This is the name of the PhD Student initiative throughout the Helmholtz Association with its 18 German science centers. The Helmholtz Juniors initiative was founded in April, 2005. If you are interested, read the foundation document. As GSI is also a member of the Helmholtz Association the PhD representatives at GSI are members of the Helmholtz Juniors (HHJ), too. In 2014 and 2015 GSI PhD candidates decided to send dedicated representatives to the Helmholtz Juniors meetings. GSI PhDs were represented by the following people in the respective years:
Anna Constantinescu, Pradeep Ghosh
Jiaoni Bai, Catharina Ullmann
$ Who we are and what we do:: We are a group of representatives of PhD students from all Helmholtz centers. Our aim is to represent all PhD students, diploma students and young Post-Docs to the Helmholtz Association, to other institutions and to the public. In addition we want to improve the situation of PhD students inside the Helmholtz Association. Last but not least we would like to enhance the network opportunities among the different centers to provide the basis for an exchange between the young scientists.
$ Organisation:: Every year there is a Helmholtz Juniors Meeting where two representatives of each of the 18 centers meet and discuss. This meeting is used to form and coordinate different working groups for different issues (detailed information see below). Also two spokespersons where elected who represent the HHJ in the public.
$ Who can join us at GSI:: Any current or future PhD student who is working most of his time at GSI and likes to become active for his group of colleagues. At the moment, there are plans to establish a group of student representatives at GSI.
Review about the annual HHJ Meeting, 16th to 18th January 2013, in Berlin
This year, the annual HeJu meeting took place from 16th to 18th January at the Helmholtz Zentrum Geesthacht (HZG, Institut für Biomaterialforschung) in Berlin. The PhD representatives of GSI, Anna Constantinescu (Biophysics) and Pradeep Ghosh (CBM), attended the meeting.
At first, Prof. Kaysser, director of HZG welcomed the representatives. Afterwards, the conversation was opened by the HeJu spokesperson Marlene Bamberg (DLR) und Martin Seilmeyer (HZDR).
Following, the leaders of the HeJu working groups presented the achievements of the past year. Topics were the investigation of working conditions of PhDs in the Helmholtz centers as well as the results of the PhD survey from 2012. Furthermore, the evaluation of the "Helmholtz Vernetzungstag 2012" was presented, which took place on the 13th and 14th September in Berlin. About 110 PhD candidates visited workshops about perspectives after their dissertation, applications in companies and a career fair with potential employers. It is planned to repeat the event in the autumn of this year. Further information will be provided.
During the HeJu meeting many experiences were exchanged between the PhD representatives from different Helmholtz Centers. The main focus has been on the differences between the scholarships and normal working contracts, under which the students are hired, family and career related issues and working conditions at the institutes.
Special guests of the HeJu Meeting have been Dr. Caroline Krüger (Promotion of young and early-stage researchers, International Networking, Helmholtz Association) and Dr. Stephanie Dittmer (Strategy/Initiative and Networking Fund, Helmholtz Association) enabling a great discussion with the HeJus and answering many questions.
As new spokespersons of the HeJus 2013, Douaa Muhagid (MDC) and Jaques Ehret (HZM) were elected. The next HeJu Meeting will take place at the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf in 2014.
Report of the annual HHJ Meeting, Karlsruhe 2012
The last annual meeting of the Helmholtz Juniors took place between the 26-28th of January 2012 at the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) in Karlsruhe. Representatives from 13 different Helmholtz centers attended the meeting, including Andreas Maier and Uwe Scholz from GSI.
At the beginning different working groups gave a short summary about their work in the last year.
The survey group started to analyze the survey made in 2010 and presented a first abstract. They also had first ideas for the next survey planned in 2012.
The communication group updated the official HHJ Homepage and set up a Facebook page. After detailed discussions about the missions and ways of improving the situation, novel working groups where build and new members of HHJ joined them.
Also new spokespersons were elected. The current spokespersons of the HHJ 2012 are Martin Seilmayer (HZDR) and Marlene Bamberg (DLR). You can find further information about the meeting in the Hermann Newsletter from March 2012 or read the protocol of the HHJ meeting 2012.
For those of you who now became curious - here are some topics on different issues:
$ Survey Group:: It is planned to conduct a new survey in 2012. Hence, the questionnaire of the past surveys has to be updated. Also, every other working group has to contribute to the questionnaire if their issues are covered. Also the analysis of the 2010 survey will be finished.
To improve communication within the HHJ, regular Skype conferences with the leaders of each group will be hold. Another task is the update of the Facebook page as well as the HelmholtzNET, which is an internal webspace of the HHJ.
Stipends and Contracts
The aim of this group is to collect data from the different Helmholtz centers about the contracts and the working conditions of PhD students there. The goal is to get an overview about the situation in the different centers and to keep in contact with the survey group.
It is planned to arrange a Network-Day in Berlin 2012. First meeting already took place. More information about the event in September 2012 can be found here on the official Helmholtz web page.
Information on the Situations of PhD Students
The European Union has the aim to enhance the number of scientists in all member countries. In the year 2007, in the U.S. around 4600 per million of all inhabitants are scientists or engineers - in the E.U. just 3000 per million have this educational level (source: Unesco Science Report 2010). Since PhD students are tomorrow's scientists - and not only because of this - the situation of those people is more than ever under investigation.
Survey of the Helmholtz Juniors
In addition to a lot of actions of well known organisations, also the Helmholtz Juniors are preparing their own survey on the situation of PhD students, specialized in people working at Helmholtz centers. With this survey we hope to get a basic overview of the following aspects:
What types of working contracts are offered among the Helmholtz centers?
What additional skills - beside the standard scientific education - people have achieved during their Ph.D.?
Job Describtion - what are the PhD students actually doing all the time?
How good is the support and supervision?
What are the issues of non-german PhD students?
Here you can find the results of the surveys of 2008, 2010 and 2012 as pdf-files. (The reports of 2008 and 2010 are available in German only).
If you have other interesting sources of information do not hesitate to publish them here, it's a wiki!
Young Scientists inside the Helmholtz Association
The Helmholtz Association is governed by democratic structures and bodies. For example the senat is used to discuss guidelines for the whole society. However, most of the details concerning such guidelines are implemented by bodies at the centers. That's why basically all people of each single center should take part in discussions concerning their institute, because no one else will do that for them.
To be able to join such discussions, of cause you need some background information, like those Helmholtz guidelines. Some of them regarding young scientists can be found here. Since the Helmholtz Association is a German institution, the papers are written in German, too. Maybe there is an English version as well - which I do not know up to know. So put it here in case you found it!
Try to read them! It is very interesting to see how far the discussion already proceeded.
Another interesting paper is the so called "European Charter for Researchers" from 2005. It exists in a German and an English version and is is a recommendation of good practice for researchers and employers and/or funders of researchers issued by the European Commission. Every researcher should at least have had a look at this:
European Charter for Researchers: EU Charter (first part: German, second part: English)
Here is space for some comments.
-- PradeepGhosh - 20 Oct 2015