Jumpstart for the doctorate

New support programme for doctoral candidates


The new Ingenium programme PEERStart supports doctoral candidates in shaping their doctoral phase through networking and collegial advice. Kick-off is in March. All doctoral candidates at TU Darmstadt can participate.

The PEERStart programme supports and advises doctoral candidates.

The first steps on the academic stage can be challenging. Many doctoral candidates feel alone with their doctorate. A pandemic does not make it any easier. Exchange with other doctoral candidates is difficult. There is hardly any opportunity for discussions, especially away from concrete research. Yet there is no shortage of topics: How do I structure my day so that there is enough time for my own research? I have to give my first seminar: How do I motivate students to participate? How do I best guide my student assistant so that their work really benefits me? How do I tell my supervisor that I would like more frequent exchanges? I want to become a professor: How do I best use the doctoral phase to prepare for this career path?

Interdisciplinary exchange and mutual support

The new PEERStart support programme is intended to give all these questions a space and a framework. Above all, two goals are to be achieved: Doctoral candidates should make new contacts outside their discipline and support each other through the challenges of the doctoral phase. To this end, they learn the method of peer group supervision. Peer group supervision is a structured counselling session in a small group in which one person is advised by the other group members according to a fixed procedure with distributed roles. The goal is to find solutions to a specific question, for example, “How do I tell my supervisor that I would like more frequent exchanges?” Using various counselling methods, ideas and possible solutions are developed together. The group members accompany each other over a longer period of time – ideally through the entire doctorate. If necessary, the groups are accompanied by supervision.

PEERStart was developed in 2020 on the initiative of a doctoral candidate and started as a pilot project in March of last year. Demand was high: more than 100 doctoral candidates from almost all disciplines took part in the programme. Now PEERStart is to become a permanent part of the TU's support for young scientists. Because, according to Dr. Bettina Wagner, Managing Director of Ingenium, the graduate organisation for the promotion of early career researchers at the TU Darmstadt: “PEERStart offers what is essential in a doctorate: exchange, advice, support and relief. It is a simple but valuable support tool for the doctoral phase.”

Doctoral candidates from all disciplines at TU Darmstadt can register until March 15. Participation is possible in German and English.

Further information: www.tu-darmstadt.de/peerstart


About Ingenium:

Ingenium – Young Researchers at TU Darmstadt is the graduate institution for the promotion of young researchers at TU Darmstadt. In cooperation with its members – the departments, graduate schools and research training groups – Ingenium promotes young researchers with regard to plural career goals and supports its members in the implementation of goals for the promotion of young researchers.