PhD Students' Wiki

Outdated: We moved to our own GSI website: PhD Representatives. The Wiki is no longer maintained.

Welcome everyone to the PhD-Wiki at GSI!

This page is maintained by the PhD representatives of the GSI, or "Promovierendenvertertung" (what a German word!). We want to keep the PhD students' life at GSI worthwhile and we want to improve working conditions. If you have questions or want to join, you can simply write an e-mail to, we are open to everyone. We also have a weekly Meeting that takes place on Friday at 12 p.m. on Zoom. Since this Wiki is accessible over the internet, we unfortunately cannot post the link here. If you would like to join, just e-mail us and we will send the link to you. If have problems with your dissertation and want to speak more privately, email us and we will make another appointment to help you.

Best regards

Christian Suerder (TU Darmstadt), Yannic Wolf (Uni Frankfurt), Jannik Petersen (Uni Mainz)

Disclaimer: We try to keep it as up-to-date as possible and all information is provided to the best of our knowledge and belief. However, we can not guarantee that it is always completely up-to-date and recommend you to cross-check the information on the official GSI website.

Good to Know: Despite the fact we call ourselves PhD representatives or PhD students, we are actually doctoral researchers. The difference between a PhD and a Doctorate lies in the various academic systems of different countries. As a scientist in Germany, you will receive after your successful doctorate the title Dr. rer. nat., as an engineer the title Dr. -Ing. This title differs from the legal perspective from the title PhD. However, we decided to call ourselves PhD representatives as the terms PhD student and doctoral researcher are most of the time used as synonyms. PhD student and respectively PhD representatives seemed to us more common.

Information for new PhD Students

If you are a new PhD Student at GSI there are a couple of things you should do regarding * PhD Students at GSI* in general.
  1. Know your contractual situation. This is very important because this decides who is officially responsible for you, which rights and duties you have and which you do not have.
  2. You should consider applying for the HGS-HIRe. The Helmholtz Graduate School for Hadron and Ion Research helps you to better structure your PhD, offers an educational program (for example workshops on various topics that might be relevant during your time as a PhD student), and grants you a 1000€ travel budget per year!
  3. You should subscribe to relevant mailing lists like phd-all and gsi-all . You can do so on the GSI listserv. It is your only chance to get official announcements from GSI (as in: "Tomorrow there will be no electricity in building X" or "The owner of the car DA-XY 123 has 30 minutes to remove it before it gets towed".) On top of that, you get PhD-related announcements regarding life and working conditions in the lab.


You are a guest at GSI and stay for a period of time at the Guest House? The registration procedure and regulations can be found here

You are a guest at GSI for a longer period of time or you stay for an experiment?

The registration procedure and regulations can be found here

You will also find information on bike rental, funding opportunities for your stay, canteen vouchers and many more

You have a problem with your Thesis and you think counseling could help? For example, you have a conflict with your supervisor, you have the feeling that you should re-organize yourself, you have doubts that you will finish your Thesis, you have the feeling that there is a lack of support or professional experience to support you, etc. The ombudsperson at GSI will help you! The counseling is confidential and no actions will be taken without the consent of you!

You have a problem in your daily life and seek help regarding the topics of family and partnership, children and upbringing, separation/divorce, nursing care advice, stress, substance abuse/addiction, psychosomatic disorders, mental health disorders, financial difficulties/ debt, work overload, workplace conflicts/mobbing, return-to-work management and managing change processes. The Social counselling Service can help you.

Note: If you are not employed by GSI, typically every institution offers their own counseling. If you are not sure just contact the PhD Representatives or one of the offices above. They will help you to find the right office.

List of important Topics for PhDs

The following list is currently under development. In the end, this will be the basis for a wiki in which every doctoral student should find all the important information about their work at GSI.

We need your help with this, do you have any questions about the list or did we miss something that is important for your work?

Please write to us so we can help you or share this information.

Thanks for your help.

  • Contracts

    • Contract types

      • University contracts vs. GSI contracts

      • Other contracts

      • Advantages and disadvantages, for example free train tickets

      • Safety at work and protection. What kind of protection gear do I get/need?

      • Enrolled as a student? Advantages and disadvantages. Possibilities of getting a refund, taxes, and regulations

      • Differences between a doctoral student and a PhD

    • Attitude of GSI concerning contracts. Political goals

    • Attitude of Germany, concerning scientific contracts. Political goals

  • General information:

    • Workers Council, “Betriebsrat (BR)”

    • Ombudsman, “Ombutsperson”

    • Operational Health Management

      • Services at GSI:

        • Counseling for a trip abroad

        • Free offers and examinations, for example vaccinations

    • Social Counseling

    • HGS-HIRe

    • Telegram chat

    • !PhD all list

    • Collection of nice-to-have email lists. Like all@GSI but also specific lists, which could be of interest

  • Life at GSI:

    • Sources of information and websites

      •, gsiwiki etc.

