Max Planck PhDnet - The doctoral network of the Max Planck Society

The PhDnet is the network of all PhD candidates and PhD representatives of the Max Planck Society. It was founded in 2003 to improve interdisciplinary cooperation, to optimize doctoral education and scientific exchange, and to strengthen academic solidarity. The PhDnet-Portal serves as a platform for the exchange among doctoral researchers and their representatives in the Max Planck Society. Independent of their individual field of research, all PhD candidates strive to achieve as much as possible during the years of their doctorate, to profit from the scientific profile of their respective MPI and to contribute to it, and to effectively plan their career. Good communication pathways connecting doctoral researchers amongst each other and with the MPG are essential for a successful exchange of these interests. Only in this way, a joint effort to secure and improve the quality of the doctoral degree can be made.

The web portal aims to provide these pathways by informing about the activities of the various workgroups of the PhDnet, publishing the latest news concerning negotiations and events, and supplying contact information to dedicated PhDnet members. Additionally, there is a MaxNet page and a Facebook page where you can actively contribute to the discussion! Because the working language of the PhDnet, which includes researchers of various nationalities, is English, this page is currently not available in German. If you have questions, please don't hesitate to ask your local PhDnet representative or approach our steering group! How can you help?


Mental Health Awareness Week

We are organizing an MPS-wide Mental Health Awareness Week (MHAW) from the 7th to 11th October, 2019. Each institute is encouraged to organize at least one local event during the week of the 10th of October, which is International Mental Health Awareness Day. This will be accompanied by a social media campaign before and during the week to encourage attendance and raise awareness. The MPS occupational health by a social media campaign before and during the week to encourage attendance and raise awareness. The MPS occupational health management (BGM) steering-group supports this initiative, with 30+ institutes already pledging to organize at least one event.


Visions in Science

This year's Visions in Science conference "Science & Society" will take place in Berlin from 5-7 October.


N2 Science Communication

The joint event of N² – the PhD networks Max Planck PhDnet, Helmholtz Juniors and
Leibniz PhD Network will take place in Berlin on 6-8 November 2017.



N2 - Network of Networks

In March 2017 the Spokespersons of Max Planck PhDnet, Helmholtz Juniors and Leibniz PhD Network released the official letter to create a platform of "Network of Networks" called N². This platform will be a focal point to promote every topic concerning doctoral researchers. We want to thank all previous Spokespersons of the different networks, who helped during the whole process and will also stay connected with us, taking the role of advisors at N².


Get Involved!

Are you a PhD student at the Max Planck Society and not a PhD representative, but you still want to get involved with making the Max Planck Society a little bit better? You could join one of our workgroups and get active there. You are an elected PhD representative at one of the Max Planck Institutes? First, be sure to attend our annual General Meeting to get to know your fellow representatives. Second, you need to know about the general tasks and guidelines for PhD representatives.


Max Planck Alumni Association

The Max Planck Alumni Association (MPAA) is a non-profit organization developing and sustaining a world-wide community of alumni and alumnae of the Max Planck Society. The association is envisioned as a highly international, modern and active community promoting and supporting innovative thinking, knowledge and experience exchange, and is the largest alumni organization for a non-university research institution.


The Offspring Blog


The importance of a healthy mind in research: A guide to the available resources to achieve mental wellness

August 22, 2018

In the past few years the number of individuals suffering from mental health issues has been rising throughout society. It has become clearer that young students, doctoral researchers and postdocs are affected by constant stress and struggle with ...

Career Portfolio - Karen Chandross:  Senior Director of R&D Strategic Initiatives & Scientific Relations at Sanofi

August 01, 2018

The transition from academia to industry remains a question nearly every doctoral researcher faces during their PhD.  Often, we ask ourselves “What comes next?”. The Offspring has dedicated a section to provide ideas on what to do next and to ...

What’s in a Name? The stories behind some of science’s most curious names

June 19, 2018

Scientific research is an undertaking that requires a healthy dose of dedication. From the late nights in the lab to an inspired twist to a particular experiment, it could be argued that there is a bit of us in every scientific advance we make.


Disability Awareness Day: Lessons from Stephen Hawking

December 04, 2017

Yesterday, December 3rd, was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This Awareness Day first initiated in 1992 by the United Nations with the aim “to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of ...

The Offspring Magazine: Issue 2017

November 13, 2017

The 2017 issue of the Offspring Magazine has arrived! This issue features a collection of articles and interviews from the Offspring and special contributors over the past year.

The Mental Health of PhD Candidates - a workshop at the Max Planck Alumni and Early Career Researchers meeting on improving mental health conditions

October 31, 2017

From August 31st to September 2nd 2017, the Max Planck Symposium for Alumni and Early Career Researchers (MPSAESCR) took place in Berlin. Its primary aim was to connect alumni and early career researchers from all over the world, and to provide an ...

The Offspring Magazine



Newsletter PhDnet Steering group (January – June 2019)

June 20, 2019

We would like to highlight what we as a steering group have been up to thus far. Earlier this year we received the confirmation of 30 days of vacation. The number of vacation days has been a major topic for the SG over the last years. We would like ...

Survey on the situation of Doctoral researchers in the Max Planck Society

May 16, 2019

There are not many comprehensive datasets allowing conclusions about the status of doctoral education and the shape of the science ecosystem itself. Today we have published the result of a survey, based on 2522 replies from doctoral researchers (DRs) ...

30 days of holidays for all PhD students

March 22, 2019

Today the Max Planck Society (MPS) has made a change to the Fördervertrag, equally granting all doctoral researchers (DRs) in the society 30 days of vacation retroactively starting from 01.01.2019. Furthermore, the transfer of remaining vacation days ...


Parenting and PhD

September 11, 2018

In March this year Julia Misersky (PhDnet Section Representative Humanities, on maternity leave for now) asked parents about their positive experiences as well as problems that they face as doctoral researchers with children within the MPS. We ...

Position Paper on Power Abuse and Conflict Resolution

August 15, 2018

As PhDnet we speak for the over 5000 doctoral researchers (DRs) currently associated with the Max Planck Society (MPS). Our primary goal is to advocate for the physical and mental health of DRs as well as the advancement of their careers. Furthermore ...

Jana Lasser interviewd in Deutschlandfunk

July 12, 2018

At the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, young scientists have been harassed for years by their carers. Jana Lasser from the doctoral student network of the Max Planck Society fathers the structures and demands improvements in the ...


2017 survery is here!

March 15, 2018

The PhDnet 2017 report is finally out, with 2218 participants, it makes the biggest survey ever held on doctoral researchers in Germany.

Bundestagswahl 2017 - Questions to the political parties

August 08, 2017

In light of the imminent German elections, Max Planck PhDnet together with a number of university and non-university doctoral researcher networks crafted a questionnaire on science and education politics, that was then sent out to political parties.

New Website

March 22, 2017

The PhDnet webgroup has restructured the homepage completely and integrated into the MPG-wide CMS system.

Social Media

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