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Working Groups and Activities of the Helmholtz Juniors

The spokespersons of Helmholtz Juniors (HeJu's) coordinate all activities in close collaboration with the working group spokespersons.

Steering Wheel

They represent the HeJu's and their aims in public. For a representation at best possible conditions the spokespersons are as well members of working groups. They participate in external meetings and workshops for gaining and developing new ideas and strategies which are feeded back to the group of HeJu's.

At the 2023 annual Helmholtz Junior meeting the following cast with members has been established for the Working Groups:


The survey group prepares, runs and analyses the bi-annual Helmholtz Juniors survey for doctoral researchers. The survey targets everyone, who is conducting a doctoral research project within the Helmholtz Association, irrespective of contract or funding situation. The survey aims to provide the Helmholtz Juniors and the doctoral researcher representatives at the individual centers with an overview of the general situation and specifically life and working conditions of doctoral researchers. We use this as the empirical basis for discussions with the management board and / or graduate school at the individual centers. It allows the Helmholtz Juniors to, in a target-oriented way, represent the interests of doctoral researchers and work towards improving their situation in cooperation with the management of the Helmholtz Association.

Currently the group organizes the conduction of a 6th survey among their doctoral researchers (DRs), this time together with the DR organizations of Max-Planck and Leibniz. The survey is scheduled for early summer 2019 and shall deliver the biggest data set ever probed. Furthermore, a time series analysis to visualize trends concerning the general conditions of conducting a PhD thesis at HGF since the first survey in 2008, is in the making too. The results for the harmonized survey as well as for the time series are expected for the end of 2019 and shall be summarized in one report.

The reports from the previous survey are available for download:

Members: Agnieszka Seretny | DKFZ - Heidelberg, Hannah Eichhorn | HMGU - München, Carolyn Guthoff | CISPA - Saarbrücken, Finn-Ole Carstens | HZDR - Dresden, Keno Hassler | CISPA - Saarbrücken, Kunal Vyas | FZJ - Jülich

Questions? Contact us here

Working Conditions

The working group "working conditions" evaluates, comments and helps to improve the formal and actual working conditions for doctoral researchers in all 18 Helmholtz centers. One permanent focus are Helmholtz "in-house" stipends which are awarded in at least 9 of 18 centers and which are regarded as the most unfavourable type of contract, at least for German citizens.

The working group is also firmly involved in the revision of the Helmholtz PhD best-practice guidelines. We are in close contact with PhD representatives from the Max-Planck and Fraunhofer societies, with the PhD network THESIS and with labor unions. Working conditions in at least two centers improved significantly since Helmholtz Juniors were acting upon it.

Members: Ulrike Fuchs | DZNE - Bonn, Thoma Gries | HZB - Berlin, Angelika Harter | HZB - Berlin, Vasu KolliHereon - Geesthacht , Sandra Perez Jimenez | HIRI Würzburg

Questions? Contact us here


The WG Events organizes events for doctoral researchers to meet their peers beyond their centers boundaries. We are involved in the organization of two events, the NextGen@Helmholtz conference and the N² joint event. Those events are organized by doctoral researchers for doctoral researchers. The NextGen@Helmholtz conference is initiated by the Helmholtz Juniors. With doctoral researchers of the host institute together we form the NextGen@Helmholtz organization team for the conference. The N² joint event is organized by N²- the network collaboration of Helmholtz Juniors, Leibniz PhD Network and Max Planck PhDnet. Please find an overview about past and upcoming events organized by the WG Events here.

Members: Simon Göllner | HMGU - München ,  Marie Denise Roggan | DZNE - Bonn, Namrata Sharma | HZB - Berlin

Questions? Contact us here


The Communication Group's task is to organize the information exchange between our different working groups and broadcast HeJu-news and achievements to doctoral researchers within the Helmholtz Association.

In our channels we focus on working conditions, career opportunities and events of interest for doctoral researchers, as well as outstanding research within the Association.

To this end we use a variety of platforms including social media, our website and our blog. Stay up to date and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Members: Tamara Ilioska | HZI - Braunschweig, Masooma Batool | UFZ - LeipzigHanin AlkhamisHereon - TeltowSelina Deckarm | HIPS Saarbrücken , Peter Macsek | DKFZ - Heidelberg , Christoph Kawan | FZJ - Jülich , Jakob Rauscher | GFZ - Potsdam, Ferdinand Zettl | DKFZ - Heidelberg

Questions? Contact us here

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