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. 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.

The following Working Groups have been established at the 2015 annual Helmholtz Junior meeting:



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: Carsten Peukert (HZI, Speaker), Dina El Harouni (DKFZ), Frederike Gutmann (MDC), Reza Safari (FZJ), Miriam Wandres (MDC), Anna Kilanowski (HGMU)

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: Karim Aljakouch (DKFZ), Diego Ortiz (HZI), Michaela Löffler (UFZ), Johannes Nelles (UFZ), Martin Schrader (HZDR),  Fabian Wolf (GEOMAR), Pedro Ivo Silva Batista (DESY), Nico Stoll (AWI)

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: Lennart Bock (IPP, Speaker), Kevin Becker (HZI), Dapnie Galves (AWI), Jan-Paul Hucka (GSI), Anne-Sophie Käsbauer (FZJ), Maria Nienaber (HZG), Rutu Parekh (DLR) and Pablo Perez-Martin (HZDR)

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: José Cruces-Zabala (GFZ), Marlene Härtel (HZB), Anna-Lena Amend (HMGU), Aniket Raje (HZG), Lena Amend (HZI), Xin You (UFZ) Arne Bublitz (HZI), Tanja Kraus (DZNE), Philip Meister (AWI), Jakob Rauscher (GFZ), Khadija Hassan (HZI)

Questions? Contact us here

Print Version


The N²-Survey is running smoothly and many doctoral researchers are taking part every day. This graph shows you, how far each center has come in regard to the offical numbers of doctoral researchers at each center. The more people fill out the survey, the better is the representation of the survey and the better we can take measures. For the center specific reports at least 50 DRs have to contribute for each respective center.


Steering committee

Contact us

       Martin Schrader

       Spokesperson Helmholtz Juniors

       HZDR - Dresden


       Ivona Kafedjiska

       Spokesperson Helmholtz Juniors

       HZB - Berlin


       Thore F. Sager

       Treasurer Helmholtz Juniors

       GEOMAR - Kiel

NStatement about



We are proud to present the "Helmholtz Junior Survey Report 2019". This year, the survey was conducted together with the Max-Plank and Leibniz Society - including as many as 18000 participants, in order to assess and improve work-related conditions among Doctoral Researchers within these Institutions. 


The Doctoral Researchers were asked to assess their situation and give their opinion on topics like supervision, working conditions and family. Additionally two current hot topics in academia,  power abuse & mental health were included into the survey.


Download here