate Center also offers seminars, events, and networking opportunities
  • Office of Gender and Diversity: gender consulting, counselling in instances of sexual harassment, support for university members with children or other familial responsibilities
  • Board for Doctoral Affairs Representatives: for questions, concerns, and support in issues related to your doctoral studies, including personal conflicts with university members
  • Studentenwerk: legal advice, social and psychotherapeutic counselling, help in finding accommodations, etc.
  • Writing Centre: an offering of the Learning Lab open to all members of the FAU community who need support writing, both in English and in German for native and non-native speakers.

S

FAU and the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy are committed to ensuring all university members use the laboratory facilities in a safe and responsible manner to prevent accidents, personal injury, and damage to university property.

While most doctoral candidates likely already know the basics of laboratory safety, it might be helpful to read through the following resources, especially if you are, for example, working with hazardous materials for the first time.

More detailed information on specific safety concerns in the laboratory may be found on the individual webpages of the various chairs and working groups.

As part of the University Administration, the Department of Research Services and Research Development can be a valuable resource in applying for third-party funding, publishing, project proposals and management, and more. Please see their homepage for more information.

See Further Trainings.

See Further Trainings.

The FAU is active in a number of social networks, and welcomes members of the university community to take this opportunity to connect with others about current events, research collaborations, opportunities to socialize, and more.  FAU’s social media universe is summarized here.

In addition to the sites listed, ResearchGate provides an opportunity for young scientists to begin establishing a professional network, and WhatsApp is popular among doctoral and postdoctoral researchers for communication within research groups.

 

See Key qualifications.

Rather than doing an individual doctoral project, you may decide to take part in one of the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy’s many structured doctoral programs.

For more general information on structured doctoral programs, please visit the homepage of the Graduate Center.

During your doctoral studies, it is important that both you and your supervisor are aware of your rights, responsibilities, and expectations towards one another to ensure a harmonious professional relationship. The Graduate Center of the FAU strongly recommends constructing a supervision agreement at the start of your doctoral degree program in order to minimize avoidable conflicts before they begin to interfere with your research and education.

The Graduate Center provides more information on the necessity and benefits of supervision agreements, including a proposed template for supervision agreement and a checklist for the initial meeting between doctoral candidates and their supervisor, on their website.

The FAU and the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all university members, and this includes special funding and support opportunities for women, as women continue to be significantly underrepresented in the natural sciences. More information on support for female researchers can be found at the following links:

T

See Entrepreneurship & Innovation and Intellectual Property Law.

U

UniWind / GUAT stands for Der Universitätsverband zur Qualifizierung des wissenschaftlichen Nachwuchses in Deutschland e.V. / the German University Association of Advanced Graduate Training.

It is a collective of universities that aims to support young researchers and their academic and professional goals. They offer opportunities to network and communicate with other scientists and educators with the goals of improving the quality of academic education, improving the conditions for doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, and increasing career opportunities for scientists both within academia and in private industry.

More information can be found on their website.

W

See Research groups.