    • Food stamps

    • Water dispensers, microwaves, and open kitchens

    • Coffee machines and vending machines→ Reliability, accessibility

    • Library

    • Sports group “Schnelle Ionen”

    • Activity groups, for hiking, cycling etc.

    • How to read the map of the GSI

    • Paperwork:

      • Safety instructions, regulations for labs, workshops, etc. Duration of the registration process and necessary steps

      • “Hidden” offices and post boxes

    • Business trips:

      • Paperwork and forms

        • Business trip form

          • Advance payment for flights, trains, and accommodation

          • Booking and help from secretaries

        • HID (Home Institution Declaration), from your host University. How to get it, how long you need to wait and when it expires

        • A1 travel form. A new regulation from the EU

        • Visa application

        • Company doctor and mandatory examinations

        • Regulations in the target country

      • Funding of the trip and regulations

      • Typically covered costs and what to consider/check in advance

      • Radiation protection regulations and forms

  • Vicinity of GSI:

    • How to arrive at GSI

    • Super markets close by

    • Good restaurants close by

    • Fast food and delivery services. Special offers for GSI staff

  • Additional services at GSI:

    • Software licenses

    • Rent a bike

    • Rent party equipment

    • Where to barbecue and how to register

    • How to book a seminar room

    • Are there rooms to rest or relax?

    • Nice “hidden” places at GSI

  • Life of a PhD:

    • How does a “typical” PhD looks like? With which challenges do I have to deal with? What should I expect? What is acceptable?

    • What can I expect from my Supervisor? What is a good supervision and when should I be concerned?

  • Arriving in Germany and GSI

    • Registration procedure, registration in Germany, bank accounts etc.

Topics concerning PhD students at GSI

This section covers topics related to the daily work of PhD candidates and students at GSI.

$ PhD Mailing List mail.gif: The info channel for PhD candidates and master students working at GSI.
Administrative Challenges at GSI
Information and HowTo's concerning different administratives tasks at GSI, like getting a radiation badge or filling a travel form.
Scholarship or contract?
How to make the best of each.
Answers to your questions, e.g. about contracts, health insurance and others (will be expanded) If you are a Scholarship holder you should also look at the official HGS-HIRe FAQ
PhD and expecting/having a baby
Information about being or becoming a parent during your PhD.
Graduate schools at GSI
An overview of the graduate schools at GSI $ Information for new colleagues: Interesting things for newcomers at GSI can also be found in the internal area of the GSI homepage. These are partially interesting for PhD candidates and students, too. Have a look! (visible only inside the GSI network) $ FeedBack area bubble.gif: Have you just finished your work at GSI? Do you want to share useful information among your colleagues about daily work and life here?
In the FeedBack area you can do so!
After completing the PhD
What do you do after you complete your PhD? Have a look into this section for some ideas. $ GSI Calendar: You want to know what's going on at GSI in the next weeks? Look at the public calendar!

Helmholtz Juniors at GSI

There is no real established organization of the PhD students at GSI. Due to the fact that virtually all PhD Students at GSI are part of HGS-HIRe the official channel for complaints, problems with GSI or the grad school is Pradeep Ghosch, elected PhD representative at HGS HIRe.
On top of that there exists a mailing list of PhD students interested that things go well at GSI. We try to pick up on issues before they become too pressing and do something about it. Additionally we organize regular PhD student meeting.
You may always drop us a message if you have questions related to GSI PhD issues. Florian Senzel, !PhD representative of HGS-HIRe is also among the recipients.
The current (April 2013) members of this mailing list are:
Name Department University PhD candidate since Mail Address
Christian Sürder R3B Tu Darmstadt 2018
Be informed, that Helmholtz-Juniors are NOT elected by the PhD students, we just work voluntarily together to make sure things go well for PhD students at GSI.
Feel free to join us! If you want to reach ALLof the GSI PhD students, send a message to

Helmholtz Juniors at GSI
Find out about the past of Helmholtz Juniors at the GSI $ Helmholtz Juniors:: Find out about the group of student representatives in the Helmholtz Association
* Situation of PhD students*
Some collected information from the survey group of the Helmholtz Juniors
* Young Scientists*
Issues concerning young scientists inside the Helmholtz Association

About this Wiki

The topics here are accessible to all people. However, to become an editor you have to have an account at the GSI wiki and you have to be a member of the user group " PhdStudentsGroup". Contact somebody who is already a member of that group to make you a member of it, too.

Maybe you ask yourself: Why should I be an editor? Well, the answer is another question: Why not? If you have some news or comments on the topics published here, put them here, too! This is the main objective of the wiki culture. Formating tips can be found on this external page.

If you have a specific question concerning the work of PhD students at GSI or any topic which is not covered here, please contact the PhD representatives at GSI via or contact them directly. Questions as well as contributors are always welcome!

How to stay up to date

note.gif If you want to get informed about changes in this Wiki you have several options:
    • look at the bottom of this page ("Whats new");
    • see the list of recent changes;
    • subscribe to email notifications about recent changes;
    • rss-feed.gif import this link into your RSS feed reader software.

-- PradeepGhosh - 20 Oct 2015

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