Report of the 14th General Meeting in Göttingen
by Leonard Borchert
June 01, 2016
More than 100 PhD candidates and representatives from over 60 Max Planck Institutes gathered at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Göttingen to discuss their situation, network, and socialize with PhD candidates from other institutes. During the conference, new statutes for the PhDnet were confirmed, a new Steering Group was formed, Regional Hubs were consolidated, and collaboration with other PhD networks were strengthened. In the many social events, participants had an opportunity to connect with candidates from other institutes and get a glimpse of the beautiful Göttingen city centre.
After much discussion and many rounds of revision, almost 90% of the represented MPIs adopted an amendment to the PhDnet statutes. In essence, its aim was to legitimize PhD representatives within the Max Planck Society level and to empower PhD candidates locally. Therefore, the official election procedure included in the PhDnet statutes was modified to consolidate the representation of a majority of local PhD candidates by their representatives. To facilitate local networking of the MPI PhD candidates, Regional Hubs were incorporated in the new statutes and co-operations between MPIs based on geographical proximity were encouraged. Each Hub is managed by a Hub Coordinator. Further information can be found here.
Furthermore, a new Steering Group for the Max Planck PhDnet was elected and started its term of office from January 1, 2016: the sections are now represented by Yorick Peterse (Biology and Medicine), José Martinez (Chemistry, Physics, and Technology), and Christian Sternberg (Humanities). Roman Prinz now manages finances, while Cátia Crespo is the new General Secretary and Martin Grund serves as the newly elected Spokesperson of the Max Planck PhDnet.
The MPG PhDnet also aims to for collaborations and working together with similar organizations. Therefore, representatives from the Leibniz and Helmholtz associations were invited to share their experiences in forming coordinated PhD candidate associations and to share such information with PhDnet members.
In conclusion, these three days were a massive connectome in scientific, social, and cultural aspects for everyone. Sure, such increased communication within the PhDnet and amongst other scientific associations holds bigger opportunities for everybody involved.