About the PhDnet

Steering Group

The Steering Group is the main contact between PhD candidates and the Headquarters of Max Planck Society in Munich. They coordinate the communication within the PhDnet and outside of it. The members of the steering group are elected annually at the General Meeting and assume office each year on January 1st.

The Steering Group consists of a spokesperson (SP), three representatives for the different sections (BM/CPT/GSH), the financial officer and the general secretary.

The members of our current Steering Group are:

  • Leonard Borchert (Spokesperson)
  • Lisa Scheuermann (Biology & Medicine)
  • Jana Lasser (Chemistry, Physics, and Technology)
  • Teresa Hollerbach (Humanities)
  • Gabriel Guerrero (Financial Officer)
  • Rafael Laso Pérez (General Secretary)

Agenda 2017

1) Communication
We want to continue to improve the communication within the Max Planck Society (MPS) and the outside world. Our aim is to make all the doctoral researchers aware of the existence of an official representation organ like PhDnet. Therefore, we expect to have this year a renewed web page. We will support and encourage communication through “The Offspring” magazine and the organization of local hubs events to interconnect doctoral researchers of different disciplines. Within the Max Planck Society we want to help to implement the new intranet system as a tool to exchange ideas, questions and resources. Moreover, we are reinforcing the collaboration with other German PhD organizations, as Helmholtz Juniors and Leibniz PhD Network, to coordinately represent the interests of the doctoral researchers of each network at a broader scale. We are planning to organize joint events as well. Finally, we would like to offer our help as young scientists to promote science outreach in collaboration with the MPS.

2) Survey
In coordination with the Survey Group, the Steering Group is planning to carry out a national survey in all the Max Planck Institutes to understand the current situation of the doctoral researchers with regard to different topics including working conditions, supervision, equal opportunities, health problems and career perspectives. It will help us to address the most urgent problems, detect needs in different institutes and promote the necessary requests and measurements to improve the working environment of all of you.

3) Equal opportunities
Equal Opportunities (EO) has become a main topic of the PhDnet Agenda. The current Steering Group will maintain a big focus on it. With the counseling and experience of the PhDnet’s EO working group we want to promote seminars to increase awareness about different situations in order to achieve working environments free of discrimination. We also think that equal opportunities are closely tied to the working conditions. Therefore, we want to claim for a flexibility of the compensation (especially for families and doctoral researchers living in cities with a high cost of living) and to obtain 30 days of vacation for all contracts (not only for TVöD ones).

4) Career service
The last Steering Group started a collaboration with the Max Planck Alumni Association (MPAA) and the General Administration to implement a career service that is intended to help doctoral researchers in their search for a job, once they have finished their PhD. We are currently evaluating the local situations in the different institutes to know which services are already offered. As a part of this initiative, we want to develop a useful career service to avoid uncertainty after the completion of the PhD.

We are always open for input on any topic! For this, questions, and advice don't hesitate to contacts us via sg2017 (at) phdnet.de

We are looking forward to an interactive year.