Working Groups and activities of 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.

At their annual meeting 2015 the following working groups have been built:

WG Survey

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:

The group members are: Carsten Peukert (HZI, Sprecher), Lara Jacobi (GEOMAR, Vice-sprecherin), Mirjana Gusic (Helmholtz Muenchen), Oguzhan Kaya (DKFZ), Theresa Kuhl (HMGU), Khausik Narasimhan (HZG), Nina Novakovic (HZB), Elaheh Ordoni (KIT), Lukas Rudischhauser (IPP), Alexandra Runge (AWI) and Karina Winkler (KIT)

WG 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.

WG Members are:  Khwab Sanghvi (DKFZ, Speaker), Thea Hamm (GEOMAR), Lukas Kreis (GSI), Gerd Liebig (DLR), Michaela Löffler (UFZ), Stephanie Taylor (DZNE) and Xiaomo Xu (HZDR)

WG Events

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.

WG Members are: 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)

WG Communication

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!

Spokespersons: José Cruces-Zabala (GFZ, Speaker), Marlene Härtel (HZB, Vice-speaker), Anna-Lena Amend (HMGU), Donovan Dennis (GFZ), Maike Nagel (DZNE) and Tim Lienig (FJZ)

Print Version


Save the date N2 Conference

The N2 conference will take place in Berlin from the 13th - 15th November 2019 click here for more information!

Helmholtz Survey 2019

Starting on the September the 30 and lasting 6 weeks, the 2019 survey will take place. This year is particularly special because, it will be done in collaboration with he Doctoral Researchers of the IPP Mainz, Max Planck PhDnet and the Leibniz PhD Network on N2 level. Click here to download our press release and follow our social media accounts to stay informed.

N² Network Statement Paper on Power Abuse

Power Abuse is a serious issue that Doctoral Researchers may be confronted with during their PhD. We want to raise awareness, as well as, to find ways to prevent it and/or fight it. Please follow this link to read the paper position on Power Abuse and Conflict Resolution.



Click on the following link to download our flyer

HeJus Flyer


Guidelines for the Completion of Doctoral Projects within the Helmholtz Association can be download on the following link

Helmholtz PhD Guidelines 2019