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Doctoral Candidates   

Target Group

Membership in HGS MathComp is open to all doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University. As a cross-sectional structured PhD program we are aiming for members from all faculties who are working with mathematical and/or computational methods.

Typically, applications come from two groups of doctoral candidates:

  • applicants from mathematicians and computer science, who are working on methods for the computational sciences and
  • apllicants from biology, physics, chemistry, archaeology, art history, anglistics and other fields, who are using latest computational methods to advance their research investigations.

At the beginning of the PhD research phase doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University can apply to become members in HGS MathComp. While the membership is largely independent of the administrative procedure at the relevant faculty, formally the membership in the graduate school is restricted to the period of PhD research.

Application for membership by doctoral candidates involves the formation of a Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC), consisting of two supervisors (professors from two different work groups, usually from different research institutes) and two mentors (senior doctoral candidates or postdocs) and the written formulation of an abstract describing in short the planned research topic.

Note that membership is not linked to financial schemes in the graduate school. Doctoral candidates are financed trough research contracts based on project funding or research assistant positions through the work group of the main/first supervisor. Funding by the graduate school complements this basic scheme by providing financial support for conference visits, student research assistants (“Hiwi”), gender equality funds and much more.

To apply for membership, doctoral candidates of Heidelberg University can send a mail to along with the following information:

  • Short CV
  • Title and abstract (max 20 lines) of the PhD research topic
  • Name and affiliation of first supervisor
Rules and Regulations

Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC):  Doctoral candidates select two supervisors and two mentors to form their TAC. The supervisors are scientists who lead the PhD project, advising the candidate on scientific topics, research work, collaborations, publications and development. The mentors act as further advisors to the candidate - mostly in practical regards and day-to-day business. They are usually more experienced doctoral candidates, postdocs or other researchers.

Fellows' Assembly:  Once per year all fellows of the graduate school meet in the fellows' assembly. They inform each other of new developments in the graduate school, invite other school members for updates on the current school development (programs, internationalization, co-operations etc.) and elect the fellows' representatives. The fellows' assembly is held in spring of each year.

Annual Retreat (AR):  This event is organized by the fellows and for the fellows. The AR, a 2-day event held in fall, usually hosts:

  • impuls talks by scientists
  • presentations by companies
  • talks and a posters ession of the fellows
  • workshoups and compact courses.

It is a great opportunity to exchange with other fellows on the own research, make new contacts and improve the networking. It also hosts social activities.

Mobility Program:  Early scientific independence is an important factor for a successful career as a scientist. HGS MathComp promotes early scientific independence by supplying a generous mobility program for all fellows. Application to the program is fast, direct and with a minimum of administration. See the section on programs for more details.

Research Student Program:  Science projects usually encompass practical work such as lab experiments, software implementation or field excursions. Through the research student program  fellows of HGS MathComp can hire a bachelor or master student as a student assistant ("HiWi") for up to six months to help with practical issues of the PhD research. See the section on programs for more details.

Guest Scientists Program:  Scientific exchange includes hosting guests scientists for collaorative work. By tapping into the guest scientist program, fellows can invite other scientists (doctoral candidates, postdocs and researchers) for a research stay at Heidelberg University. The program covers costs for accommodation as well as a daily allowance. See the section on programs for more details.

Training and Scientific Networking

Annual Report:  As a measure of quality assurance each doctoral candidate gives two annual reports (after year 1 und year 2 of the PhD research face) in front of the TAC and further scientists and students. This measure, already widely used in most natural science workgroups, ensures that the TAC has complete information of the prgress of the PhD research and can discuss further measures to ensure the quality of the dissertation.

PhD Development:  Young scientists working on their doctoral project should profit from individual training alongside the lab work. To this end, HGS MathComp offers various compact courses in the areas of method & theory, software & tools as well as key competences. Members are encouraged to continuously attend individual training measures and choose these courses in close coordinaion with the TAC.

Scientific Networking:  Presenting project ideas and results to the international community of scientists is a key aspect of research feedback. The discussions with experts and peers helps to develop new ideas and understand latest developments in the field. HGS MathComp records and financially supports this networking.